To add to the litany of things I beat myself up over is phone addiction. I had to leave my phone at the Apple store for a couple of hours to have its screen mended (at vast expense) and I twitched my way around SoHo in my sturdy Bass Weejuns, feeling quite verklempt, as if someone has chopped off my arm. I couldn't tell the time (I am wearing a watch that needs a battery), I couldn't use a map to find places, I couldn't take pictures. I suggested to the woman at Apple that they build a yoga studio onsite and usher people into it for a couple of hours of kundalini meditation while their phones are being fixed and she looked at me, as often people do, as if I were mad. Clearly this is a theme I'm comfortable with,
I worry about the time about six years ago when my marriage had ended and I invited a lot of women over for drinks and supper (this gathering thing is a habit of which I'm fond). We were assembled in my kitchen and sitting room in Laurel Canyon, spilling out into the house. Everyone was fun and animated. It was a good group of women, an interesting group. More wine was needed and I went to open a bottle and called out gaily "where is a man when you need him" expecting a jolly laugh but receiving instead a "oh I don't think we really need a man to open a bottle of wine." I died. Even now I look back at that incident and wonder what I was thinking. Woke me was hardly woke at all. And yet, somewhere in my mind I'd carved out clear gender roles and men fell into the opening wine and putting out the trash category.
Even eight and a half years in, there has to be room to reflect on what was missed, but more importantly, how much courage it takes to move from one full life to another, to rebuild the whole framework of one's life. I almost never stop to think about this stuff, because it is who I am and in my nature to push on through things and to take risks and to believe in a good outcome. I am grateful for my optimism. I am grateful that I don't want to live a safe life.
Noah Baumbach's A Marriage Story deals with the dissolution of a marriage. It's tough stuff to watch and hits the emotional chords, and it works because of the terrific performances. But I couldn't help but think that this was a couple that just needed a really good couples counsellor, someone who could unravel their issues and help them communicate to each other in a way that the other person could hear. Mostly, in my experience, the key to a good relationship is actually being able to hear what the other person is saying. J & I couldn't. It had been too many years, and there had been too much calcified stuff that had built up up, layer upon layer of cement-like sediment, so that one would need a jackhammer, years, and endless resources to get through it. My darling man says the most important thing is to be kind to each other, and I agree with him. (He is the kindest man I have ever met.) But I would add to that optimism.
Optimism is waking up at the five in the morning and believing that the day will hold something good. Optimism is trusting that the democratic process hasn't crumbled and that justice will prevail in the impeachment of this dreadful President. Optimism is embarking on a walk without a map (or a phone) and believing that you will get home in time for supper. Optimism is embracing the journey, Optimism is being firmly and steadfastly in the moment.