I’ve been giving a bit of thought to the notion of wasting time. While, on the one hand, I could have been spending the last several years wasting time, I’ve at least some accomplishments I can point to as things that I’ve been able to achieve.
Moving to California was not the first option I considered when I was facing divorce (and loss of immediate residence). However, taking it as something that could possibly lead to something better than what I had, and with the caveat that I could always return to the D.C. region in the future, I decided to make the move. Settling in took many months. I spent a lot of my early days walking along the asphalt-paved walkway in PB down to the Belmont Park and then back to Garnet, where I’d catch the 27 bus back to Kearny Mesa, where I transferred to the 20 to get home. My earliest impression of San Diego was as an huge city, with so many neighborhoods that took just so long to get to (via bus) that they must have been quite distant. Once I started driving, however, I was able to develop a more realistic mental image of San Diego. It wasn’t quite as sprawling as I’d originally believed, though it is a spread-out collection of neighborhoods.
I formed friendships through Meetup.com events during which I met people with whom I had at least something in common. It could have been playing board games, or having intellectually-engaging conversations about some chosen, usually timely, topic, or, as I became a more active member and then an organizer for SDNA&A, dinners at various restaurants in San Diego and picnics in Balboa Park.
I found a community that showed me the regard that I show others when I realize they are “on my team,” so to speak. SDNA&A is the acronym for the San Diego Neighborhood Atheists & Agnostics. This was not the original name of the Meetup group, but in his effort to make the group’s name more inclusive, Pedro changed the “N” from “New” to “Neighborhood” and added the second “A,” since all individuals who actually think about it would consider themselves agnostic, because there is a chance, even as unlikely as it is, that there exists a Supreme Being who created the universe. SDNA&A a wonderful space in which I don’t have to worry about being preached at by a bible-thumper whose mission is to save themselves by saving me. In fact, since moving to San Diego, I’ve found myself becoming less tolerant of religious gibberish (and most of it is exactly that, gibberish). Yes, that has limited my friendships, but as an introvert, I’m not particularly bothered by spending time with myself.
I’ve learned to appreciate the time I have by myself by valuing the time I spend with others. In particular, I’ve found that I can spend days on end in the company of one particular person, who, as it turns out, is probably almost as introverted as I am. Together, we are able to ride in comfortable silence when taking a driving trip. When we traveled to Monterey and Carmel, our companionable silence was broken only when there was something that occurred to one of us that we wanted to share. The ensuing conversation would run its course, then we’d return to watching the landscape pass. Of course, I had a much easier time of doing this, since I didn’t actually do any of the driving. I’m lucky that Peter doesn’t mind driving, even though it does eventually tire him out.
In the life I’ve led since moving to San Diego, I’ve acquired a suitable road bike which I enjoy riding, and have developed more than just a passing interest in SCUBA diving. I became a certified Open Water Diver in time to celebrate what might have been a depressing 40th birthday. Through diving, I’ve continued to make new acquaintances, friends, and, as it turns out, a loving relationship, which has blossomed into something satisfying, enjoyable, and, I hope, long-lasting. While neither of us harbors fantasies of lifelong partnership (we’re realists, after all, in addition to being skeptics), we have found nothing (yet) that might serve as a precipitating cause for breakup. I feel no tension with Peter, alone or in a group setting. On the contrary, I feel relaxed because of his presence. I hope I have a similar effect on him. I believe him when he tells me he loves me, confident in its mutuality. At this point in my life, I’ve found a true partner with whom to share my life as it unfolds. The difference in our ages is reflected in the ages of our children. His daughters are in their later twenties. Kat is in her mid-teens (though she is just beginning to behave like a teenager, as Peter pointed out recently). He lends me his experience in raising daughters (even as his wife attempted to keep him separated from them). He gives me much-appreciated advice when I find myself flummoxed by parental situations.
Soon, I will be starting on a journey, a return, to the world of architecture and construction. I’ve completed creating an Individual Plan for Employment with my Department of Rehabilitation counselor, and will soon receive, probably in the post, study materials for the LEED Green Associate exam. Next month, I will attend a course (two class meetings) which are designed to help me prepare for sitting for the exam. I am nervous, but excited, as well. Very excited. My counselor is planning on my success in achieving the credential, after which I will commence on a year-long study program that will reacquaint me with an architectural software program as well as learn to work within a different operating system. Through a series of biweekly courses, I will develop a “feel” for and familiarity with the software and be able to apply it. At the same time, I will be maintaining my Green Associate credential through attending classes that focus on sustainability as it pertains to the built environment.
Life is about to become much, much busier. I’m looking forward to the ride.