I have created a new phrase to describe this widow journey, and that is “Raccoon Brain.”
Raccoon Brain Syndrome
When you go chasing all kinds of shiny objects with an intense fascination, only to get distracted by the very next shiny object and forget the first one.
To be fair, I’ve always had a little bit of Raccoon Brain Syndrome. So did Tim. We both were pretty good at getting super excited about one hobby only before jumping off to the next one before we really did anything with hobby 1. He was worse than me. At one point, he owned seven different instruments and didn’t play any of them particularly well. When he died, he left me four instruments of which I’m keeping two.
Anyway, since he died the RBS has taken on some new forms. One is what I call the “interruption of severe thinking.”
For example, say I’m walking around Target doing some shopping or picking up dog food. I’m thinking in a spiral loop; How did this all really happen to me? I can’t believe this is my life now. What gives life meaning when one’s life meaning is only to be stripped away? OOO PROSECCO IS ON SALE!
That happens a lot.
I didn’t realize it at first, but RBS has manifested itself with a wide variety of life decisions. I get fixated on one plan for a week or so. I do lots of research about it, obsesses over it a little bit and get super into the idea. Then some time passes and I think to myself, “Well that was a very bad plan afterall.”
These shiny objects may or may not include the following:
- Buying a weanling
- Opening up an Etsy shop
- Leasing a 3′ hunter
- Buying a large, cheap house in the suburbs
- Adopting a cat
- Quitting my job to get an MFA
- Taking a cross country road trip
- Buying a trendy condo downtown
- Moving to North Carolina
- Not moving to North Carolina
I could go on, but you get the idea.
The sad thing is, it actually took me several of these “great ideas” before I realized what I was doing. I would chat with my friends in an oh so excited way about the thing of the week, and they would just patiently listen like “Oh yes. Right. Good idea. Wow, you sure are a mentally stable person right now…”
Some of my “ideas” are better than others. While I’ve completely nixed some off the list above, others I have put into the “Hmmm” column. The “Hmmm” column is for things that might be a really good life choice, but are not allowed to happen until six months to a year from now. In other words, I don’t trust myself to make any major life choices.
They tell you that in the “practical widow guides” on grief and loss. No choices the first year. They say don’t sell your house (Fail), don’t move (fail), don’t even change your hair color (haven’t failed… yet). There’s got to be some truth to that advice, so when I’m in a particularly tedious meeting I think to myself, “Hey self – maybe not the best idea to rage quit your job today.”
Deep down, I know that I’m chasing these grandeur plans because I’m hoping something will stick and make me happy. That hasn’t happened, but chasing my new life plan in this RBS way gives me something to be distracted right now at the very least.
Perhaps I’ll even share one of those distractions with y’all tomorrow! Perhaps 🙂