Six Months at Home

by Tabitha Kidwell

It’s hard for me to believe that the past six-months at home have already come and gone. I kept saying that this was the first time in my life I had “nothing to do” – i.e., no job or school to keep me occupied. As it began, I imagined it being a time of relaxation, soul searching, and afternoons spent with a cup of tea and a good book. I thought it would be a good opportunity to stop always “doing things” and learn just to be.

Well, that was a nice idea. I very quickly filled up the time with work, friends, family, yoga, and errands. My soul remains unsearched and many books unread. I often felt very busy even though I had total control over all my commitments. Though it wasn’t the relaxing time I had imagined, I think it was still a really beneficial period. I’m really glad I took the time to actually go visit grad schools; if I had applied to the schools I thought I wanted to go to a year ago, I would have ended up in completely wrong programs. I’m also glad I had time to devote to important relationships in my life: it was wonderful to spend a week withmy sister before her wedding, and I will always cherish all the time I got to spend with my Nana Bets. I even got to try my hand at business with Christmisc. I think I’ll stick with education, though selling ugly Christmas sweaters would probably be more lucrative.

And even though I was busy, I did have a lot of time to think, especially once I started spending a lot of time in the car popping from thrift store to thrift store in search of holiday garb. In the past, I might have spent that time thinking about my next lesson plan, troublesome students, papers I needed to write, or even just making my grocery list. Without all that, I had lots of space to just think about life. I spent a lot of time indulging my nostalgia. I thought about the hot summer nights spent sitting outside at Graeter’s in high school. I remembered how beautiful it was to walk around Miami’s campus in the autumn. I felt sad going back to the places I used to go when I lived in the Short North. I thought about ex-boyfriends and why things had gone wrong. I even contacted a couple of them just to see what would happen. Conventional wisdom would tell you that the impulse to call up an ex-boyfriend is best ignored, but I’m not about to start following conventional wisdom now. It was actually a really valuable experience. When we met up, I could see why I had been interested in them to begin with – I enjoyed their company, and really liked them as people. But it was clear to me that I didn’t want to see them again, that our relationship was in the past and belonged there. And I realized that was a good metaphor for all the things from my past that I found myself thinking about – it was lovely when it happened, it is a beautiful memory now, but it is gone. More than anything, I feel like I’ve spent the last six months tying up the loose strings of my life. I feel healed, whole, and ready for whatever the future will bring. Which I guess, in the end, is what I had hoped to achieve… even if I didn’t realize that’s where I was headed.

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