Moving anywhere after twenty-five years requires some adjustment. We are, after all, creatures of habit. We expect our coffee cup, the bathroom, the grocery store to be in the same place, even if we aren’t. But we’ve traveled enough to adapt to and even enjoy new surroundings. So that’s what I’m trying to so here, even if I can’t seem to hold the big-picture geography in my head–you know, my place in space–without looking out a window.
Seriously, this apartment complex has so many amenities (pool, gym, tennis court), I can easily think of it as a vacation rental, like the condos we’ve rented in Hawaii. That helps. And like being on vacation, I’m learning where all the shops are, including four good markets, two drugstores, and many restaurants, all less than ten minutes away.
Another point that makes this feel like a vacation is that I’m living with a pared down number of possessions. Fewer clothes and shoes. Fewer cooking utensils. Simply less stuff. And you know what? I’m fine. I keep a list handy of things to pick up the next time we’re at the house, but it’s getting shorter, not longer.
Less maintenance too. Smaller house to clean. Fewer bathrooms. No lawns to mow. No garden to weed. See? Vacation!
More good news is that after a week on “vacation,” I’ve had a couple of good night’s sleep in this new space and have set about establishing some familiar habits in my new environment. I’ve even used the gym here. And yesterday I went to the movies with my daughter and her family. For a decade we’ve only been together on vacation. The vacation mindset is once again reinforced.
Now, if I could only get the cabana boy to bring me a tall, frosty drink at poolside.
Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard by Laura Bates.
1. Doing good–even for those who have done bad–is a good thing. We all benefit from kindness and compassion because…
2. Human beings tend to become who the world tells them they are. If we treat others—even prisoners—like animals, we shouldn’t be surprised when they act like animals. Whereas, if we treat others with respect and recognition of our shared humanity, they may begin to see themselves in that way.
3. Not all prisons have walls. Some are of our own creation. When we tell ourselves we can’t do something, that is a prison in a very real sense. And even in an actual brick and mortar prison, the mind can be free.
This book tells the true story of the transformation one teacher made in the lives of desperate, dangerous and hopeless prisoners. Larry Newton is one of those prisoners. He was sentenced to “life without” at the age of seventeen and spent a decade in solitary. When Larry began to study Shakespeare with Dr. Bates he began to see life from a different perspective. He could see that others have felt what he felt, faced what he faced. And while still challenged by a life in prison, he learned to set himself free with learning and passion and purpose. It saved his life. Read it to discover why he believes that learning has the power to save a lot of other lives as well.
Powerful stuff here. Highly recommend.
The good news is the kitchen is packed, the last room to tackle. The bad news is the kitchen is packed! The cupboards are bare. A few bowls and cups for early morning coffee and a bite of something. One bagel left. A little cereal and milk. The coffee maker. Essentials.
We sign papers tomorrow, hook up new cable and Internet, and move a few house plants. Truck comes on Saturday for the rest.
With my environment in such disarray, I’m having trouble concentrating, so am really looking forward to this particular stage in the transition being over with. Besides, I don’t like writing these posts on my phone. I need to remind myself why we’re doing this and remember to breathe.
I feel a sea change coming on, a paradigm shift, or maybe I’m realizing just how old I am. I’m sixty-five, for those of you keeping score. For years my husband and I have been saying that this house was not a house to grow old in. It’s a big, two-story house, with three bedrooms and a full walk-out, daylight basement on a large sloped lot. So many stairs! And no bedroom or even a full bath on the ground floor. What were we thinking? Besides, we simply have no desire to maintain it on the off-chance that we’ll have enough company to fill it. The FOR SALE sign is already in the front yard.
Where will we go? Not quite sure, but we do have a plan. After twenty-five years in this house, we’ll try out an apartment before buying something new. Who knows? Maybe we’re ready for a condo. And after nearly forty years in Carson City, we’ll give Reno a try. Furthermore, after a decade of living a thousand or more miles away from our beloved adult daughters, we are moving close to our younger daughter and her family, including our five-year-old granddaughter. Very close. In the same apartment complex, as a matter of fact. And yes, we asked permission to be neighbors.
Another culling of personal belongings is my task this week as we’ll only take the essentials to the apartment. After all, how many dishes, towels and wine glasses does one really need?
So I’ll be posting some thoughts and discoveries as we move through this transition. Other changes are in the wind as well, so this there’s no telling what these posts might cover. No set schedule because—remember—I’m MOVING.