How To Be Creative When Living Apart

It’s been three days since my wife left – and I’m just about starting to get comfortable with it again.

For those of you who don’t know, my wife and I live in different places. Or, well, I live in a different place. For work. She lives back home, (where we both technically live), and works there.

We did it once before, for three whole years, and then we even lived in separate countries. This time around it was supposed to only be a year, because I got a job opportunity I couldn’t say no to and we figured we could do it one more time. One year became more and now we’re 15 months in.

The pandemic was kind of a blessing for us. She came to visit me three days before the whole world basically shut down and with no planes going anywhere and much of her work disappearing, she decided to stay. We ended up having three of the best months of our lives then.

But eventually she had to go back home, to check up on some things and follow up on some work. Six of the longest weeks of our lives went by, and we debated how long we would wait before she just came back to me again. No point in sitting in two separate houses if nothing’s keeping us apart, right?

So she came back. That was this time around. And now she’s gone again.

I get into good habits when she’s not around, in a way. I spend more time writing, reading and working out, and I try to go to bed early. It might sound like I’m being super efficient, but I’m also not having as much fun. When we’re together we live, laugh, have fun, cook great food and simply enjoy ourselves. Much of that disappears without her. Which is why I don’t mind not having time to write as much when she’s here.

The day she left I looked forward to getting back into my habits (as much as you can look forward to anything when you have to part ways with your spouse for an unknown amount of time). I felt like I’d neglected my responsibilities and was ready to pick it back up. I was super motivated to crack on with things.

At the same time I felt guilty. It was almost as if I’d been looking forward to my wife leaving, so I could get more time to write and read. Of course that wasn’t the case, but the thought still gnawed at me.

I thought about it for a while, trying to understand what my emotions were actually telling me. Which is when I realized I wasn’t swapping her for the writing, I was merely filling the void of her with my creativity. All that life and soul that we usually filled our house with when we were together had nowhere to go now that she wasn’t here. So I poured it into my art.

It’s not that I work better when she’s not around, it’s just that I have to do something with the energy I usually reserve for her. And if I have something to fill my time with and keep me motivated to get up in the mornings until we meet again, well… That’s fine with me.

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