A single life

The pharmacy hadn’t all the tablets to make up my prescription when I called last Wednesday. I was given enough for a week and told to call back.

Going to collect the balance of the medication, I realised it would include three weeks’ supply of Sertraline, the anti-depressant I have taken for the past year. I was about to say to the pharmacist not to include it, but realised I had paid the full cost of the medicines last week and that it would be no cost to anyone but me if I accepted the packet of tablets without having any intention of taking them.

There has been a feeling of being less tired since I stopped taking the Sertraline last week – and there have been no dips.

The much thumbed book on cognitive behavioural therapy has been of assistance. There has been a development in my capacity to let go of things that I cannot change, to detach myself from a constant contemplation of a past that cannot be altered.

Oddly, though, it has not been either prescription medicine or therapeutic writing that has been of most assistance, but a sense of temporal perspective.

On Good Friday, my sisters and I did a round of the family graves. It is an experience I greatly value, it brings a sense of rootedness and longevity. Last Sunday, my mother reached her eighty-fifth birthday, with a brain as sharp as many half of her age, she has regained some of her physical health in recent times.

If I should attain the age of my late grandmother, I have at least another thirty-three years of living to do and I have no intention of spending three decades lamenting that which cannot be changed.

When I moved into my present apartment in March, it was the first time in my life that I had ever lived anywhere on my own. It was not a prospect that seemed inviting.

With the passing of the weeks there has come the establishment of a routine, and an increasing delight in living in the present moment. I stand on the terraces of the local soccer club and talk to whoever may be standing near by. I go to rugby matches and watch with fascination a sport that is like a physical game of chess.

To watch whatever programmes I want, I have a VPN on my laptop and Chromecast to watch the miscellaneous detectives, and obscure rugby clashes from deep in the French midi, on the television screen. I can play the music I choose and keep the hours I want (this may mean going to bed at nine and getting up at dawn). I can spend hours and hours on my studies and feel a sense of delight at being told a paper submitted is ‘a very good piece of writing’.

A single life is not the life I would have chosen, but if it is to be a single life, it may as well be a happy one.


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