The biggest problem with being alone is how much I’m learning he did for me. He did everything, managed the bills, took care of the car, drove us everywhere. Looking back I can see how much he did and how little I appreciated it at the time, and as much as I told him how thankful I was that he was there for me, I see now how it couldn’t nearly be enough. I constantly feel like a competitor on some reality show where they allow a 10 year-old to run a government. Much like my first semester of college as a fresh-faced girl of 18, there’s so much I have to do, so much that I don’t want to do, and there’s no one here to be the voice of reason. No one will straight-up-now-tell-me, “Crystal, eating nothing but chicken tenders was exactly why you had over 100 lbs to lose these last couple of years, you need to go food shopping, you need to put gas in the car, and you absolutely need to do laundry, because turning the underwear inside doesn’t give you an extra day of wear.” I’m taking a crash course in adulthood called “Being a Grown Up 101”.
However, I feel completely ridiculous being proud of these mundane accomplishments this week. I left the house on Sunday. It was only my second day alone since he’d been taken into custody, and I’d had a terrible sleep the night before. My emotions were still raw, and it hadn’t really sunk in that he’s not coming back. Every car passing the house for those two days had me thinking it had all been one big nightmare and he’d walk in the door. I considered just crawling out of bed a major victory that day, let alone showering, dressing, and putting on makeup.
One of my biggest problems is time management, and right under it is doing those little things that I need to remember to do. I have a bullet journal that I generally use to plan out my weeks an day to day things. There’s a weekly schedule, and a daily task list, but I haven’t been focusing on it lately and I need to get back into it. In fact, my entire routine has completely disintegrated. We had a set routine to help us unwind every night. Shower at 8 PM, then journal time, followed by whatever shows we wanted to watch, until we had our nightly bowls of cereal at 10 PM, and finally bed around 11 PM. Now, I need reminders set on my phone to remind me of all the things that he’d remember to do, like taking out the trash or filling my weekly pill box. There’s a half dozen alerts set in the online banking account to remind me what needs to get paid, and when. I’m nearly at the point where I need to set alarms telling me what time to go to bed, reminders to turn the light on for the cats before I leave for work and to take my sleeping pills early enough it still makes sense to take them. My internal clock has exploded into a jumbled pile of springs.
This week has made me feel simultaneously excited and inept. I was so damned proud of myself for doing my laundry the other night. We’ve had this house for more than four years now, and Tuesday night was the first time I’ve ever done the laundry on my own. I haven’t put gas in the car in probably two years, and I had to use the GPS to get to the “good” grocery store. I feel like I shouldn’t be excited about any of this or call it a success, because each little thing is something I should be able to do at 41 and I feel as though my inexperience is not something to be proud of.
I’m learning to be in charge of myself all over again, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I want to grow and be independent and confident, but it’s really, really scary to me. It’s comfortable in my bubble, and safe. Being the one in charge of things is so much more responsibility that I didn’t ask for, and I don’t like it.