Sometimes I feel like I’m just going through the motions. I’ve had that recurring thought/feeling quite often recently. It will hit me when I’m doing routine tasks like brushing my teeth or vacuuming. Like a big internal sigh. It all seems meaningless sometimes. I just couldn’t quite put my finger on that feeling. How to describe it without sounding suicidal (which I am definitely not).
In a few hours I will have to brush my teeth again. In a day or two I will have to vacuum again. Why bother? I know teeth and floors need to stay clean, using those tasks as examples. For the same reason. Hygiene. But they both just get dirty again. Dogs expel hair, we eat more food.
I think back to when Mike was alive and I did those same tasks. It felt like it had more meaning then or something. It had a purpose. I was creating a happy space for my marriage – nice breath, and a clean house. I was happily motivated to care for both my teeth and my floors. Now, not so much. I still clean them, but the motivation is gone. The big internal sigh is always there. Always.
I am lucky to have so many wonderful widowed girlfriends. Well, maybe lucky is not the right word because I don’t wish that state on anyone. But I am grateful to have these ladies in my life because we can communicate certain feelings to each other, put things into words, that nonwidowed people might not necessarily be able to explain, or understand. A few of us have decided to continue an email circle which started to support one of us who spends part of the year off island in a remote place in the world where she is very much alone in a big house – the one she shared with her husband, and has had other rough developments on top of all of that. But we find we all appreciate hearing about how the others spend their days, and enjoy the banter. Several of these ladies have a wit that really gets me smiling, and our remote friend has a talent for photographs that is really quite stunning.
One of these ladies shared a text from another of her friends who was widowed recently who said, “Sometimes I just feel like I’m putting in time…for what I’m not sure.”
That really resonated. It put into words that feeling I’ve been having, of going through the motions, and it feeling purposeless. And I wasn’t alone in that thought.
I work hard to find purpose in my days, to try and avoid that feeling of meaninglessness. This week I had three days off in a row from work (yay!) but it was also a week when there was no new lesson from my school. Let me tell you, that feeling of purposelessness was strong. I realized that staying busy is more important than I thought. I created purpose by shopping and cooking and cleaning. At least that was what I tried to do. But even those tasks felt empty. Like why bother? I find I let things go more than I did when Mike was alive. I don’t cook nearly as much – there is nearly always a to-go container from the restaurant where I work in the fridge. Thank goodness the food there is so healthy and fresh. And I often let an extra day or two go by without vacuuming because I just don’t care.
I don’t let my teeth go though because my dentist put the fear of God in me last time I was there. Said my gums had receded too much. So I do floss every day. I even went out and bought an electric toothbrush and some of those weird little plastic dental toothpick thingies to scrub between my molars. I don’t want to lose my teeth. So I guess there is that. That must mean there is some kind of purpose. Not wanting to suffer dental decay. If I have to be here, even without Mike, I’d kind of like to keep my teeth.
Big internal sigh.