Thursday, February 21, 2013


Sometimes, new things are a little bit scary.

Usually, I'm pretty thrilled with them.  I mean, I like change--I LIKE moving. It's a chance to reinvent yourself, your space, your life.  I wish I had a magic wand to wave away the hassle of packing and unpacking, but, otherwise, I think it's fun. If I had it my way, we'd travel the world or move just every few years to discover new things. Oh, the adventure!

Still, solidity has something to give, too.  I mean, to lay down roots, make friends and deep connections. To really have "home," that's important, too. Once you get settled, really settled, you start thinking about having kids and things.

If we hadn't moved, I'll be honest, we would probably be house shopping or making do in the cottage--with its orange water, swamp bugs, but cozy charm and privacy--and decorating a nursery or something. I'd still be drowning in middle school English papers, but laughing with my students as they gawk at my giant squid mug filled with tea. Chris would still be at the bookshop, working late hours and coming home with stories of nightmarish customers and reasons why his boss is awesome.  I would wonder if I was ever going to escape Florida, the state I was born in and have dreamed of leaving for years. It was always a deep fear of mine that I would be stuck there, rooted, just outside my hometown, teaching at my old school, unchanging. Bound. I hate that word, that feeling.  To be completely trapped.  Sometimes, I'd get upset--I'd mope with the TV on, seeing nothing, and, when Chris would ask what was wrong, I'd tell him, "I'm stuck. I should be overseas, or just in a new state, but I'm stuck. I hate this. I hate it."
He'd tell me about how great it was that we were close to family, and I'd agree wholeheartedly--family is a wonderful, wonderful thing--but something still hurt. Fear still fluttered and clawed at my chest like parasite.  Was this all there was?

I had a moment, once, when I was twenty.  I was home for the summer, and, that night Mom was getting ready for a dinner date with my dad, so I was feeding Ellie, who was barely a year old.  I sat there, spooning food into her mouth, when suddenly I stopped. You know people say when you die how your life flashes before your eyes? It was like that, but forwards instead of backwards.  I saw my future. My mouth fell open, spoon poised in the air, and Ellie leaned forward, little lips opened wide, expectant, and all I could say was, "Oh, gosh!"
Mom came in, straightening something, "What?"
"This is it, isn't it? This is the rest of my life . . . "
Mom rolled her eyes, told me that I was being melodramatic, and then she left. I sat staring at my baby sister, patiently waiting for her next bite, and my heart sank.
I loved Chris. I knew he was the man I would marry . . . but was this the only life we would have? Would there be no more adventure? I know they say that motherhood is one of the greatest adventures, but my heart was sinking. I wouldn't see any more of the world; I would be another generation living the same life in the same place as the past.

Chris says I'm addicted to change. That I have an irrational fear of staying in one place. Maybe he's right. I'm odd like that. I don't like my history--there's nothing really wrong with it. I just don't like it. I feel like I haven't grown up since high school. Sure, I pay bills, have pets, and live with my husband in our own place, but I'm still the same shy, nerdy, awkward kid I was when the cool kids ignored me.  I carry that with me. I shouldn't, but I have the hardest time shaking off that identity: the nerdy nobody.  That's why I like moving: I get to remake me. In college, I was the nerdish, endearing innocent from the fringe group.  My semester in London, I was the sweet one who wasn't girly.  I didn't really change--I just had a clean slate. I don't have that in my hometown. 

So we get this opportunity to move to Cali, and we are thrilled. I mean, out West is where both of us feel we NEED to be. We get here: love the town, love the area, love it love it love it.Still . . . we're both restless . . . is that just new-moving jitters?

Have you ever moved somewhere new? Did you feel restless jitters? Did it go away with time?

1 comment:

  1. When I was 24, Hubsy and I moved from PA to NC. We went so he could get a job and we could hopefully move forward with becoming adults and getting married. While it was a great adventure indeed (neither of us went away to college - we commuted), I felt sort of the opposite of you. I felt trapped in being in the new place. I didn't want to be away from family, and every vacation we had was used to come home to visit. After 2 years we decided to quite our jobs and move back. It was 1 month until our wedding and we were homeless and jobless. Both of those moving experiences have played a big role in who we have become. This is your new grand adventure but it does not have to end there. As a side note, just because you have kids does not mean you can never have adventure in your life again, they can move with you after all. Kids are such adaptable creatures :)


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