Could You Describe the Ruckus, Sir?

Welcome to Vicky Bell's blog.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rejoining the Land of the Living (and spending a day undead)

I'm  beginning to rejoin the land of the living after a long, unproductive, unwelcome, unintentional withdrawal. The adjustments required by an empty nest, aging parents, and impending work and retirement choices are, for some, No Big Deal.  But for me, and presumably others,  it is a sea change requiring major reinvention and the questioning of Every Single Thing I've Ever Done.
Our sold van; the end of an era

This past year is the first that we've had with no kids at home, not even over the summer.  We sold the van. We cleaned out some closets. We were just beginning to appreciate some of the small differences- ordering one pizza, leaving our door open, an empty sink at the end of the day- when Grandma moved in.

Now we have an ugly wooden calendar hanging in our kitchen and a stuffed pink  Laz-e-boy in the living room.  The electrified chair comes with an "Eject" button from which G'ma springs forth when she's finished watching the Joy Behar show.  Also, the wall fell down.

The Wall that Stole my 51st Summer
It was a necessary retaining wall, and estimates to have it replaced were well out of our reach. So we had to build it ourselves. In June and July. During a heat wave. I call it The Wall that Stole my 51st Summer, and I figure the wall owes me a year.   Building that wall was the hardest sustained physical work I've ever done, but it turned out great, and I know I should be proud of it. But I am only resentful.

With an empty nest, a husband scheduled to retire soon, and no real ties to my local community, I had hoped to move. Somewhere far.  Somewhere interesting.  Somewhere G'ma would also like. Somewhere Cheap, most of all.  Start a new chapter. Figure out what I want to be, besides a parent. But I haven't a clue where we can go or even whether it will be possible.

And so I've spent the summer, and most of the fall, in a funk, a pit, a sleepy drowning-ish, gloomy gray space lacking joy, with no real desire to do anything at all.  I recognize depression, I've been friends with it before. I suppose as it goes mine is a mild case, but still.

Asbury Park NJ Zombie Walk 2011
It's so easy to know what to do (get out! get active! spend time with people!), and so hard to actually do it. But I'm making some progress.  I finally wrote this post, for one. I went with Jim to my first (awesome) Zombie Walk.  I'm taking an exercise class.  I'm looking into other paid work. And I'm in the market for a friend or two.  Who live nearby, because I am very, very lazy.  Also, if anyone knows the meaning of my life (beyond raising the best 3 kids on earth), please let me know.  I'm quite interested. And if you live in an Interesting and Cheap place, I'd like to hear about that, too.


  1. If by Interesting n Cheap Place you imply Low Moderate Income Housing in the middle of Suburbs..o.k...The people that make less then us actually appear to live better then us. Someone forget to tell them Class is about how nice you treat your neighbors..not how much you. spend. The lake n mountains n community spirit are a great benefit .Boring at times soo its nice to have the amusement of being treated based on estimated gross income. I think your words should be where more people could read them. They are very inspiring .

  2. Thank you, Betty. That was really nice. I don't know where else my words could be... I appreciate your thoughts very much.

  3. Hello Vicky, this article touched me deeply! I too have recently had the last of 5 children leave the nest. I did not think that I would have such a difficult time with it, but to my surprise I did! Then adding to it..through a bad reaction from some medicine from my Dr. I became very sick last year & I lost even more of me for a while. I had to close down all my stores & I vanished for months off the net while I recovered. In it.. I knew depression too. But, in the process of recovery, I have really had to fight to heal & to reinvent myself. I am still in that process of figuring it all out... "what to do with the second half of my life?" Many become house bound, I refuse to do that! I am going to be open to try new things, meet new people & I am just going to take it one day at a time! Great article! Thank you!
    S. Ruby

  4. Well now - as a 71 year old, regretably not a Grandma yet - although there's time yet I suppose - I send good wishes! If I may suggest - if you've had time for hobbies in the past, resurrect one (or two - or, even - three!) If they can be turned into paying pastimes (not necessarily to make enormous profits, but just to cover the inevitable outgoings), then go for it. Make sure you join Etsy and try to sell them (figuring out how to that is time-consuming, but challenging and fun) and blog about it too!

    Believe me, time will pass fast: get Granma involved too (she may have a trick or two up her sleeve that you've never asked her about!!).

    Will be following you - just to see how it all goes and meanwhile, maybe you'd like to visit my
    blog at where I post about how I make, mend and otherwise create soft cuddly toys (as well as other topics). It's a hobby I used to do before I married (42 years ago!) and it's giving me relaxing time when not caring for husband who is now getting increasingly disabled - so I know of what I speak!!

    Hope you'll Follow me too. I've made some good net friends doing the blogging.

    All the best. Isobel