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For those in need of physical and spiritual sustenance

March 14, 2011

Here in my neck of the woods it is still chilly, overcast, and grim. I’ve told myself I’ve neglected certain housekeeping tasks because I am loath to frighten the cat (they HATE vacuum cleaners, am I right?), but that does not explain the towers of laundry, the piles of paper, the decidedly un-scrubbed stovetop, counters, sinks, and tubs. I am exceptionally bad at unpacking suitcases, and there are at present several in various states of disgorgement all over my bedroom floor. The birdfeeder has fallen on its side in the yard, a casualty of heavy rain and high wind. (This must explain why the birds have not been coming to it lately.) And though I’m not precisely despondent, it does occur to me that I need an incentive to get off my rear end and put my life in order.

So. It is Monday, and this weekend I will have a dinner party. And I think will serve this menu. The blog on which it is featured is written (and photographed) by one of the best cooks I know, and I think her attitude in this particular post says it all: when you feel low, when it’s cold and dark and your spirits flag, instead of wallowing (as I often do), you should clean your house and cook something wonderful for your friends.

When I first separated, I hovered around other peoples’ houses, a perpetual guest, always feeling a bit uneasy (was I intruding? Was I a third or a fifth or a seventh wheel?) It took a couple of years, I’m ashamed to say, for me to realize that I needed to reciprocate, that being on my own didn’t excuse me from being a hostess. It’s odd to invite a whole bunch of couples over when you’re not part of one, but I think it’s absolutely essential. And planning a party or dinner of your own also makes weekends–when everyone I know goes to the mattresses, as it were, with their spouses and children, and the phone stops ringing, and it’s easy to feel forgotten and alone–more pleasant.

I think it reassures one’s friends, too. When you invite them over, you’re ushering in a new stage both in your life and in your friendship–not to mention ensuring that they’ll invite you back, and you’ll invite them, and pretty soon you won’t feel like a truncated half-couple any more. You’re just your same old self, part of the social whirl again.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Alienne permalink
    March 14, 2011 6:10 pm

    My cats don’t care about the hoover, but they run as soon as they see a broom; they’re odd creatures. The menu looks lovely, I agree cooking and cleaning can certainly lift your mood. Now I just need to force myself off the sofa to do one or the other

  2. March 14, 2011 9:21 pm

    It’s strange, while I’m not divorced, my loss and current life changes, parallel what you’re going through. Our friends have kinda kept us at a distance. Their afraid to bother us. I think I might have a dinner party just to let everyone know we’re okay and it’s alright to treat us normal. I’m also right there with you on the house stuff. Laundry is done, but in piles around the house ready to be put away. Clutter oozes out of every surface. Snowboards are still piled by the front door. Snow pants and boots are piled up in the office. I need to get myself in gear and get things sorted about but it’s hard to make the first step. I’m hoping warmer weather will be just what I need to snap out of the doldrums.

    p.s. our cat is scared of the vacuum too!

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      March 15, 2011 11:55 am

      Having people over does reassure them in some weird way, and it makes YOU feel better, or it does me, at any rate. I realized belatedly that the way to stop feeling like a social leper was to stop acting like one…

      I’m on day two of the “The kitten might be scared of the vacuum!” excuse, by the way. Most convenient!

  3. March 15, 2011 3:21 pm

    Wow, that menu sounds even more awesome than what I’m eating right now. Which is brownie batter out of a pan. And it’s hard to get more awesome than that. Have a lovely dinner party…

  4. March 16, 2011 8:37 am

    You make a good point and may have inspired malaise-induced dinner parties across the country. My children have taken to poking through the laundry baskets in the morning in order to cobble together outfits to wear to school. While I can manage to occasionally throw a pile of clothing into the washer and into the dryer these days, I cannot for the life of me muster the energy to sort, fold and put away. I used to pride myself on my efficiency and organization. Team uniforms were always washed and ready. Clean socks, mated and tucked into the appropriate drawer. The outgrown sizes removed and donated.
    Probably they should do it, yes?
    But organizing that effort also takes an initiative I seem to have misplaced.

  5. Jen permalink
    March 20, 2011 4:11 pm

    I think what you need is a wider circle of friends. Being surrounded by couples when you are unhappily single is very depressing; a night out with the girls is much more fun!

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