Category Archives: Personal Life

A Mind Comes Home

Who am I? Where am I? What day is this? Why is it so cold? Where are my pasta dishes?

The move from California to Maine is complete after six months of soul dragging work. Although, with advanced purging and prepping, the real labor covered almost a year’s time. I tell my friends that if I could have peered into a magic ball for a quick view of the future, I would not be retired, I’d still be shooing rattlesnakes away from the house, and generally kicking the can down the road for another year. It was disruptive, exhausting, and at times overwhelming but I’m glad I didn’t have that option.

When I see posts of friends making similar moves, I get flashbacks of sweating in 103 degrees, moving countless boxes multiple times to gain five more inches of working garage space. I’m always sure to let them know that I feel their pain, and I honestly do. I wish I could have chronicled my experience – the opportunity was right there and easy to share. But I apparently required all the RAM in my head for the the tasks at hand. I found two diary-type drafts when I sat down to write today, both of which seem to confirm that theory. Here is just a glimpse into my frenetic state:

July 4, 2021 – This is sort of an update, kind of a whine, to try to break a bad habit and get back to a balance. While my manual labor continues as we prepare to move an entire household across the country, I find that I have to actually force myself to stop to write. And it’s not just about the blog. I find through all this, I am reverting back to the tendency of keeping things in my head. This is not good. Article ideas are up there swimming around with to-do lists, cat transport needs, dates, and even the bullet journal I started with my daughter in January that lies open on the table staring at me, waiting for something, anything, to be updated or created or checked off. I mean, I have read five books since the last time I noted it in my reading tracker. I have tools – why am I not using them? I retired over two months ago. I wonder if there has been a vacuum created up there and I am unknowingly replacing all the labor laws, charts, and wage sheets that disappeared with whatever presents itself. Getting it out of my head is like a tug-of-war.

July 21, 2021 – The escrow proceeds. The contingent items – inspection, appraisal, scoping the sewer lines – are done. We now face a phase of quiet completely opposite the crazed two weeks prior. All those balls in the air can now be dropped and even left around the house along with dog toys and shoes, our daily life no longer mandated by clean lines and staged rooms. This hyper neatness suits me, although the packed garage seems to state otherwise. With the next couple of weeks moored in the doldrums, I feel like going back out to my already packed boxes and purge even more.

The garage of our new house is still full of boxes – the said pasta dishes are still MIA – but the rug is down, new furniture delivered, and the echoes are gone. A calm has settled in. The moment that happened, basic habits started to return, all mentally shelved with the disruption of clearing a house, driving cross-country with a pet, partial unpacking for apartment living, and managing a second move to a forever home. Most of those personal daily routines like morning rituals, meal prep, and yes, writing, seemed to go deep until my head was cleared of the urgent and immediate. I must truly be home.

After thirty years on the left coast, my brain still needs some re-wiring to be sure. Upon opening my eyes this morning, my first thought was that the 21 degree weather reading was a glitch. I also still automatically reach for a short sleeved t-shirt and then think again. But these are little misfires that will fade along with the SoCal heat. And now that I’ve opened that side door to my writing, I hope to be more prolific as garage boxes begin to decrease, my life fills the walls, my pasta dishes take their rightful place, and this home takes shape.

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To Desk or Not to Desk

I remarked to an acquaintance that as soon as I arrive at my new retiree landing pad, I want to troll the second hand and antique shops of New England for a great desk. She said “can’t you write anywhere?” Well, yes, I do actually, mostly on my iPad. When I accidentally discovered the split keyboard option, my happiness overflowed.

But her question made me stop and think. Has technology’s leaps and bounds also made my vision of hammering away at an old desk go the way of the dinosaur? I do need a place to hold my paper clips, laptop, little photo frames, and other sundry, especially now that I am no longer reporting to a job. But ever since I moved to laptops and iPads, I haven’t actually required a desk. However, there is a difference between requiring a desk and really needing one, at least in my mind.

The IKEA lifestyle has left me weary. As I move back to the east coast, I hope to leave slap together furniture behind. Don’t get me wrong – the affordable, flat box marvels definitely helped me keep up with E’s ever changing dreams and passions. And NO ONE can beat the Swedes when it comes to intricate builds with really cool screw locks. But I am looking for more substance and something with a style other than the smooth, minimal Scandinavian lines that come complete with directions and hardware.

There is just something about a nice desk that gives one an anchor, a center from which to view the world, both through the internet and a vivid imagination. And of course, I expect the search to be the best part.

 

 

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Purging….Then Epiphany

To prepare for the “big move,” I was given a tip by a friend who recently left town: Get rid of everything.

I laughed at the time but it all made sense last night, standing in front of my picked over bookshelves.

We do love our books. As I referred to in my previous post Books are Life, it is a trait given to me by my mother and I’ve passed it down to E. But now I have to actually move a life and I’m beginning to sweat – and this is just the books! After a second pass over the shelves, I realized I needed to sit and rethink. In my job, if a system stops working, I step back. I take time to objectively figure out a new approach. I figured the process would just as easily apply to my big move so I stopped everything and just sat.

First, I asked what I wanted out of this move. Turns out there was only one real question that needed answering before packing another box: Am I transplanting or am I moving forward?

I had lived and worked different lives to get here. I was into typical trends as a young girl, graduated college, enjoyed my twenties, traveled cross-country several times, worked at sea, been married, gave birth, divorced, raised a child, and worked for a wonderful agency until retirement. And that’s the abbreviated version. Like velcro, my life rolled throughout, picking up stuff and sundry along the way. What I have in this house is the collection of a lifetime and I needed to decide how much from those past lives should come with me.

The answer was….well, I wasn’t sure. But rather than asking if something sparked joy, I needed to ask if it belonged in my new life. I then started to approach this not as stressful packing but more as an opportunity, and that made all the difference in the world. The light bulb went off, I heard the bell ring. It was my A-HA moment. The stress receded (for that part anyway) and I was energized to start again.

Some things I would shed, donating to groups, selling online, and giving to friends. Special family items would be shipped to nieces and nephews to carry forward. The process would have its own type of stress, but I had found a way to be more focused and almost eager to keep it moving forward.

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