Life weighs me down more often than I would like to admit. It’s the dual nature of responsibility and joy that adds pounds to my feet. Work and children have a way of giving every parent a schizophrenic existence of duties.
On Monday I ran away from those responsibilities. I met two girlfriends of mine for happy hour drinks and appetizers. At first I delighted in my truancy. I rejoiced in the ability to not answer to either biological children or students.
The day progressed minute after minute as happy hours do with more drinks being ordered and contemplations of more food choices. My two girlfriends are single with long term boyfriends, neither have children. I was the only married with children attendee. Love and marriage….
After happy hour we went for a walk along the outdoor mall enjoying the boardwalk, mild temperatures, and enticing sale displays.
We went into a few stores to peruse the sales, and now with each passing minute instead of feeling the gaiety of freedom I began to feel hollow. Both the ladies bought outfits, accessories, and trinkets without hesitation. They filled their bags and emptied their accounts without trepidation.
Being a mother, and on a fixed budged, I was surprisingly without envy. Instead I felt a deep melancholy. As if life filled with only drinks and shopping wasn’t really a life. It was a shadow of what life is meant to be. Granted, we have been brainwashed in our American lifestyle that to live the retired life, carefree and selfish, is a great covetous goal.
But, that evening, as the sun sank and fall’s shadows danced across the brick facades of the boutiques I felt a longing for deeper meaning. Perhaps it is the writer’s heart within me. The heart of any artist, to feel the pulse between the luxuries of life. The luxuries, the comforts are only the gilded frame of the art it is framing. Art speaks truth, the innards, the darkness, the complexity of the human soul. It doesn’t live in the framing. It lives in the complex truth in our lives.
Even though I do need the escape, the retreat from demanding responsibilities, I wouldn’t trade my complex, emotionally trying existence for that of the vapid decision making of where to vacation and what store has the best deals. I live for the art of life, the trials that color the profundity of the human soul. Not the gilding. It’s the exquisite curse of the writer’s heart.