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Ha! Don’t I Wish?

Rhythm was never my gift, and seven years in my school band did not change that. As a bassoonist, my role in ensembles was to maintain the rhythm—the beat—of the music, but I never mastered it. My classmates could pick up a pair of drumsticks and know what to do with them. Not I. Unsurprisingly, I was not a good dancer, though I went to the obligatory ballroom dancing classes with my peers. When dancing moved past the two-step and a timid jitterbug, I was done for.

Lev, on the other hand, was born with rhythm. He grew up listening to his parents’ music, the great swing bands of the 40s like Glenn Miller and the Dorsey brothers; and when he went East to college, he discovered the music of performers like Little Richard and Fats Domino. Oh, how he loved to dance to rock-and-roll! He fell in love with me despite my inadequacies, but he never made a dancer out of me.

Searching for Rhythm in My Life

Finding rhythm in my life still eludes me. I intend for every day to be meaningful and to include the things and the people I value most, but life intervenes and time and opportunities are frittered away.

Lev brought rhythm to my life, because he had a routine and I adapted my life to his, as I had to the children’s when they were growing up. Now I have few external pressures to live by the clock and calendar; and seven years into this new role of widow, I still can’t find a pattern in my life.

Part of it I have brought on myself. I never liked regular weekly volunteer commitments, preferring to tackle big projects that consumed my time for a brief period. Now I don’t like monthly meetings and have almost completely eliminated them from my life. The result is a life that is full of interruptions and devoid of consistency.

I have written recently about the importance of values. I can rattle off what I claim to value, but neither my calendar nor my checkbook adequately reflects those values. Both would show that I value travel and Nantucket summertime, which is true. While family and friends matter more, yet I squeeze them in—and I squeeze writing in—on my all-too-brief visits home, when the “Lev work” takes precedence. I was a spoiled wife, and I never knew how easy Lev made my life.

Thank you, Lev. I’m so sorry I didn’t realize it sooner.

 My friends who have a rhythm to their lives—whether it’s church groups or card groups or exercise groups—are organized in a way that I envy but do not seem able to incorporate in my own life. I used to say that I couldn’t imagine anything worse than waking up in the morning to face a day with nothing to do. Instead, my desks are piled high with growing towers of notes and paper that I need to handle. I want to do too much, I am unsuccessfully juggling my desires and my obligations, and I can’t count on too many tomorrows where I have the health and energy to do it all.

What is your advice for me…besides “stay home more”?