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I was about four aisles into Giant tonight when it hit me that I was going to be buying groceries for one indefinitely and how depressing that is. I just left my baby at college yesterday and I’ve been trying hard to be cool about it but when I was perusing the various flavors of seltzer water, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I couldn’t breathe and I felt completely panicked.

I finished my shopping, buying $100 (for one person — who’s on a perpetual diet) of I don’t know what and got in my car. Then it hit me: I was concentrating on being miserable instead of thinking about what I could realistically do to make this situation better.

1. Jump Off a Bridge — Okay, I’m terribly afraid of heights and I just spent 23 getting one kid through college, one to her last year and my baby into her first year. Not to mention the fact that I gave up my slim waist and flat belly for these three kids and years of adult conversation while I made sure they could grow up and get into a good college. I can’t jump off a bridge because this is where I get to see the ROMI (Return on My Investment).

2. Get Involved in Something — If one friend or family member has said it, ten of them have said it, “Get involved in something.” The mysterious “something.” No one seems to know what that thing is but whatever it is is apparently a cure all for depression, anxiety, loneliness, etc. When I find out what that something is, I will share it with the larger world because I am a giving, loving, nurturing person — oh wait, I used to be a mom — WAHHHH.

3. Focus on Myself — That’s another thing a lot of people have told me. So I’m a divorced, middle-aged woman, grieving the loss of her full-time motherhood. And I’m going through menopause, both figuratively and literally — there’s been a pause in men. I’ve driven every person who ever loved me crazy for the last few years as I rebounded from a divorce and raised three teens and forced them to listen to every single one of my problems. Do you all really want me to focus on myself and all that again? Really? I’m thinking I should focus on everything but me.

4. Run Away with the Circus — Was this every really an option? You hear about it but the sheer volume of things I would have to arrange to do that just seem insurmountable. I would have to arrange long-term care for my two wonderful dogs and even more wonderful cat. I would have to pack up all my crap and store it and rent out my wonderful home. I’m hoping the renters would be good with me leaving my Honda in the driveway because I’m pretty sure my Suburban would be better for hauling a camper. Darn. Now I have to figure out how to go get a camper, and what kind. I don’t want the circus people to hate me because my camper is nicer or think I’m a bum because I have a crappy trailer. And I don’t even have an act. Wait — the dogs and cat could go with me. This could work but it’s going to take some planning — I’m not sure this is the “something” everyone told me to get involved with.

5. You Will Always Be a Mom, No Matter How Old They Are — Okay, I believe that, but the only thing I can hear in this house right now is the ticking of my clock that runs on batteries so I’m not sure why I am hearing it. This fricking sucks.

6. It’s Finally Your Turn — My turn to do what? Cruise the Riviera? Shop on Rodeo Drive? Finally become a soap opera star even though soaps are not even on TV anymore? I have kids in college and I am single mom. I’ll probably just feel great knowing I am the only person who put a knife in the peanut butter.

7. Make a Chocolate Cake — Okay, I came up with this one. And it’s baking right now. I’m not sure what I will do with all of it — it involved one whole pound of butter and all the people at my work are on perpetual diets as well. But it’s about to make me feel great for about five minutes.

I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I’m just going to have to suck it up. I’m going to have to keep returning my daughter’s texts with positive messages and get up and go to work tomorrow and take the dogs out and let the dogs in and feed my livestock (the dogs and cat but livestock sounds more exciting) and mow the yard and exercise and blah, blah, blah.

That’s the thing about life. It’s called life. No matter what happens, you have to keep on living. You can’t give up. You have to keep trucking until you get used to the new phase of life. And then you will probably have to get used to another upheaval at some undetermined point in the future.

I’d like to end this with some uplifting, inspiring words but I am still wallowing. And there’s cake to be eaten.