For four or more years we were convinced that we were moving somewhere new, Hawaii most likely. We planned, we saved, we cleared out our belongings, we sold our home, we packed away boxes and marked them "Hele on." We visited favorite places for a last goodbye. In my heart I practiced a letting go of familiar sights and paths. I braced myself for missing friends, being further away from some family and closer to others. I anticipated the challenges that are sure to come with new places and changes in latitude. We constantly grappled with the issues of what we could and could not do, because we weren't going to be here long. No kitty, we are moving soon. No new television, better to wait until we are moved. Don't get settled, don't unpack, don't decorate, and don’t enroll in that program, because we are leaving soon. We put a lot on hold, we held our breaths, and we didn't commit to here and now, because the real thing was coming, anytime now. We have been healthy and had fun adventures, we have Maria, the boys have friends and a climbing tree, but throughout we have been living with the voice in our heads, the common denominator: Not now, wait, we are leaving.
But we aren't leaving. We are looking for a place to move, another place to rent, and we'll be staying for a while. We don't have long term plans any more. We know we need to stay in the county, and close to the office would be nice. We know that the housing prices here and in Hawaii have exceeded the expectations of reason and ration. Houses
are no longer homes, sweet refuges, but trading cards for profit... oops! Off-topic housing bubble rant... redirect...
Sometimes I run into someone and they're surprised to see me. "Weren't you moving to Hawaii or something?" And in conversations, after friends ask about our Move and I reply "Not yet, " then there doesn't seem to be much more to say. With so much build-up for our big goodbye, I think it's embarrassing to be found 'still here.' And not just here,
but renting, not buying, renting. When 70% of Americans own homes, it isn't surprising to find people incredulous about our choice, but it does make one feel left out, sub par. It's a fascinating, and humbling, experience to realize how integral home ownership and happiness are in American culture. No sour grapes from me; I'd love to be putting some nails in my own walls, matching drapes to Lego bricks, calling chickens to breakfast, planting a garden.
For now, I am just trying to rewrite our story. We live here. We rent. We are moving, but staying in the area. Really, a lot has changed, yet not. We are still on hold, waiting. I could add more to our story, I know we have a lot to be glad for, but I do feel a little disoriented, sad, turned around. Helen Keller wrote, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing," and John Lennon sang, "Life is just what happens to you,
While you're busy making other plans."
Does it have to be so?
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