Music is shuffling through the headphones as I make a half-hearted effort to dislodge the dust and dog hair from the crappy carpeting in the rental. Upbeat songs for running are interspersed with Christmas music, an odd klezmer download, beginning Italian lessons, classical and new age stuff that I don’t even remember recording. My brain registers slight annoyance at the random selections but it’s not worth fixing. I’m not really listening.
It’s been more than a week since the crushing moment in the attorney’s office and I’m not feeling any better. Still lost. Still trying to make sense of how and why the bottom has fallen out of a life that was once so promising by conventional standards. How did I find myself single parenting once again, underemployed and lacking a permanent address? Today I understand better that my lawyer didn’t mean anything personal when he summed up my not-complicated estate planning by saying “you’ve got nothing.” Still, those words sadly summarized the state of things and I am stuck feeling very, very sorry for myself. Cue the tiny violin and the slide trombone. Waaa waaa waaaaaaa.
The music selection changes and a new song begins. The repeated lyric passes once, twice, three times. The fourth time I finally hear it. It’s a Bob Schneider song.
“It’s not the end of everything, it’s just the end of everything you know.”
I have a mother who believes in Meant To Be to the degree that if a parking space opens, it’s some star-based entity cosmically looking out for her. I don’t believe in destiny for things mundane but there are bumper sticker moments like this one that swoop down and provide a karmic slap upside the head.
It’s not the end of everything, it’s just the end of everything I know. Maybe not having anything is just right, right now. No responsibilities, no future plans, nowhere I have to be. Maybe I can work with this. My chest opens, the heaviness begins to lift. I sing the chorus out loud for the rest of the song and imagine again the long waaaaaa waaaaaaa of the pity party trombone. This time I laugh at myself and shake it out of my head.
A new refrain. It’s time to get over yourself. Time to be grateful for what you have. Time to be open to new possibilities. Time to begin again.
And just like that the funk lifts. I switch off the vacuum and wind the headphones into their case. My lab. Rain, tail happily beating the air behind him, comes running with his oversized tennis ball stuffed into his mouth. The sun is shining. Let’s play.