Anticipation or Dread?
Downton Abbey, I loved that show!
I always looked forward to Sunday nights, with each week bringing a new and intriguing episode. I often say I was born at the wrong time in history.
In the show, the family would sit down around the table at each meal. They held parties in the grand ballroom, and they all wore hats! I loved all of it. Somehow, things seemed simpler back then. Could it be because they had staff to do everything for them? Hmm—perhaps.
An episode that especially stands out in my memory has to do with the Dowager Countess (a woman holding property or a title from her deceased husband—I looked it up). The family is sitting around the table when one of the younger sons-in-law says he will do a particular thing on the weekend. The Dowager Countess asks, “What is a weekend?”
What is a WEEKEND?? Can you IMAGINE?? Immediately, I wondered what it would be like if every day was free for doing whatever I wanted to do! I envisioned days of traveling and exploring. I could see myself spending an entire day reading or soaking in the tub. It all sounded fabulous; I couldn’t wait.
As you may remember, Downton Abbey was originally broadcast a few years ago, and at that point, we still had our youngest at home. She often kept me busy on the weekends. Sometimes, it was fun stuff, and I loved spending time with her . . . even when it was just as a chauffeur or chief cook and bottle washer.
Now that both of our children are out of the house, each week continues to pass, and the weekend is still the weekend. The two days at the end of the week, when you don’t have to go to the office, but you still have to do the usual stuff at home—laundry, shopping, cleaning, yardwork, maintenance, and repairs. Basically, all the things you’re too tired to do when you get home from your day job.
One thing I hadn’t counted on was how lonely I would be! At this stage in my life, I spend a lot of time by myself. That’s definitely true for my job. Once you achieve a certain level of success, you work in a big, nice office—by yourself. At home . . . on the weekend . . . my husband has his routine, which includes the aim of playing as much golf as possible.
It’s hard to get mad at him for this. For years and years, he was by himself on the weekend while the kids and I did things together. He was always invited to join us, but things usually fell apart when he did. He didn’t want to be there, and everyone knew it. It just worked out that he did his thing, and I hung out with the kids for the weekend. This went on for so many years that he can’t imagine why he should have to change now. And I understand his point—Why should he stop doing the thing he loves? Isn’t that my vision, too, to do the things you want to do?
This empty nest time in my life is a time of give-and-take, ebb-and-flow, and yin-and-yang. I’ll figure it out. As one popular game show suggests—call a friend—and maybe I will. One thing I will not do is drag my husband along to the grocery store. We’ve all seen those couples arguing about vegetables, as the husband torturously pushes the grocery cart down the aisle.
No, I will not do that during my precious weekend.