It’s done. The house where I have lived most of my life has been sold, and I have now downsized to a room with a sofa bed and a table.
For most years of my adult life, 22-25, 27-35 and 38- 42, I have lived in a basement flat of that house- the flat actually consisting in a cellar (bedroom) at one end and a kitchen opening onto a porch at the other end, with a bathroom and a windowless room in between. There was a huge garden all around the house and no near neighbours, except for my mother in the upstairs part of the house-at least with a separate car space and entrance.
The great thing about the sale is that I get to have my inheritance from my dead father’s side, and that I can buy my own flat in the nearest city with that. Which is great, feels like I can get to the end of the long journey to freedom, except I couldn’t buy until the house was sold, and so I don’t have my place yet, and I’m staying in a room in, you guessed it , my mother’s new flat.
The reason for this inconvenient choice is that it’s August, peak summer in the north of Italy and I’d rather be here in a town near the lake than in the stinking hot and deserted city, and it would cost a fortune to rent a holiday flat or bnb here by the lake for over a month, most likely two.
So, with that cleared, what’s it like to actually be living the situation?
Not nice. And not funny. Could be doable short term, but I don’t know how to last a month and a half or maybe two. There was some drama and stress with my mother when we moved. She wasn’t going to leave my room empty of boxes and stuff as was agreed, I got very annoyed with her about it, she insisted that she couldn’t do otherwise and fortunately in the end my brother- who was here helping her with moving all her 500+ boxes of 45 years of stuff- mediated and cleared my room and saved the day.
Given the stress she caused and the fact that I have no tolerance left, and that we are sharing this space now, I have resorted to not communicating, except for the necessary little stuff , like ‘I’ll leave my soaps here on the basin and shampoo in the shower’.
Two things have happened simultaneously: I have got physically closer by having to share this space with her, but after the pigheaded stress now she’s as good as dead to me, and the only way I could actually continue staying here, was to decide that I will finally cut all contact with her fully when I can finally move out of here and into my own place.
That’s for later though, and in the meantime I have also got myself in the frame of mind that I can get through this in between-homeless period, by living each day and each moment fully.
I have a tendency to want to jump out when life squeezes me into a tight situation-like working in the same place 9 to 5 every day for example- and so now each day instead of waiting to be able to get my flat after this summer break, I want to take a flight right back to Sydney ( where I remember being happy – why do I take such things for granted?). I’ve managed to walk or swim myself out of doing something so unwise so far, and plan to make my way back there slowly if I can take an income with me.
So it’s clear I need to be present in every moment, not futurize , and do what is best for me now. I’ve noticed I have too much dead time, when I’m not doing but just being, lying around or looking around, and while that’s important to me, it’s clear for my well being I need to reduce it and do more and contemplate less. That’s one good thing that has come of this change of living arrangement. Be a little busier.
I don’t have work teaching English as it’s summer and I will be moving to the city anyway so starting all over with new students. So this is what I’ll be doing more of:
-Drawing at least three hours a day. I’m finally teaching myself to draw well (hopefully). It’s challenging to see where I’m starting at, beginner, and where I want to get to, but I’ve decided to see it like learning a new language (which it is). I wouldn’t really feel discouraged or doubtful if I was learning a language, like Greek, as I wanted to do and started getting a feel for. So with this attitude and approach in these last two months I have been drawing regularly, just practicing realism, and I will continue every day, but at least three hours as I have the golden opportunity and time to do so. It’s an interesting process, a delicate one, cos I’m constantly confronted with not being as able as I would like, so I need to be patient and encouraging and helpful with myself as I am with students when I teach. So I’m applying the skills I need to teach others, to guiding myself in this very important learning finally. It’s a very sensitive area for me, I feel very vulnerable about drawing, more than my crochet , where I have acquired a level of confidence that has come from learning and taking it to a good level. I need to draw a lot for at least six months before I can feel more comfortable, but the process is worth it.
-Reading fiction and non-fiction.
I have been reading regularly for about a year now ( as well as throughout my life, but i’d somehow got out of the habit) and now that I have time I want to put in more hours. I tend to have a break and just sit with my thoughts after one or two hours’ reading and that needs to be improved. I would say I take too many breaks from activities, an hour or two of reading shouldn’t require a break but 4 might. Need to extend my attention span capability. A lot has to do with habit , so it’s about training myself to be more productive. And it starts here and now, in these difficult times.
-Walking or running.
It’s a bit hot for running, and mainly I don’t want to do it first thing in the morning , but then I don’t want to do it in the evening after I’ve had an afternoon at the island and been swimming and am tired. So I’ve decided for this month I will go walking every morning so it’s done for the day, but it needs to be at least an hour, better two. Then some press-ups and squats and a bit of tai-chi.
These will be the main activities, as well as getting out, going swimming on the island and taking day trips in September probably. Also continuing with my daily twenty minutes meditation.
And I will add writing this blog too.
A social life would be of great help but at the moment it’s not really an option. I don’t have a fixed circle of friends nor friends that I can just call up and meet. There was at least a lucky coincidence when I decided to go into the city to a museum the other day and happened to run into a friend from the knit cafe with a friend of hers and their respective partners. She then invited me to have lunch with them and I did, and it was so helpful, to just have the opportunity to be with them and chill and talk and listen and feel human. The next day they were going to the island so I joined them there in the afternoon too. By that evening I felt that was enough for me, didn’t feel like having more time together, but it definitely made such a difference to me in this difficult moment when I had just moved and had no one to speak with or be with and was getting a bit worked up and lonely. I may also congratulate myself for being flexible and chilled and able to enjoy hanging out with them , in my own way I suppose, even though I didn’t really know them, apart from one, ( we don’t know each other that well, I only met her this spring and have seen her a few times). That was definitely positive and helped to feel a distance from my family, as my sister didn’t even contact me to see how I was doing after the move and I was getting worked up about it and feeling against her. After these few days I just feel I’ve let go of my family but don’t want any drama. Just facts. Moving on.
When I get that flat…….