We’ve all heard the old adage, right? “New Year, new you”. With Christmas comes the hustle and bustle of making sure everyone feels loved and appreciated. We show our loved ones just how loved they truly are by buying them items they either roll their eyes at or don’t deserve in the first place. Ahhh yes, the warm fuzzies of the holidays. After the rush of Christmas has gone, we are finally able to refocus our attention to things that have been put on the back burner for the past month. What do we do then but decide on all the things we need to “fix” about ourselves? The old tried and true New Year’s resolution. You get a few days between Christmas and the New Year to roll around in that big pile of shit we call self loathing and come up with a few things that are in need of attention AND come up with a plan of attack. Now, most of us can’t pull the trigger on what type of curtains to hang or what color throw pillows you need on your sofa in that short of an amount of time, but by all means, lets try and come up with some sort of psychological cluster fuck of a resolution. Oh, and try not to forget, you get one shot, and if you mess it up, you have 364 days to enter the world of shame with the rest of us screw ups until you get another shot at perfection. Why exactly do we do this to ourselves? Is it so bad to carry the same ole, less than perfect you into the New Year, or is it a mandated standard to make changes? With that question in mind, I want to take a bit to try and bring together my muddled thoughts on change, give everyone an update on where I have been for the last few months, and how I’ve come to realize that there is a very big difference between a resolution and an life solution.
Let me start first by saying that when it comes to living in one place, I spent the better part of my adult life moving around. I have never been a homeowner and have been 100% satisfied with the fact that I can pick up and move whenever a lease was complete, or pick up the phone and call my landlord and let them know when something major was on the fritz. As I got older and expanded our family, I still didn’t have the desire to own a home, but I did know that I wanted to be somewhere for a longer period of time, in hopes that I would gain some clarity on if or when we would purchase a home of our very own. I was ready to grow roots (no pun intended). We have lived the neighborhood life for the past 10 years, and up until late Summer of this year, I thought everything was plugging along just fine. We knew that we didn’t want to live in the neighborhood we were in for the entirety of our lives, but it was comfortable and it was home. Until it wasn’t. When our landlords decided they wanted to sell the house, it was clear that it wasn’t in the cards for us to remain there any longer. It took me a while to let it sink in, that I went into the rental office with a request to make long overdue improvements to the house and I left feeling a heavy looming uncertainty that I didn’t see coming. They were ready to sell and I wasn’t ready for change. When I drove home, I realized that it wasn’t home and that I was going to have to find another home. Even worse was the fact that I didn’t even know how long I had to relocate. I figured maybe after Christmas. I was wrong. At the beginning of October I received an email, asking if I had had any luck on the hunt for a new house. The truth was that I hadn’t even been looking, and now I have a sinking feeling that I didn’t have the kind of time I thought I had to make arrangements. I was terrified. This was a big change for our family and not only were we not prepared mentally, we weren’t prepared in any sense of the word. Unfortunately there was very little time to dwell on our situation, because change was coming, and I needed to find a solution that we could live with, and live in for that matter.
To say that my husband is a trooper is an understatement. Everytime I find myself pondering whether to kill him in his sleep, I just remind myself that he commutes roughly 150 miles a day to bring home the bacon. He gets a pass on falling asleep at 8pm on a Friday night, and when he’s grumpy in the Winter months, I know that it’s because it’s dark when he leaves home and dark when he returns. When I realized we were going to have to move, I thought that it was time to relocate to a city that would at least cut his drive in half. I spent the better part of 3 weeks trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat, and if I’m being completely transparent here, I was trying to pull an Angora from a thrift store fedora. I was defeated by the housing market and shocked at the cost of rental houses. I knew that the harder I tried to close the gap on driving, the further we were getting from closing the gap on our budget. So, with a heavy heart and a head full of doubt, I decided that I would take a week to relax my mind. I had cried and worried myself sick. I had yelled at my children and at my husband for things they did and didn’t do. I found myself fighting some pretty bad anxiety and instead of smudging my way into a better frame of mind, or taking it to the mat and stretching out life’s wrinkles, I was wading shit up and throwing it into boxes. I’m not a worry wart. If the well runs dry, I will bathe in wine. I’ve always been the type of person that knows that I will not go hungry (though I could stand to miss a meal or two). “The universe will provide” is a motto that I have stuck to throughout the years and has proven true time and time again. If there were ever a time that I felt like the universe was kicking me in the balls, it was here and now.
One day in the middle of our crisis, I took the littles over to see my parents and try to clear my mind and my head. My dad is a fantastic listener. He offers opinions but is almost ALWAYS on your side whether he actually is or not. My mother, while almost always rubbing me East while I trying to go West, is a problem solver to the core. As I was walking out the door to get put the roots in the car and leave, my mother casually says “I think there is a house a few doors down that looks to be empty”. WHAT?? I had been there for 2 hours and she was just now mentioning this? Like I said, East and West. So, with my roots in the vehicle which might I add was on the verge of overheating, I drive down, and outside there was a gentleman dragging limbs to the road. I introduce myself and asked him if the house is for rent. Without a word, he points inside. I could tell that his focus was all the work and that inside the house would be either our salvation, or an axe murderer. At this point I was willing to take my chances. Lucky for us it was salvation. She was one of those people you meet and you feel like you have known for more than just that current moment, and just like that, I went from stuffing boxes with memories to being back on the street I grew up on. This house, these people, were what we needed, in the exact time and space we needed them. As I walked through the house once and again later with the rest of my family, I began to look around and see all the possibilities in what would be our new place to make memories. Now it was time for what would seem like the never ending move.
Three days before Halloween, we began our move. At this point I had started to lose steam, as I had spent the previous two weeks priming and painting cabinets in both the kitchen and the bathroom as well as wood paneling in the dining room, kitchen, and bathroom. In my 20’s and 30’s, I loved to paint walls. It always seems like such an easy and affordable facelift, but I figured out that the extra stress pounds that I had acquired, as well as the new decade I was currently living in known as the 40’s, was kicking the shit out of me. Lucky for me, the husband had help in the moving process. Now, I could let this next part go, but I’m not. The husband has a coworker that I had up until this point only heard her name. Female plumbers aren’t exactly a dime a dozen but I’m telling you right now, she is a dime piece for sure. She drove 150 miles round trip to help us move, and when I finally was able to put a face with a name, I was shocked. I never buy into stereotypes, but I’m not going to lie, I sort of a expected a female plumber that resembled something like a young Roseanne Barr. Full of piss and vinegar and with a sailor’s vocabulary to boot. Boy was I wrong. She was a sweet, mild mannered, petite woman that if I had to guess, could work circles around most men. I stood VERY corrected. She not only helped with everything from the fridge to the couch, she literally never stopped until everything was transferred from one house to the other. I’m sure you are wondering where exactly my lazy ass was during all of this. Well, I was unpacking boxes and directing traffic, touching up paint, cleaning, and preparing to spend our first night in the new place. We had a bit of a system going, so don’t judge me, okay?
As the sun set, we were still missing a few items, one of which was weighing pretty heavily on my soul. My chickens. In August we had lost every chicken we had to a stray dog. It was one of the major things I despised about our old neighborhood. I had recently replaced all of them with ever growing chicks, and I needed them to be here, but moving their home was about as complicated as moving our own. It was built by hand, and weighed more than I could possibly guess. We pondered the situation for the entire evening and then before I knew it was happening, our loyal friends showed up to assist. How in the world they got it onto the truck and here without getting stopped by the police is beyond me. This must be a perk of living in a small country town where police officers see something resembling the Beverly Hillbillies, but totally know what is going on, so they turn a blind eye. Too bad they don’t do that with speeding violations. A whole different expense we had to endure in this process, and for sure one for a different life update. Right, husband? Mmmm hmmmm.
From October until now, we have been settling in. Taking our time with making it our home and filling it with pieces of ourselves. I took some time to really let go of the old house even though it still warms my gut a bit to think of it. Afterall, there were lots of memories there. 10 years worth to be exact. Birthdays, Christmases, vegetable gardens and several front door colors. First boyfriends, first steps, tears, and scraped knees from the time we let one of the roots build a bike ramp. I can’t begin to put into words the neighbors that have changed my life. I met people who endured unimaginable loss and still had enough heart to melt yours as well as neighbors that while you only knew them a short time, you knew you were lost twins (you know who you are). Our children met their very first, best friends. Sometimes they would go out in the morning to play with them, and not return until sunset, and sometimes they would play for 5 minutes and swear it was the last time they would play with each other…. Until the next day. It was an absolute blast watching them grow up together.
I drove out to the old neighborhood about a week after we moved and noticed my herb garden was completely gone. Sure, it’s not everyone’s thing, and certainly high maintenance, but many years of trial and error went into amazing Lavender. My front door was painted again. Boring red. Hmmm, maybe pink wasn’t everyone’s taste, and besides, it wasn’t my door anyway. It still stung a bit. The upside is that our new neighborhood isn’t so new. I have years of memories growing up here and rode my bike up down this street more times than I can count. It feels like home. Now my roots can get on their scooters or bikes and go see their grandparents only a few houses away.
Since the move I’ve hosted Thanksgiving here and our first Christmas. It’s been monumentally stressful both mentally and financially to prepare and execute a move that we weren’t prepared for. We are incredibly fortunate to be reminded what amazing people we have around us, each one of them enhancing our lives in ways I can only hope to one day repay. This brings me back around to resolutions. Do I believe in “new year, new me” ? Have you ever met me or read this blog? When it comes down to who I am, I will always have my head in the clouds a bit and lead with my heart. What I’ve learned in this process is both good and bad. I discovered that no matter how betrayed you may feel by someone, for them, it was nothing more than business, and it hurts. I also learned that no matter how many times I am surprised by someone, I will ALWAYS believe in the good of mankind. Not until they prove it, not if they lift me up when I am down, but just because I am forever an optimist. Lastly, I learned that when roots are torn from the ground, they are damaged, but when you replant them, over time they heal and begin to grow again. They repair the hurt and the trauma and become just as strong as they once were. And so, let’s GROW.