This past week a friend of mine inquired whether I might be free to have dinner with him. I was fairly sure that I was free but reflexively responded that I first needed to check my “busy” calendar. I was not trying to be flippant. In fact, despite my de facto retirement from the practice of law, day-to-day life for me remains hectic, although in a good way.
In no small part, this circumstance is due to my status as a childless widower. After all, it takes an honest man to admit that the women in his life invariably carry more than their fair share of the workload.
By this measurement, before Lee died, I had been a very lucky guy. Her selflessness was one of her most enduring qualities. Then without her, suddenly, I was busy all the time. Briefly, I considered this to be a positive development, one that provided periodic and brief respite from the awful, sad reality that Lee was gone. Of course, being a man, it also did not take me long to revert to my historic sloth. In short order, I came to view my new chore-laden lifestyle with considerable disdain, nothing more than a necessary evil, if you will.
Fortunately, I remain a very lucky guy. This is so because I get to share time these days with the dynamic Robyn, my indefatigable partner in crime. She truly does help to make my life easier.
Even so, a man must learn to stand on his own two feet. As part of my effort to do accomplish this goal, following my wife’s death, I would lean into familiar activities while simultaneously exploring new ones. For example, I continued to follow a program of regular and vigorous physical exercise. After a brief hiatus, I also had resumed playing and studying music. For about a year, I even dove back into my law practice before deciding finally that life is too short to pursue something your heart no longer desires.
Another piece of the plan was to maintain our existing friendships, which can be a challenging thing to accomplish when you suddenly find yourself on your own. Sometimes it would force me to take the initiative, especially in those instances where Lee had been the original linchpin. My efforts produced an uneven mix of results. At the same time, despite being an old dog, I endeavored to develop new friendships with a similar mixture of successes and failures.
Unexpectedly, in having to fend for myself, I discovered both the joys of olive oil and parchment paper. Also I trusted a hunch and got my first dog at a relatively advanced age. The happy result has been a wonderful friendship between me and Lola, the sweet and loyal wonder dog.
These days, I donate some of my free time to a food pantry. I also donate some of my free time to tutoring a young lady who seeks to improve her reading skills. I still crank out these weekly blog posts. These are among the many things that I do for myself; I am not naturally so altruistic.
Finally, and almost needless to say, my advancing age is among the chief driving forces contributing to a hectic schedule. Whether it is my body’s latest ache or a single life-altering event that is affecting a family member, a dear friend, a former colleague, or a public figure whom I shall likely never meet, these inevitable developments force me to acknowledge the truth, namely, that my time’s a wastin.’ Acting on this essential fact of life doesn’t afford one much time to wallow in grief, something for which I am very grateful, indeed.
Meanwhile, I plan to continue running just as fast as I can, hoping to stay one step ahead. With this thought set firmly in mind, I quickly peruse my calendar and confirm dinner with a friend.