You would not imagine the amount of "keepsakes" I have accumulated and stored over the years of my life. Only when I am preparing to move do I realize just how MUCH I have... boxed up and stacked, staring at me. Some boxes have gone from Euclid to Medina to Medina location #2 without even being opened; and most of those boxes are still stored, thankfully, in Bob's basement.
Living in the Friendship House has been tight living. Apparently back in 1899 folks did not own many clothes or sundries -- because Savanna and I have a total of two-and-a-half small closets in our entire house. There is no broom closet, or pantry, no linen closet or coatroom. Just a few precious bedroom closets... and a wet basement for a few plastic bins of seasonal clothing, chancing mold. Decorated plastic bins labeled "jeans" and "undies" line my bedroom walls. Aside from the garage, there is literally nowhere to store more of anything, much less keepsake baby shoes and china teacups.
But come on now, even I realize that Bob has housed my random belongings for too long. I do make what I call "shopping trips" back to his house once in a while to pack up a car load of my things we need to use, but didn't need enough to move in to the house initially. Frankly, there were at least five times I went over there with great intentions to get massive amounts of work done, move stuff out of there... but it didn't take long before the mass of items felt overwhelming to deal with, to sort, to move emotionally through and either "give away," "keep," or "toss."
Yet life moves forward no matter who can deal with it or not, and Bob decided to work on brightening up his place. It was (way past) time to clear out the remnants of my walk-in closet. Well, I didn't move quickly enough, and Bob packed up my things from (just) the closet. The stuff moved out to the garage for holding, and finally arrived at my house by the generous man who packed them for me. I swear to you, there were at least 15 boxes. From just the closet. Packed, stacked, and mocking me... "ha ha, you have no closet to hide us anymore!"
This blog, however, is not about explaining the amount of crap I have accumulated. It's about change and transformation. I know this because I have been able to sort through those 15 boxes. I have been able to emotionally handle the memories they revive! Do you see? I am moving on with my life. Finally.
Henry David Thoreau advised to "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." I have the magnet on my fridge to motivate me! Sounds great... most days... if I feel gutsy and, well, CONFIDENT, and willing to accept whatever I get as a consequence. It is kind of hard to let go of stability. It has frozen many folks, I am sure, from jumping into a dream.
The Friendship House was supposed to be a temporary home, a soft place to land for a little while. I was pretty much convinced that within a year I would be moving on to a bigger house, re-married and happy. (So much for expectations!) Don't get me wrong, this place is adorable, comfortable, cute. I have wonderful flower beds and a garden. The true value has been the trial run of independence, a stepping stone to something larger. And no, the "larger" vision of my future is not nearly developed -- I just know that I am READY to move forward... even if I am alone.
Anyone who pages back through my 65 blog posts knows that for a (long) while just getting out of bed and going to work and running were victories. My heart ached for the many poor decisions I had made. And then, the flowers and the garden saved me. I learned enjoyment of "me" time from a dear, most perfect role model (who then moved on to be alone). My own life was shaping up around me. Once I met Jeff I knew the transformation was all but arrived.
Proof positive of personal change to me has been two-fold: a side-business idea, and more importantly, buying another house. I admit that for a while I was ambivalent, wanting a change but waiting for something "else" to happen so that I didn't have to make a decision "by myself." Waiting might then go on forever.
It seems that life is healthiest lived independently of another. Even in a relationship, independence and sense of self are necessities to being a strong partner. Strong self, strong partner; love yourself, love others. Accept the results you, yourself, pay for, or earn.
Clearing off a bookshelf today I found poetry books written by my most favorite, dearest, professors ever -- Paula Rankin. Paula was an English teacher at Baldwin-Wallace, mostly creative writing. My minor in undergrad was Writing and Literature, so I was blessed to be taught many (life) lessons from Paula.
Shortly after graduation, Paula became ill and moved back to her family, and to teaching at Hampton University. I remember feeling heartbroken that she had been/was ill, and even more heartbroken to know that she was no longer here, for readings or long talks. Paula really listened. She found a deep love and appreciation for her students, for each of us, and to this day I love to re-read her letters from Virginia.
Oddly enough, on this day, I read, "... as you've already discovered, dear Suzanne, there's a price for every choice we make. And the choice between dependence and independence is, I think (at least for me), the most difficult. Security is so seductive - yet full of hidden costs."
What truth in that statement! Frightening, too, to "go confidently" in the direction of my dreams, when I will pay a price for that choice! However, not advancing (i.e., holding on to the secure), waiting for "a man" to "make a move" does bear hidden costs -- maybe lost time, lost opportunities, lost places to redecorate and personalize. No new gardens to plant or flowers to grow. What thrives, waiting?
I am jumping, net or no net. My life to live.
I didn't ever imagine needing to pack up my things from my comfortable walk-in closet. I had hoped the nightmare would end, and I would return to security. I didn't imagine living in the Friendship House for a third Spring, a third Summer. Living the life I had imagined became a life I didn't expect to ever know. It took some time to trust that a different image, while not expected, can still be good and fulfilling -- full of unknowns, and surprises, and with luck, love.
And so truly, as I have unpacked boxes to sort, I will re-box the most important things, to take with me as I move, forward.
How The Cows Were Cool
4 years ago