The phone buzzes. My receptionist emails to tell me my two late afternoon clients rescheduled for next week. My two hour window expands to the rest of the day. Greg is busy with an opening event and I am facing six free hours. A bit of uneasiness overcomes me. This is when living in our empty nest gets real because I have a tendency to squander my hours away. Today, I could finish the book on my night stand, shop the mall with all of it’s gift giving “deals”, or cozy up in a warm blanket in my chair watching a mind-numbing Hallmark movie. Oddly, none of these go to distractions appeal to me.
My uneasiness may be the Thanksgiving sluggishness that hit me early Monday morning after our return from four days of endless feasting. I commit to a body internal cleanse on our drive back motivated by the guilt of over-indulgence. Greg and I discuss all the new elimination diets coming down the pike. Such as the all beef diet psychologist Jordan Peterson swears reduced his inflammation and autoimmune issues. Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller is over 100 pounds lighter after eating potatoes for several weeks. He actually carried a baked potato in his pocket to curb his hunger pangs. Beef and potatoes, two of the culprits I have the most quilt for consuming were the answer to their extra layer of fat. If that doesn’t blow up all the talk of health among the local mid-lifers here who are trying hard to live past their expiration date. Eating with our friends comes with disclaimers now: gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free are announced rather proudly. And my meat and potatoes dish, while delicious and comforting, feels rather judged. And my attitude dwindles to “past caring”.
This afternoon is about distracting any thought of filling my emotional void with food, so getting out of the house sounds in order and I opt for stimulation of my five senses. I slip on comfortable shoes and make my way toward Rutledge Avenue and turn on Murray Boulevard. The temperature is in the high 60’s and the sun is out, a perfect time to walk in downtown Charleston. I head for Church Street just across from where I stand at White Point Gardens. The street is lined with beautiful piazza doors and wrought iron gates with their garland and wreaths this time of year.
Behind lay some of the finest English gardens of the city. As a docent for the Historical Foundation, I did more than one spring garden tour on this street. I am well aware of the secrets behind these gates. They tease your with a glimpse of the treasure beyond my line of vision. Others look in with me and wish they could see more, but these protective measures are to preserve privacy for these blessed to live on such a street.
I continue my canter down Water Street and my lungs fill with the salt air of the bay. My heart is lightened and this excursion is the ticket to opening the mind and flooding my creativity. I am glad I came.
As I return to my car, I sit down on a bench. I appreciate the canopy of trees, the waves sloshing against the sea wall, and row of royal merchant homes all within view. I close my eyes, breathe in and value this time of relaxation. Alone time is not my go to, but today it was just what the therapist ordered.