Sundays seem to be a day of reflection for me. This is the first day of my weekend every week, and Sunday evenings are when I can finally sit still, not worry about the next day so much, goof off a little and relax. So yes, I get reflective. And again I'm thinking about how much things are changing, have changed.
It's an odd thing to pack up all of our things and move across country at my age. I'm sure it's odd regardless of your age, but I suspect that it's more unusual when one is past mid-life, or at least well into mid-life. I've never lived outside of Ohio before . . . well, those 4 years at college barely count because a. I was only 30 minutes into the next state and b. I was only 1 hour from home and c. I still had my bedroom at Mom and Dad's house.
Sometimes I forget that I'm not in Ohio. I mean, you know how you get used to working and going home and taking care of yourself and you don't see your personal pals for several days or maybe a week or two? Sometimes it feels like that is happening here and like I'll just have to make sure I get all my chores done during the week better so that when Sunday afternoon comes I'll be able to go to knitting. But then I look around me and see the palm trees, the oh-so-bright sunlight and the 90 degree weather in October, not to mention the new-to-me faces and town, and my situation comes back to me like a flood.
Mostly I really like my life here, actually. Thursday was an All Staff Training Day for the library system and I got to see the whole system together in one place. This staff is about 1/2 the size of the staff in Columbus (numbers, not pant sizes . . . although I didn't go around and measure waists, so you never know, but that would be weird, to measure everyone and really, who does that?). So there were about 250-300 people there. It was a great day, good training and decent food. The best, though, for me, was that I actually felt like I knew people and like I had enough friends that I wasn't the total n00b that I was afraid I'd be. These folks are great, fun, creative, talented, warm, accepting, open-minded, snarky - all the things I like in people. It was fun to mingle, and I learned stuff, too.
And church - I love my new church! The people are fantastic, so kind and generous. They serve their community, care about the world and the city, the environment, the children - it's terrific. They like me for who I am, even allow me to have faults and don't judge me harshly. Pretty cool stuff.
I get lonely sometimes, but you know what? Truth be told, I got lonely sometimes in Columbus, too. It's just the stage of life. It's how things are when you're a divorced 50-yr-old woman. The world doesn't revolve around me and I can certainly take care of myself.
I'm doing just fine.
There is an app that I've loaded on my phone called Timehop. It's a cool thing. It digs through your twitter and Facebook feeds for posts from 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 years ago and sends you "memories" each day. I kinda like it because it gives me a sense of the passage of time. I can see how it will be really cool the longer we've all been social-media-ing. And in a week like this, for me, it's a mixed bag of emotions.
Yesterday was Simon's birthday. He's 20. Timehop sent me all the posts, each year, that I've put up to celebrate his birthday, including his pictures. Sweet.
Tomorrow, however, will be the anniversary of my wedding day. I don't even know what to call it now that we're divorced. Unniversary? Angriversary? Whatever. 4 years ago I said "18 years ago I married my best friend! I love you . . ." blah blah blah. 3 years ago I said "tomorrow is our 19th wedding anniversary - my heart is breaking again and again". Pretty darn accurate. The last 2 years I posted nothing that Timehop shared about the event, just other stuff. 22. This would be 22 years. And look how much has changed in the last 4.
I don't know if I'm crazy for changing so much so quickly, or if I've kept myself sane BECAUSE I've adapted and changed so quickly. Since I'm unsure which it is, I'll err on the side of positivity and say it's the latter.
So, Happy September 19.
I can't say it has been easy. The last 6 months have been the craziest, quickest and slowest 6 months of my life. 6 months ago I was packing my stuff, endlessly sorting and packing and throwing away and crying and giving away and cleaning and packing. A year ago I was searching and praying and crying and worrying and searching and searching and searching. Today I have been living.
What I did today:
Chatted with a dear friend on FB early in the morning.
Sang too loud and long in church - twice.
Hung out with a family at their home, walked through their garden, clucked at their chickens, buttered bread for a little boy, shared heart-truths with a friend.
Took a long nap with my cat.
Talked on the phone with my mom.
Watched several episodes of a good tv show and missed the kind, sweet, generous man who recorded them for me, but I talked to him on the phone today, too.
Played my uke.
In short, I'm back to living life. Sure, I got a little teary during a few episodes of Growing Up Fisher, and I miss my friends back in Ohio. I miss my Sunday afternoons of knitting and sharing with Laura, Don, Josh and whoever else showed up. I miss the ease of never having to look at a map to find my way around town. I miss not having to explain the backstory of my life every time I share anything. I miss knowing other backstories, too. Heck, I miss being certain I know the person's name who is talking to me. I often have to ask!
But I don't miss the worry. My house is sold, my job is secure, my boss likes me, I'm working hard and I'm passionate about my job again, I'm involved in a good church where I and those around me are valued and loved and I feel like I'm really starting to make a place for myself here.
Oh, and yea, I kinda like all the sunshine. I mean - it's always sunny! Except at night. California is dark at night. You know, like normal.
I'm still The New Kid, but I seem to have found people who "get" me. What a blessing.
So many goodbyes this week, but I am done with crying for now. My mind is filled with all of the final details of my move. Tomorrow I will pack my cat and myself into my little car and head to Kansas City. Friday Simon will join us and we will take an epic road trip. It should be a great Spring Break for him. I am concentrating on the trip. Got maps from AAA today. Next week I will think about how my trip is one way this time.
There is one more load of stuff in my house hat needs to be taken to be donated; furniture, mostly. My couch, bed, a table, a few chairs I've kept to use here in the finals days. I have 2 suitcases to pack, some random food that is left that I will take to my boyfriend, and those most important papers I have to keep with me. The party Saturday night was fun, and this week is filled with last minute errands; getting records from the Vet, going to the post office, handling paperwork.
But as I go through the week I am struck by the seeming finality of it all. I have to concentrate on the adventure of my life, but I can't help but feel doors closing. I know these friendships will last forever, but the changes wrought by my new geographic location will be abundant. What this change will mean for us all will be determined in the coming weeks and months. For now, I try not to weep as I sit across from my dear bff for our last breakfast, share my last quick lunch with my sister, my last Sunday afternoon of knitting with the gentle group, my last evening with the GKP, the last night of sleep in my house . . . so many lasts.
Next week I will get some firsts. For now, I will embrace the lasts.
I've been on an odd journey the last 7 months. I've been aggressively seeking a new job while jobless. Add to that the exciting fact that this is one of the worst periods in US history for people in mid-life to find jobs, and one of the worst periods of US history when considering the funding of public libraries . . . you can start to see glimpses of some of the challenges I've faced.
But I have been victorious! I have a job! I will be starting work with the Sacramento Public Library March 25!
Just let that sink in a minute.
Sacramento . . . as in California. It happens to be the capital of California, and although it's a smaller city than Columbus, it is still fairly large.
I can hardly express all of the emotions that are swirling around inside me at this point. I'm excited, for sure, happy and honored to be going to a new library, to have been chosen. I am thrilled for this new adventure, going to California and staying! I am sad to be leaving friends, getting further from family, leaving this house in which I raised my son. I am tired from the stress. I am relieved to be working on a specific goal now, able to truly pack so I can move somewhere specific and do a specific job. I'm a little anxious that I'll overlook something important, forget to do something that needs to be done, miss an appointment.
So yes, there is a lot, but mostly I'm excited. I have but a few days left in Columbus. My stuff is all sorted, and the things I'm keeping are packed into Uhaul Pods and already en route to Cali. Everything else has been portioned out, donated, taken by others, hauled off to the dump, trashed, sold, etc. Seriously, I can't even tell you how much stuff was in this house. Way. Too. Much..Stuff. Never again! Lean and nimble, that's how I want to live. In fact, I'm already thinking that I'll have to donate more stuff once I'm moved into my new apartment and see what, exactly, I need and what I don't need.
But that's just stuff. The hard part is my friends, my dear chosen family. A few friends put on a party for me last night here in my mostly-empty house. There were probably over 40 people who came, and I know a bunch of friends who couldn't make it for one reason or another. How blessed am I? Very! Each person who came is special to me in one way or another - co-worker, colleague, knitter, college friend, friend through other means. church mates, you name it. I am fortunate to have so many friends, and I really really appreciate Carol and Nick who did so much (esp. Carol) to make last night's party a success. Such great food, so much laughter, so much joy bursting around in my house again! This is how our lives should be lived, not around stuff, but around relationships, around people, around sincere caring. Thank you, my friends.