Really, truly: A room of my own

I couldn’t title this post “A Room of One’s Own” because I’d already written a previous post with that same title. That post had been about getting an actual room of my own, but this post? It’s all about a place of my own – because the apartment hunt has ended and I will truly have a “room of one’s own” soon!

This week has been one dramatic ride, that’s for sure. The week began with my real estate agent calling me to let me know that the unit my ex- had lost out on just before the new year was now back on the market because the deal they’d signed with the competing bidder had fallen through, and the other agent had actually called Jay, my agent, to see if my ex was still interested.

Yes, he still was.

So the race to find a place for me was on, since Ward couldn’t sign the lease unless I was also getting a unit in the same building–we’d decided that, since living “together but separate” wasn’t working for us, the next best thing for coparenting would be to have units in the same building, so Dylan could go back and forth without going outside. Ward was getting a really good deal on his new place, so everyone knew it would be ideal if I could land a unit in the same building.

I’d already put in two offers just prior to the new year, and had them both defeated by competing offers (I tell you, the rental market in Toronto is HOT, that’s for sure). But Jay had another unit to show me. The next day I met with him, saw the unit, and put in my offer.

And then …

NOTHING.

We didn’t hear a peep out of the other agent. Since the unit was up for lease and also for sale, we figured either the owner or the agent was holding out for a sale and reluctant to lease, despite having listed it as being available to lease. And the time was ticking on Ward’s offer–his potential landlord really wanted to rent out the place, and if Ward didn’t get his deposit in soon, he might lose it.

The next day, I was scheduled to see another potential unit in the same complex. But Jay had a surprise up his sleeve. Another unit in the complex, a really gorgeous unit, had just come on the market. It was priced a tiny bit above my maximum, but even then, it was a real steal. He’d made arrangements for me to take a look at it. He was so quick to make the appointment, we were the first ones to view it.

(He’s an absolutely fabulous real estate agent, by the way. One of the rare ones who are as committed to closing rental deals for their clients as they are to closing sales (real estate agents make far more on sales than they do on rentals–something like ten to 20 times more) so I really lucked out when I found him.)

I honestly did not think I had a chance at this place. I walked through it without really comprehending all the details–I didn’t want to start really liking it, because I just knew I wouldn’t get it. I actually pointed out all the flaws to myself (there isn’t enough closet space; the master bedroom is a loft so there’s no privacy, etc etc) so I wouldn’t be disappointed when I didn’t get it. I just knew there would be competing offers by the zillion, and I wasn’t willing to get into a bidding war  Also, it wasn’t a good day for me. I’d had less than five hours of sleep and I was feeling like a zombie.

But we put the offer in anyway. Jay said it wouldn’t hurt to try, and if I didn’t get it, there was the backup unit, which I’d also viewed while in my zombie-like state.

And … I got it! 

So Ward and I both get the keys to our separate units the end of next week. Neither of us are ready to move, so we’ll probably each be moving closer to the end of the month. After I gave my deposit to Jay, he took me through my place again (it feels so weird to be saying my place!)  so I could take proper measurements. This time around, I was fully awake and alert and aware. And I had to keep pinching myself. Because the place was even better than I remembered!

You mean this place is mine?!

I still can’t believe it. But it must be true. I have a call in to the movers we used the last time (who are absolutely fabulous–if you live in Toronto and you need movers, they’re called Wild West and they’ve moved my stuff three times now, and hopefully if I can book them again, it will be four times–tell them Belle sent you. They are extraordinary people and do an amazing job), I have Internet service installation booked, and I have tenant insurance in place to start on the day I pick up my keys.

So … yes, it’s real!

A place of my own.

I can hardly wait!

Finding My Now

I had the most interesting mini-epiphany this morning. Life has been super hectic for me lately: the usual clamour of winter deadlines coupled with the energy-draining thrills of apartment hunting. It’s been so busy I haven’t even taken the time to do the kind of contemplative thinking about the new year which usually occupies me at this time of the year.

This morning, it really hit me: I have been spending so much time focusing on work and on dealing with the uncertainty of not knowing where I’ll be living next month or the month after that, I’ve totally lost track of my Now.

So much of my life lately has been about the future: Where will I be living? What will it be like? How will Dylan adjust? And I’ve been putting off everything I want to do, postponing it into the future. When I’m more settled, I’ve been telling myself. That’s when I’ll do all these things. When I’m more settled.

I’m talking about all the things that are important to me. Like writing. And going out for walks. And adding more art into my life. By focusing so much on the future, I’ve been willingly postponing all of these things.

No wonder I’ve been feeling so tired. So de-energized. So anxious and on edge. I’ve removed the fun from my life and placed it all within the near future, where it’s only vaguely accessible to me.

And you know what? I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to wait until I’m “more settled”. I have this Now, this moment—it is mine, all mine, and there is no reason why I cannot be here now, truly be here. And all the reasons in the world why I should be here now.

We put in two offers last night. My ex’s offer is more or less a sure thing, as the owners of the unit he’s put in an offer for are very motivated to sign a lease. The unit I’ve put in an offer for has a competing offer on the table already. I was filled with angst last night about this, but this morning, I’ve found peace. Because it would be wonderful if we got the units, but it’s not a disaster if we don’t. If it doesn’t work out, there are many, many condo developments in this city, and there are many, many apartWments going up for rent every single day.

I will find the right apartment for me. My ex will find the right apartment for him. And together they will both be the right apartments for our son.

So I’ve found my Now. For this moment only, and I know I will get all tangled up in the knots of uncertainty again, sooner or later, but that really doesn’t matter, not right now, when I’ve found my Now.

Update:  I’ve just started reading again from Practicing the Power of Now, which is basically composed of excerpts from Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, picking up from where I’d left it back in the fall. And this is from today’s reading:

When the compulsive striving away from the Now ceases, the joy of Being flows into everything you do. The moment your attention turns to the Now, you feel a presence, a stillness, a peace. You no longer depend on the future for fulfillment and satisfaction-you don’t look to it for salvation. Therefore, you are not attached to the results. Neither failure nor success has the power to change your inner state of Being. You have found the life underneath your life situation.

I am feeling quite awed at how accurately these words reflect what I just wrote about minutes ago in this post!

A New Year: No Resolutions (Yet) and More Packing (Hopefully)

Happy new year, everyone! I hope your holiday celebrations were wonderful and everything you wanted them to be. Mine were crammed full of deadlines, as seems to be the norm for me at this time of the year, and when I add that on top of everything else that’s been going on in my life, it’s been quite a busy two weeks or so.

I’ve been so busy, in fact, I haven’t had any time at all to think about the new year. Normally at this time of the year I have all these fabulous ideas about new habits I want to incorporate or fun-sounding challenges I want to undertake. That hasn’t happened yet because I’ve been so busy, so I’m kind of postponing my end of the year thinking to somewhere around the third week of January, which is when my work deadlines start slowing down to a more gentle, manageable pace.

On top of the deadlines, and all the Christmas things one has to fit in at this time of the year, I’ve also been apartment hunting! My ex- and I have decided things would work out far, far better if we found our own individual places, but within the same apartment building.

At first, the plan was to find two units on the same floor. And while we did actually find two such units—and lovely units they were, too, as well as being only two doors apart—unfortunately we put in our offers too late. In the time between us deciding we wanted to put in our offers and our actually putting in the offers (between which basically fell Christmas Day and Boxing Day) a set of earlier, competing offers had come in. So we lost out on the units. Very unfortunate.

After this, it dawned on us how difficult it would be if we continued to confine ourselves only to units that were on the same floor. Not only would we have to actually find such units, but then we’d have to have both our offers accepted, and the fact that one offer would be conditional on the other would make things even more challenging.

So after some thinking things over, and further discussions with our son Dylan—after all, he’s the one who will be going back and forth between the units—the joint consensus is that two units in the same building would work just as well. A quick elevator ride between floors takes mere minutes, and the plan is for Dylan to be comfortable going back and forth whenever he likes.

Anyway, all this means there will be more packing in my near future! The rental market is fast-paced here in Toronto, with lots of units coming up for lease but also lots of units being leased every day, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed we’ll find new places soon. I’m looking forward to truly having my own space, and in many ways I feel like life is on hold until I move.

With all of this going on, you probably won’t be surprised I haven’t done much reading lately. Mostly I’ve been listening to BBC dramatizations of Agatha Christie mysteries while I’m working. They’re great in the background, and since I’ve read each of the novels being dramatized a zillion times or so, it’s like “comfort noise”, and really helps me get through my deadlines more quickly (or at least, that’s what it feels like!).

And then, in the hour or so between work and sleep, I’ve been finding myself watching episodes of Poirot on Netflix. It’s been interesting to see the novels transformed onto the small screen (truly small, as I watch them on my iPad). And while there’s the familiar comfort of plots and characters I know well, I am actually even more in love with the series sets. Poirot is set in the 20s, and to my surprise I am really enjoying all the architectural and design details, as well as the clothes and accessories.

So that’s my new year’s update. How did your new years go? What resolutions or new habits are you looking to incorporate into this bright and shiny new year?

Sunday Snapshot: All the Books

Well, it’s that time of the year again. Everyone’s coming out with their “Best _____ Books of 2015″ and I spend most of the time saying to myself, “I want to read ALL THE BOOKS”, and then I look at all my TBR titles and try not to get too depressed that it’s not that likely to happen. Not that likely to happen? More like an impossibility.

Especially not when I’m madly adding even more titles to my various lists.

On the other hand, it’s fun. Not only that, it’s free fun. Free fun is always a great thing, if you ask me. I can pleasurably while away a couple of hours here and there browsing Best Of … lists, with my library‘s website open in a separate tab. Not that I put everything I find on hold, because we all know what happens when you go down that road:

They all come in at once. It never fails. You don’t hear from the library for ages, and then suddenly one day you get umpteen emails. Your holds have come in! Argh!

So what I do is send the books I want to read but not frantically so to a special Trello list I’ve got set up. There’s a handy little bookmarklet that lets me quickly add the link to the book on my library’s site to my list—so easy!

And now, here’s today’s Snapshot:

Feeling: Well rested – because I slept in today! For the first time in quite a while. My body is feeling very thankful. I definitely needed those extra hours.

Reading: Yesterday Dylan and I started reading Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I’d come across a blog post somewhere where the blogger had said it was a fabulous book to read with your kids—and she is so right! But it’s also a fabulous book to read on your own, and the only thing that’s stopped me from plowing ahead with it on my own (without Dylan knowing, of course) is my workload. If you love novels that are made up of memos, texts, messages, interviews etc., and you like science fiction, this is definitely a novel you should check out.

So much fun!

Illuminae

Listening: November was really busy for me work-wise, and December has shaped up to be the same, so I’ve been doing re-listens to help wind down in the evenings. I finished a re-listen of Reginald Hill’s The Price of Butcher’s Meat, one of my absolute favourite audiobooks. My copy is called A Cure for All Diseases, which is what the book was released as in Canada and the UK (and it makes more sense to me than The Price of Butcher’s Meat—one day I’ll have to look into why the publisher felt it needed a different title in the States).

I am now doing a re-listen of Relic, the first Agent Pendergast book by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child and my favourite of all the Pendergast books.

Writing: Nothing. {insert big sigh here} I’m hoping things will change in January. But I’m just so busy with work right now.

Working: November to January are traditionally the busiest indexing months of the year for me, and this year has proven to be no different. So yes, I am STILL NOT FULLY UNPACKED. I would take a picture of all the boxes I have left but it’s too depressing to even think about.

To add insult to injury, I somehow agreed to work on two chemistry textbooks this month. One is bad enough, but two?! I don’t know how it happened. (Well, okay, actually, I do—I hate to turn down work. It’s been my downfall many a time.)

I had, however, turned down a third chemistry book a few months ago, which would probably have been due this month as well. Thank goodness. The reason I turned that one down is because I actually remembered working on it about three years ago. I might have blogged about it: it was the project that gave me hives. I literally broke out in hives all over my lower jaw!

Creating: {Insert another big sigh here.} I’m hoping I’ll do better in the new year.

So that’s my snapshot for today. How have you all been doing? Do you have any “Best of 2015″ book lists you’d recommend?

Getting Reacquainted With My TBR

One thing about moving – it’s given me the chance to get reacquainted with my TBR stacks.

While I was unpacking my books, I found myself creating three piles from my rather massive TBR stash. The first pile contained the books I really really really wanted to read. I decided to dedicate two book shelves to these books.

The second pile was made up of the books I wanted to read, but didn’t feel like they belonged on the “really really really” bookshelf. These books I stacked in the “someday” pile on the walk-in closet shelf (which is really now just a shelf, as it’s no longer a walk-in closet but my “bedroom”, although I’m still sleeping on a twin mattress on the floor, as I’m waiting until I get all unpacked before I buy my new bed).

The third pile? My reluctant giveaways. These were all ones it would be nice to get around to, but I didn’t have enough commitment to put on my “someday” shelf AND my library has them available in ebook format. So they got put on the ebook wishlist there. Here’s what this pile looks like:

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It’s hiding out under my desk at the moment. To the far right, where you can’t see them in the picture, are two stacks of art technique books which I’m hoping to resell at one of the bookstores in the city that buys used books that are in good condition. I also belong to a local Facebook books buy/sell group, so I will post my old TBRs on there first. Whatever doesn’t sell, I’ll donate to the library.

So, having now gone through my TBR with much thought, I’ve been finding myself getting reacquainted with my TBR. There are lots of books on my “really really really” shelf that look like fun:

I’ve even grabbed a book from my “really really really” shelf and started reading it—The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. It’s good, but I had to put it down because the latest Gamache book, The Nature of the Beast, came in from the library so of course I have to get that read before it has to go back.

But it’s been fun getting to know all my TBR books again—there are some treasures in there I had long forgotten!

Thursday Snapshot: Unpacking, Little by Little

It’s been a week and a day since the big move, and I haven’t made much of a dent in terms of the unpacking. But I hit on a plan today that seems to be working. You see, right now I’m drowning in work deadlines, which is why I have no time for unpacking. But I also hurt my neck a while ago—not that my neck actually hurts, it’s my upper arm that’s sore but my physiotherapist tells me it’s definitely sore because of my neck. So the thing is, I have to take breaks while I’m working.

I am terrible about taking breaks. I tend to get all focused on a deadline and suddenly I look up and geez, will you look at that—eight hours have passed by! Yes, it can get that bad. But the thing with an arm that hurts is this: it simply won’t let you sit at the keyboard and plough through the day and night like that.

So I’ve been taking breaks. And during my breaks, I’ve been slowly, oh so slowly, getting my books onto my book shelves. And it’s working! I’m getting unpacked and my arm is feeling much much better.

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Time: 5:08 pm

Feeling: Tired, but in a good way.

Eating: You really don’t want to know. Let’s just say I’ve been surviving mainly on frozen foods from the grocery store, okay?

Drinking: Truckloads of coffee. But since I only let myself have one caffeinated coffee a day, it’s truckloads of decaf coffee, so I’m not anywhere near as wired as that first sentence suggests.

Reading: Yes, I’m reading! Even with the deadlines and the unpacking, I’ve been managing to find little, tiny pockets of time. Why? Because this is the book I picked up from the library earlier this week:

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I’m really enjoying it so far; this is the first one in the Cormoran Strike series I’ve read rather than listened to, and it’s definitely a good read.

Listening: Since I’m using those little, tiny pockets of time to read Career of Evil, I haven’t had any leftover time to listen to an audiobook. But it’s a good trade-off. I’m just happy to be reading again.

Writing: I tried. I really did. I wrote about 2,500 words on November 1. But then I didn’t write at all on November 2. And on November 3, I said to myself, you know what? I’m going to use this year’s Nanowrimo to help me get back into writing daily. So I’ll write a little bit each day and consider it a win.

I wrote 500 words that day. But nothing yesterday. And probably nothing today.

It’s not just about the time. I could probably carve out the additional hour or so I’d need to meet the daily Nanowrimo word count. But my tiredness has affected my creativity; my mind feels exhausted, and even when I sit down to write, nothing really comes to me.

I probably need to replenish the artistic well or something. When I have time.

But I’m cutting myself some slack here. After all, I just moved. I have unpacked oh, maybe 5% of my stuff. Not to mention the other stuff that’s communal and still waiting to be unpacked. And I am in the middle of my busy season when it comes to work. So I’m okay with this. Maybe next year …

Working: I also made the decision to quit Booktrope, where I’ve been a book manager for about six months now. It was a tough decision to make—I really enjoyed working with both of my authors—but it was a necessary decision. I just don’t have the time (did I mention unpacking, busy with work, trying to write?) and with both my authors having book launches coming up, it was much better to step down and let someone else take over who could commit the time and energy necessary for making those launches a big success.

Creating: Nope. Not a thing.

Looking forward to: Going to bed tonight. Seriously. I’m tired enough I could sleep right now, but I have to take Dylan to dance class. But when I get back? The bed and Career of Evil beckons! And a glass of wine, of course.

Sunday Snapshot: All Moved In (Almost)

It’s been a truly hectic week, but I’m happy to say, I’m almost all moved into the new place! We officially moved on Wednesday, but ran out of elevator time (this is something that can happen when you move from or to a condo). So it’s been a mad dash to get everything out of the old place by today; we’re able to keep using the locker at the old place for a little while longer, thank goodness, and basically all that’s left to be moved is in that locker.

I am nowhere near unpacked, but I LOVE my new room; it feels good to have “my space” like this, and even though we’ve already had an argument, I think there’s a good chance that this new post-separation arrangement will work out. Dylan loves the new place, too, which is nice—he’s definitely all settled in, even though most of his toys are still in boxes. Kids today don’t need too much—a power bar to plug in their laptop and their iPad and they’re quite content.

It’s been hard even thinking about blog posts lately, so I thought I’d start doing more Snapshot posts, but on various days, not just Tuesdays. So here goes!

Time: 1:24 pm (and I was extremely grateful for that extra half hour today; yesterday was a gruelling day)

Feeling: Tired but good

Eating: A ham sub on flat bread. The low-carb diet worked really well for me and I’m at my ideal weight now, so I’m slowly adding more carbs back into my diet.

Drinking: A decaf latte from Second Cup.

Reading:

blackhouse

I haven’t read anything at all this past week, other than browsing Facebook links during the brief snatches of downtime I took. But before that, I did finish up the first two books in Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy series; these are mysteries set in the Isle of Lewis, in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. I enjoyed both of them, although I did like the first one, The Blackhouse more than the second one, The Lewis Man. Unfortunately, my library still doesn’t have a copy of the final book in the trilogy, The Chessman.

Listening: I did manage to get some listening time in last week, finishing up two of Robert Parker’s Spenser books written by Ace Atkins, Kickback and Cheap Shot. It’s tough to step into the shoes of a grand master like Parker, but I think Atkins does a fairly good job, and it’s great to be able to keep getting my Spencer fix.

Writing: It’s November 1 today—and I don’t know if I’ll be able to do Nanowrimo! It’s been so busy I haven’t even had time to think about my writing, and the next two weeks are so busy, filled with both work deadlines and, of course, unpacking. If I do participate, I will keep working on Sweetness & Dank, so that will make me a Nanowrimo Rebel, since I won’t be starting a new story. I’ll keep you all updated.

Working: Too much. It’s my busy season, and I have so many deadlines coming up. And a surprising number of rush indexes. So November will be all about juggling everything. I’m so thankful for my coworking space, because when I go there to work, I have this laser focus and I’m incredibly productive.

Creating: Nothing! And I don’t foresee doing any arty things anytime this month. But I’ve been looking at recipes, though, and collecting simple ones that I can make easily. So maybe I’ll be able to write a Weekend Cooking post soon.

Looking forward to: Finally getting all unpacked, whenever that may be.

(Trying To) Conquer the Busy

I’m a bit of a planner nut—but I’m a planner nut who’s currently without a planner right now. And boy, do I ever need one!

I had one that was sort of working for me, a mashup of the Passion Planner (I used the free downloads) and some other bits and pieces of printables I found in various places online.

But then the summer happened. As many of you know, it’s been quite the summer for me. Big changes, endings, and new beginnings.

It’s been a lot to take in. And I’ve been doing it without the aid of a planner.

(Thank you, Google Calendar, for at least keeping me steady on my feet when it comes to deadlines!)

I’m moving at the end of the month, I’m trying to make full use of my coworking space, my son turns 12 this year so the homeschooling has to be turned up a notch, there’s work of course (plus I’ve expanded from indexing into editing), I’m starting to cook again, and then there are also all the things that have to be taken care of when a marriage breaks down, even if you are going to try and live under the same roof so you can co-parent.

It all adds up to a lot of busy. An awful lot of busy.

Despite all the busyness, I’ve come to this realization: I really have to sit down and set aside some time to put together a system that will work for all the things I have on the go right now. Because honestly, I have days where I feel like I’m drowning in “stuff I have to do/what have I forgotten to do/OMG how could I have forgotten THAT?”

It’s been all shapes of crazy, that’s for sure. So much so, last week when I was at the dollar store picking up index cards (hello, NaNoWriMo, here I come!) I also picked up a chunky little to-do list book.

Because it was braindump to-do list time. I tend to do these only when I get overly overwhelmed (which is a bit more intensity than just plain overwhelmed). And it was so nice getting all that stuff out of my head onto paper. I even felt lighter.

Now at least I’m not as worried about forgetting things. But I do need to transfer things over from the braindump to-do list onto regular planning/agenda pages.

Any suggestions out there? What are you using and loving? I need something that will accommodate my daily to-dos as well as keep me on track and motivated to work on all the projects I have. If it gives me space to track how I’m spending my time, even better. And a week at a glance for the Sundays would be awesome.

A Room of One’s Own

Most of you have probably heard of Virginia Woolf’s famous quote about women writers:

a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction

And for the longest time, I thought well, maybe, and maybe not. Because there I was, I had both, and no, it wasn’t working out for me quite the way I wanted.

But did I really have both these things?

I have come to the realization that I didn’t.

I thought I had money, because I worked and I made money, but the reality was, I never had money of my own. It all went into a shared pool and paid the bills and yes, if I ever wanted something, I could go out and buy it using the money in this shared pool—but I always felt I had to justify it somehow, not to anyone else, just to myself. So even though I made this money, it has never felt like “mine”.

I’m sure this happens with a lot of people, and when you’re in the marriage the shared pool reflects your shared life. But when you’re out of the marriage, and there’s no shared pool any more, it begins feeling different, this awareness that your finances are no longer “ours” but “yours”.

And I thought I had a room of my own, because I’ve been self-employed since forever, it seems, and of course in order to do this self-employment, freelance thing successfully, you have to have a place to work. So everywhere I’ve lived, I’ve always had an “office”. A desk. My own desk, where I sit for many, many hours of the day, working.

But lately, because of the change in my relationship status, I’ve been looking at places where I can go to work outside of my home. Since my ex- and I are going to be living separate and apart, but under the same roof, I’ve been feeling I need more than just my own mini-apartment—I  need to take myself out there to do my work. Step away from the familiar, because things are changing. Because otherwise this big important change I’m living through will feel too much like a change in name only, when the actual “this is what’s happening today” won’t really change.

I want—no, I need—to have that feeling of my own space as much as possible while still accommodating this plan of ours to continue to coparent our son under the same roof.

So on Friday, I had a trial day at a coworking place, and I was absolutely stunned. I’d decided to test the place out by working on an upcoming deadline and seeing how it felt to be working someplace other than at my own desk at home. I figured I’d be finished at around 8 in the evening. But I ended up finishing at 5, three hours earlier than I’d expected.

Working away from my regular desk space, I was far more productive and focused.

And something else unexpected: even though it was only a trial space, the whole time I was sitting there, I felt like it was mine. My own little bit of space, where I could—and did—sit for hours, undisturbed.

Which is when I realized, I’ve never really had “a room of one’s own.” Because everywhere I’ve worked, since I was at home, I was always still a part of the whole scene, if you know what I mean. I was always there, ready and available and accessible for whatever interruptions came my way.

And trust me, there are always at least a few interruptions, especially since there’s always someone at home.

“My space” was, in reality, as much everyone’s space as it was mine. (Most mothers who work from home will know what I mean.)

So back to Woolf’s quote. I don’t know if this will help me write more fiction (or, more importantly, finish all the novels I’ve started), but I do feel like I now have the chance to find out. Because I will have money and a room of my own.

Now, I know when Woolf said “a woman must have money” she meant financial independence. And no, I will not be financially independent, not in that standard way. But still, I will have money to call my own. I can say, I’m going to go buy “X” with the money I earned doing “Y”, which is something I’ve never felt able to say before.

I don’t know why, but it makes a difference.

And I’ve decided to take the coworking space. I will work there, yes. But I will also write there. It really will be space of my own.

And because I’ll only be using it three days of the week plus every other Sunday (the other three days and the other Sundays are my days with Dylan) and because I will be paying cold hard cash for the space, my rather thrifty soul is already thinking along the lines of, “I must utilize every moment of it that I can”.

Which surely must bode well for my writing.

So I’ll work there. And I’ll write there every day I’m there. And when I have those occasional days without deadlines? I’ll write even more.

A room of one’s own. I like that idea.

Endings, and A New Beginning

It’s been an event-filled summer here, one filled with big changes and big feelings, and things have finally settled enough emotionally for me to feel at ease with writing about it.

A couple of months ago, my husband and I decided to split up. It’s a decision that’s been a long time coming, and perhaps because of the length of time it took for us to come to this resolution, there was a feeling of inevitability to it for both of us. And, perhaps because we have each grieved in our own ways through the past four or five years as we continually tried to repair our failing relationship, we find ourselves able to proceed amicably.

We’re also moving into our separate new beginnings in a different way than most divorcing couples. We have always homeschooled our 12-year-old son, Dylan, together, and neither of us want our divorce to affect this. We want to co-parent, and we also want to ease this traumatic time in his life as best as we can.

While we aren’t any good at being a couple, at being life partners, our relationship status doesn’t change the fact that we’ll both continue to be Dylan’s parents. So we’re choosing to explore an alternative post-separation living arrangement, one that’s very uncertain, one we know will be filled with all manner of challenges. Still, it feels like an alternative we need to try, one we want to try.

So, in addition to ending our marriage, we’ve decided to try living separately and apart, but under the same roof. Thanks to the generosity of a dear friend of mine, next month we will be moving into a much larger place, a space that has room enough for each of us to have our own “mini-apartments” at opposite ends.

Our new separate mini-apartments are small, but there is room enough for us to have our own bedrooms, our own living areas, our own bathrooms. We will share a kitchen. Dylan will be able to go back and forth between our separate places as he pleases, and while we will each have individual responsibility for him on alternating days, we will both be able to homeschool him on a daily basis. And we will try doing a family activity, the three of us, on Sundays.

While such an arrangement is unusual, it’s one people have tried and are trying, although not always with success. There’s even a name for it: a modified bird’s nest arrangement. After we began exploring this idea, I found a book (I always do, don’t I?) called Reconciliable Differences: Marriages End, Families Don’t, in which author Cate Cochran writes about ten divorced relationships, including her own, in which the former partners embarked on a similar post-separation living arrangement. It was an eye-opening read for both of us, showing us what’s possible, and spelling out clearly and succinctly the many challenges we will be facing.

We both recognize that this arrangement may not work out in the long-term—there are just too many variables, too many potential obstacles that might arise. But we’re both committed to giving it a try.

So. Endings, but definitely a new beginning, too.

A few weeks ago I came across this post from Brainpickings on David Whyte reading from his poem “The Journey”; Whyte had written the poem for a friend who was in the process of ending a relationship. The final lines of the poem really resonated with me:

You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.

I am arriving. That is the hope and the potential that fills me right now, alongside the grief and sadness I feel at the ending of this long-term relationship.