Since there is nothing more I can do to fix the dog chained to a tree down the road, I suppose I should focus on fixing myself. There is something that is not right in my heart and my head. It is two weeks from my 49th birthday. I feel disconnected from my siblings, my long-time friends, even my partner. I wake up early and go to work. At the end of the day, I head home. I always head straight home after work. I’m eating healthy. I’m not drinking. I go to bed early. Laundry is not piling up; homemade soup is in the fridge and ready for reheating.
So, WTF is the problem?
Before bed, I walk the dog along the snow-packed road under the stars. Sometimes, when the moon is waning, I wear a headlamp. There’s a spotlight from a barn down the road that casts shadows through the trees and over the winter night. I look for animal tracks. A red light clipped to the dog’s collar winks at me from the dark as he dashes in and out. He keeps a finite distance between us as he follows where his nose takes him. Only he knows the true measurement of that distance–when it’s time to turn back–only he knows. If he gets too far ahead or behind, he catches up and bumps my hand. The cold nose between my gloved fingers says, there you are. I’m glad you’re here.
These walks in the dark are the highlight of my day. No words are exchanged; no glow from the screen of a phone. I work on a computer all day. Sometimes I wear headphones. Sometimes I will go an entire day without speaking with another human being. Sometimes longer. I know I could get up and start a conversation with the person next to me. I am surrounded by people, an office full of people. But most times I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to start a conversation. I’m uninterested in giving voice to kids, politics, plans for the weekend. In many ways, it feels like the same thing over and over and over again. It is becoming difficult to find things of interest. It is becoming difficult to find things in common with other people.
You find what you are looking for. Maybe I’ve stopped trying. I’ve stopped trying to connect. So then, I’ve found what I want: disconnection. But, why?
“You can be lonely even when you are loved by many people, since you are still not anybody’s one and only.” ― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl
The deliberate disconnect may be because I’m not sure I know who I am. Not anymore anyway. Am I a student? A sister? A friend? A lone wolf? I already know what I am not. But, what AM I? I am a writer. I am someone who would like to be a vegetarian. But what else… I have no fckn clue. I am someone who likes to go for walks. I am a reader. I am someone who likes animals. I want to rescue animals, but I am not an animal rescuer. So, who am I right now? I am a caregiver to a dog. I am tall. I am a brunette. I am….