After awakening from hibernation in South Carolina, after regaining our beloved northern dwelling, after grappling with the annual blizzard of income tax papers and sending them to the accountant, after a close friend’s grand birthday celebration, and after reinstating the mundane routine of familial duties (particularly for my elderly mother), I am at last at loose ends and beginning to settle down.
Interspersed with these broadly described reunions were a haircut, routine automobile maintenance, dental and medical appointments and the expected rallies with friends, not to mention the unanticipated event of a funeral for a highly respected member of our community and the blind-side news of impending death of a relative. Small wonder the waters are whirling about our feet as they recede from their former turbulence. The pressing details of the past week have at last subsided but the current pacific state was hard-won. Several mornings for example I was awake and at my desk no later than 3:00 a.m. attending to some irksome detail.
The condensed flurry of activity is consistent with the way I have always operated. Never have I approached modification or transition with anything other than irrepressible fervour. I admit to the thrill of it! I regale in the accomplishment of what needs to be done! It nonetheless astounds me to come out of a twirl still dizzy from the traffic. The revival of innumerable habits quells the readjustment. It matters to have your own bed and your own things, to park in your own space, to know your neighbours, to have the familiarity of shops and streets, to recognize the radio personalities, to read the local newspapers – in a word, to be at home and to settle down.
It further buoys me in this reclining state that I have commenced a project of acquisition which has been poisoning my conscience for months. The prospect of such material reward keeps me going, like it or not! Though this wouldn’t be the first time I’ve said, “This is it! No more! Enough after this one last piece!” Oh well…it’s likely just more of that Pavlovian conditioning from my early school days. Or maybe it’s my obsessive personality at work. Who knows! Who cares!
This morning I noticed from a casual review of historical records on the Millstone News that last year I advertised the closing of my law office effective April 30, 2014. Unquestionably the commotion in my life for the past year has kept me unbalanced or at least hopping. I have yet to throw away the relics of my professional past which have been stuffed into closet corners and desk drawers. From time to time I find myself reopening my office computer for information. Occasionally I get a call from a former Client. But it is safe to observe that the general populace has accommodated my retirement and has borne the deprivation of my counsel. My absorption into oblivion has been seamless.
Now with the office gone, the house sold, my late father’s estate settled and the first year of wintering south behind us, I begin the comparatively less adventurous business of settling down. I suppose one never attains a perfect pitch of frequency but we’re damn close to it. In my mind I have cut myself off from all that has passed. Everything is new, at least my approach to it. My finger nails and toe nails have been trimmed. I have a new haircut. I have buffed my silver jewellery. I’ll get my teeth cleaned. The car is washed and polished. The cleaning lady has come and gone and will come again. I haven’t any clothes that don’t fit (not because I’ve lost weight but because I’ve thrown out the other stuff). To my knowledge I have no outstanding personal disagreements. I am reconciled to perpetual sobriety (not least for the reason that my ancestors reportedly embraced the condition). While I wouldn’t go so far as to say I couldn’t give a damn what others think, conformity is certainly not a knee-jerk reaction (this isn’t so much a matter of intellectual liberation as the product of removal from the commercial stream). In short I am settling down. Everything on the horizon excites me, just doing whatever we do! I want to read and write, go for Vietnamese lunches, sip coffee and opine on subjects of personal and national interest. I relish the thought of spending time with family and friends, strengthening bonds and perhaps severing others. The spectre of inadequacy, insecurity and incompetence no longer threatens me even if still lingering. The ramification of personal shortcomings is now without its consequence. As with any commitment to settling down there are choices to be made, paths to follow, exclusions that will inevitably result. It is logically part of the process to abandon some things while embracing others, all part of settling down.