This weekend marks one year since Finder Not Keeper opened for business. I thought about an image of a birthday cake or a champagne bottle, but if I am being completely honest, the real impetus to open a shop came from watching my children leave home. Thus, the image above.
Today's Post is About Loneliness
When my oldest child left for college, I really struggled. I cried without warning, and had trouble sleeping. It felt like the loss of my identity as a mother. I'm quite ashamed to admit this even now, because it was such a first-world problem, to be sad about the natural progression that everyone wants for their children. How shallow and selfish.
Still, with each child that left, I came closer to an empty minivan. Each college acceptance letter felt a little like a blue slip being issued to me, the stay-at-home mom. The quiet at home got louder and louder.
I remember watching "Girls" on HBO, a show about four young women in New York, trying to make it on their own after the economy tanked. Lena Dunham and her friends were a hot mess, lurching from college to crappy jobs, taking chances, screwing up. Oh, could I relate. They were stalled in Brooklyn, just like me, sitting on my couch watching them, stalled in midlife.
Three Things That Changed
I spent nearly a year thinking about how to live the rest of my life. I made some changes right away. First, I began writing. Every day, like making a cup of tea. Second, I made a conscious effort to associate with women who were positive and energetic. Third, I stopped much of the volunteering I had done for years.
Slowly, things coalesced. The writing got to be addicting and soon, the quiet in the house went from loud to lovely. The strong women I sought out helped me discover new talents and encouraged me to take risks. And the time I once spent on childrearing and community work is now mine to devote towards my new enterprise.
Loneliness Can Be Good
Recently, I listened to an interview between Design Sponge's Grace Bonney and artist Ivan Cash. Mr. Cash had this to say about loneliness:
Loneliness is a really important feeling or aspect of life that doesn't get talked about enough. It is something we all experience on some level and maybe we can do a good job avoiding it, or pushing it away, and not feeling it too often. But it is something that can motivate people. It motivates me. It can be beautiful and it can be dark.
Mr. Cash is a loner and always has been. He finds that sadness and pain intensifies his interest in connections. His recent project, called "Last Photo" is an ongoing video series where strangers across different cities are asked about the last photo on their phone. You can watch it here. It is surprisingly funny and heartwarming.
And this is another person who inspires me. Her name is Ree Drummond and I have subscribed to her blog, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, for many years. Her eldest daughter, Alex, is a senior in high school and today, Ree wrote about her bittersweet feelings on the subject. Here is her post.
So anyway, three cheers for loneliness and Happy First Anniversary to Finder Not Keeper. Grab a tissue, a glass of wine, and let's sing along with Bridget Jones and Celine Dion.
P.S. April Fool's Day is only three weeks away! Yes, I am planning... and yes, my shop will once again be the victim. So awesome to be the #bosslady!
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