Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Who am I?

Over the past several weeks, I’ve realised that the question for me isn’t what will I do in my new life, but the more simple, “who am I?” After 24 years of being half of a WE, now I have to find out how to be just a ME. This is a much bigger deal than I could ever have guessed.

For the first seven months, I wasn’t aware of much beyond what I lost: Nigel and our life together. I’m still keenly aware of that—very keenly—but I’ve realised that the real question I need to answer isn’t “what now”, well, not just that, anyway. Instead, it’s “what will MY life be?”

It took a long time to get to this point. Not long after Nigel died, maybe a week or two later, I was afraid I would die. I knew that it really is possible to die from a broken heart, and mine was utterly shattered. That’s on top of it being a bit dodgy, medically speaking.

I eventually got past that initial fear, but the fear of dying persisted, and for the same core reason: The mess I’d leave behind. First and foremost, like Nigel, I needed to make sure our furbabies would be okay. Beyond that, dealing with all the stuff Nigel left behind taught me that I need to do what Nigel never got a chance to do: Pare down.

Getting rid of stuff will be a very, very long process, and there’s not much I can do to speed that up, because there’s a lot of emotion tied up in that job. But the first one was much easier: I drew up a will mainly to provide for my furbabies and to make clear what will happen to them if I die before they do. I don’t actually care what happens to the stuff I leave behind—it can all go to the tip, for all I care. But the furbabies’ welfare matters more to me now than ever, now that Nigel isn’t here to look after them.

It turned out that drawing up a will did more than anything else to reduce my fear of imminent death, and that, in turn, let me turn my attention to—well, I’m not sure what, exactly, but I guess it can be summed up as whatever “me” will mean in the years ahead.

But, who am I?

I have no idea. All I know for sure is that, despite my initial fears, I’m alive, I’m here. Right now, I think that whatever “me” means in the future will be about that—being alive, being here, and maybe trying to leave something behind other than stuff to be dumped somehow or other. I don’t know what all that means, either, exactly, but figuring it out is my key to moving forward.

Right now, though, I know I won’t be able to answer “who am I?” for quite a while yet. That 24 years of being half of a WE makes it hard for me to know how to be just a ME. Like I said, this is a much bigger deal than I could ever have guessed.


rogerogreen said...

I can only imagine. You ended up half way around the world for love, which is, BTW, probably the most romantic story I've ever heard.
To me ,You are Arthur, the AmeriNZ, the writer, the friend, the podcaster, the iconoclast, the wise poli sci major, the PK - whatever list I come up with is necessarily reductivist.
Here's to you keeping on discovering who you are, because you, as they say, have a lot of good stuff.

rogerogreen said...

That's why they pay me the big bucks.

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

Ya know, it never occurred to me to take an "inventory" of that sort. It's actually quite helpful…