Posted in adventure, family, Goals, home, Life, living, Musings, People, random

Liminal Space

As I write this, I am sitting in a living room in a small pool of light given off by the white clamp-lamp attached to the shelf just above my monitor. I love this dumb little lamp and had to rip open a garbage bag to get to it, where it was wrapped in a tangled set of sheets printed with bears and owls. I bought them- the sheets, not the lamp- maybe a year or two ago, when they were still something Camryn would have liked. A lot can change in a year or two, can’t it? More than I ever imagined, that’s for sure.

My keystrokes are echoing in the room of my new house- the place is a lot bigger than it looked in the pictures and videos I saw online- and it is still mostly empty, aside from the bags and boxes shoved up against the walls. Most of them have been rifled through at this point, so it looks like a band of drunk raccoons tried to pack for me. I have no furniture. When I moved to Maine I got rid of my couch, my bookshelves, even my TV stand. I even got rid of my large TV- gave it to the neighbor across the street, who was thrilled. That’s where my TV stand wound up, too. I really didn’t miss any of my stuff while I was gone, but right now I do sort of wish I had a couch. It’s weird in here with no place to sit.

I mean…it’s weird in general, though. I am, once again, in that strange liminal space between arriving somewhere and actually being there. I know that sounds odd, and it’s an odd feeling, but I’ll try to explain. There is an uncomfortable time that stretches out and feels endless when you move into a new place, and though you may be surrounded by your stuff (or not, as was the case for me in Maine), it does not feel like home. It happens when you move from one house to another in the same town, too, but not as intensely. When I moved to Maine, I didn’t expect it, so it walloped me pretty hard. This time, I know what this feeling is so it’s less unsettling, although no less uncomfortable. I keep feeling as if the presence of a couch would really help even though I know that is just my desire to fix it, to feel better, more than anything.

So, where did I end up? Well, in Chico, California, of all places. And no, in case you are wondering, I had never been here before in my life before deciding to move here. I was trying to be closer to my older daughter who lives near Redding, and so I sort of worked outward from there. As it turns out, Chico is about two hours away from her- seems like nothing when you are living over three thousand miles away, but in reality it’s a good drive. I know because I drove it on Saturday when I went and picked her up. Four hours round trip, two days after ending a nine day road trip. I could honestly leave my car parked at the curb for the next six months and be fine with it. Except…I’ll probably need it to go buy my future furniture.

As luck would have it, Chico is beautiful. Not, you know, Maine beautiful of course. Maine was peaceful, serene, quiet, full of wildlife and rugged beaches, stately, empty, summer homes lining the streets. Chico is…vibrant. If you aren’t familiar with California, Chico is way up North and home to a California University that is infamously party-centric. There is a flourishing downtown area with tons of restaurants and shops, ringed with wide, tree-lined streets and darling bungalow houses from the thirties and forties. I happen to be sitting in one of those houses right this very moment. It has wood floors and built in cabinets, a huge backyard and the coolest little thing in the front door that opens so you can look out to see who is knocking. Like a peep-hole but big, you know? With it’s own little ornate, iron screen. The neighborhood is incredibly picturesque and walkable this time of year, with hundreds of citrus trees and front yard gardens in full bloom, the trees a leafy green canopy overhead.

It is also…fricking loud. The street I landed on is BUSY, and traffic flies by, day and night. Two doors down from me, there seems to be a frat house of some sort. Yesterday, I kept hearing cars honking. When I finally left to go grab food, I saw that the kids down there had set up a card table with red solo cups and hung a sign that said “honk and we’ll drink”. By the time I went to bed last night, I was honestly concerned for their health. I wondered if I should walk over there with a jug of water and insist that they go lay down. I wondered if I should call their mothers…or offer to BE their mothers. I fell asleep realizing how old I have gotten, but not before turning up the TV so I could hear it over the traffic going by. I don’t understand why very young people prefer very loud cars.

So, I am here, but I have not found my rhythm yet. I know it will take as long as it takes- hell, I had just started to hit my stride in Maine before I left and it took months. I know there is nothing to do but wait it out. And more than that, even, I find myself in the strange position of being on the other side of a gigantic realized dream- for so long, all I wanted to do was move to the East Coast and I did it! Was it exactly like I wanted it to be? No, but when is anything ever exactly as we picture it? The point is, I did it, and now it is behind me and…I don’t know what my next dream is. I don’t know what to aim for. I suppose that will come to me soon enough, though.

For now…liminal space it is. Which is a space that cannot be filled with a couch and bookshelves. Although I still think it would help.

Posted in adventure, faith, family, Goals, happiness, kids, Life, Musings, People, random

Moving Day…Again

I had to go back through my last couple of posts just to see where I had left off, and to my surprise, I hadn’t mentioned anything at all about the fact that I might be moving soon. To be fair, it’s entirely possible that on February 21st, I still didn’t know what the hell I was doing; that’s kind of how this entire experience has been for me- no clue what I’m doing now, what I’m doing next, or even what I wanted to do. A lot like how I am normally, I guess, but even more so. So. Many. Feelings. To be honest with you, that might be the reason I avoided writing anything here- I’m soooo sick of all my annoying feelings. But whatever- this is who I am, I suppose.

Just a quick recap: Hoped and dreamed I could someday move to the East Coast for several years. Took several trips out here. Got the chance to come. Took the chance. Drove over three thousand miles at the end of last October, in the midst of a pandemic, all in the name of a dream. Got here. Wrestled with homesickness and isolation for, eh…probably at least two and a half months. Started to adjust and feel a little better about things. Then…BAM! Everything changed again.

I got a phone call from my daughter at an obscene hour, and answered it, sure someone must be dead. In fact, the opposite was true- my daughter was pregnant. I don’t remember what I said, but in the morning I sent her a message and told her to take another one, just to be sure. In response, she sent me pictures of the three positive tests she’d taken. Wow. So…now what?

As do most things, it took me a little while to come to the best solution for me. Even though I was finally feeling more settled here, I knew that I needed to be close to Aisley through this experience. I wanted to be there to see her belly grow, I wanted to know my grandson (yep, it’s a boy!) before he came into this world. And I wanted to be there for her, too. To make sure she had what she needed from me. Once I had come to the correct conclusion, the one that felt best to me, I started looking for a house.

And there I entered another several weeks of just…I can’t even find the right words to explain to you the way looking for a house from the other side of the United States is. For the first time in my life, I have good credit, good references, good employment and rental history, and I know I am a great tenant. However, the housing market in California is just out of control right now and it took a really, really long time to find something. I was at the point of applying for places in towns I had zero desire to live in, just to have somewhere to go. Eventually, I did find a house I loved in a town I think is super cute, and somehow it all worked out (as things always seem to for me), but it sucked for a minute.

Now, it is moving day. The trailer is parked downstairs, just waiting to be filled with the few belongings I brought with me. I have lots left to do, and one hell of a drive in front of me. I keep feeling myself shift into super-stress mode, and I have to remind myself that I don’t need to do that this time. I hired someone to come clean after I leave. I don’t have much to pack up. I don’t need to rush across the country like I did last time- I gave myself a little time and I can’t move into my new place until the first anyway. I’m in good shape. I don’t need to freak out.

I can’t believe I’m leaving. It took me almost the entire length of my stay here to find my rhythm, and until I have that, I don’t feel right. Now I do, and here I go. It was a really good one, too- early morning walks on the beach every single day with Lucy. They’ve been getting longer and longer as the weather warms up here. Watching the sunrise and picking up sea glass, then cutting through the neighborhood the long way so that I can take it all in. Coming home and working until lunch, then taking Cam with me back to the beach again. Then our long evening walks down the other beach, headed the opposite direction. There’s been a lot of beach walking, honestly. It’s funny because I lived by the beach in Monterey most of my life and I never went there as much as I have since I’ve been here. I guess when it’s literally across the street, it’s kind of hard not to go.

There’s still a lot to tell about the inner work that went on while I was here, but this isn’t the time and I still haven’t sorted it out. All I can say is, spending months mostly alone in a place where nearly no one knows you, you have no choice but to get really introspective. If you are lucky, you might also figure out how to be real honest with yourself and if you are brave, you might be willing to face yourself and see yourself and love yourself even as you try to heal and improve. It’s messy work. I certainly had no intention of getting into it, but the universe had other plans.

The universe always does. LOL. But I have faith, and I trust that I am being guided as necessary. Everything is going to be okay, no matter what.

And with that, I guess I better get my ass in gear. Catch up with you soon!

Posted in adventure, happiness, Learning, Life, mindfulness, Musings, People

Wherever you go, there you are.

It is 5:30 in the morning, and pitch black outside. Giant gusts of wind roll in off the Atlantic, just across the street, and howl fitfully against the windows and walls of this hundred year old building, shaking the floors. Inside, with the heater blasting, my cat asleep in front of it, and my desk light casting a warm pool of light around the corner I’m tucked into, I must admit, I kind of like it.

All this weather, the drama of it all.

Last night as we drove the million miles to the store (It’s really about a ten minute drive, I just got spoiled at my last house) it started snowing. At first, it was just tiny, spotty things that melted as soon as they hit the ground. But by the time I pulled into the parking lot, they were massive, feathery flakes, falling in a flurry. I was so nervous about driving home in the snow that I rushed through my shopping like a woman possessed…only to find that the snow had completely disappeared, without a trace, by the time I left the store.

On the way home, I saw a fox trotting down the side of the wooded road that leads to my house.

Bit by bit, I am adjusting. There are things I like very much about it here, and things I miss about California, of course. There are things I love about this weird little place I am staying in, and things I am utterly frustrated by; But…I hardly ever feel as if I am supposed to be going back to my house in Seaside anymore. The terrible longing to go home is fading away. Thankfully.

Of course, I have my work, which is the biggest, best anchor of all- I think if I’d had to start all over in that regard, I’d really be in trouble. The familiarity of that has been a saving grace, for sure. And Cam is in school again, so…it’s like normal life has resumed, only thousands of miles away.

And that is kind of the crux of it, really…the part I didn’t allow myself to acknowledge, probably because I didn’t want to believe it- my life will be MY life no matter where I go. What is that stupid saying? Wherever you go, there you are? Well, isn’t that the truth. You see, the Courtney that visited here all those times before was vacation Courtney. But every day, average Courtney is the one living here, and they are two very different people. I would hate to think that I moved three thousand miles from home to get away from myself, only to find that I had the nerve to come with me. And yet…well, here I am.

All my shortcomings risen to the surface, emphasized marvelously by my disorientation. My anxiety, my low threshold for frustration, my disdain for change. My God, what was I thinking?! It’s been probably a decade since Border’s closed its doors forever and I’m still not even over that, for Pete’s sake! Why I ever thought I could just skip across the world and slide effortlessly into a totally different routine is beyond me. It really is.

Yet here I am. A month and a half in, and it’s finally sinking in that I’m here. I’m in Maine. I only have to use my GPS some of the time now- I’d say it’s about 80/20 these days. I can leave my house after dark and feel relatively confident that I won’t end up in a swamp or lost in New Hampshire when I only wanted to grab some milk. I even went to the dentist last week- I mean, I had no choice, my crown fell off, but still, I did it!

In reality, although the view has changed, my life itself hasn’t changed much at all. I don’t know how I feel about that. Again, I am still me, just somewhere new. And maybe I had hoped that I would be nicer or better or different, somehow. What I’ve learned there is that if you want to be different, you have to work on yourself, not your surroundings. And if I’d realized that was at the bottom of it all, perhaps I would have realized that, but I was keeping that secret from myself.

I still don’t know what I’m doing. How long I’ll be here or what happens next. I do know this, though- I’ve landed in a beautiful place. Sunrises and sunsets like no others I’ve ever seen. Howling storms and waves that wash right over the sea wall and onto the road. Streets lined with hundred year old mansions, decked out with Christmas lights as the snow gently falls. Little bridges everywhere over rivers that flow backwards when the tide rushes in. Every time I drive somewhere, I tell Camryn “This sure is a magical place!”, and she agrees that it is.

If I was going to follow myself anywhere, I’m glad that it was here. The rest…well, I’m working on it.

Posted in adventure, faith, Goals, Life, manifestation, Musings, People, random

Rollercoaster

My life is an awful lot like a trip to an amusement park right now. And no, I don’t mean crowded, expensive, chaotic and filled with terrible, overpriced food.

Well, actually…never mind. That is also accurate. But the angle I was going for was more the rollercoaster thing. You wait in line for eons, inching forward a few steps at a time. Bored, but trying to make the best of it. You get closer and closer, but you aren’t sure how close you are to your turn because the way the line is set up, you can only see so far ahead. Next thing you know, you’re being waved through, rushed into your seat, the bar slams down across your chest, and…suddenly you aren’t so sure you want to do this anymore. But before you can say a word, off you go, shooting forward, then up, up, up! Way too fast, and way scarier than you expected, but there’s nothing you can do except hold on and hope for the best.

Yep, that’s how my life has felt the past two weeks. Except it’s a daily event and I am on this ride alone, and no one is manning the controls. The me that hoped and planned and prayed so desperately for all of the things I was handed seems to have wandered off into the ether somewhere, leaving in her place the version of me who keeps asking questions like “What the fuck?” and “Why are you doing this to me?” (and yes, that is me asking myself, in the most accusatory voice possible, why I am doing this to me. I’m not making this up, this actually took place inside my head.)

It’s like I lost the thread. The one that connected me to my reason for wanting this, and wanting this badly. Suddenly it seems like this is too much, it’s too far, and there are too many unknowns. I am worried about being lonely, getting sick, dying alone, and not knowing how to get to the grocery store in the snow. In my current mindset, these things all seem equally likely and equally horrible.

Lucky for me, I know that this is nothing more than my fear taking control of the wheel. Although I didn’t anticipate it, I should have. After all, my anxiety loves nothing more than taking an adventure and trying to turn it into a horror show.

To be fair, this is more of an undertaking than I had expected. The logistics alone of moving two cats, a dog, and two people 2700 miles away are…kind of nightmarish. If I had unlimited time and money, it would be a totally different story, but I don’t. I have a cap on both, and a lot of stuff to deal with in a short time frame even before we start the actual move. I could also really use a truck right about now. Of my own, so I don’t have to ask for help constantly. Right now, I have 21 days to button things up here. I also have a LOT of anguish.

You know what else I have? Faith that it’s all going to work out. And that’s the truth. I’m not just blowing happy smoke up your backside. At the center of it all, I still believe that this will be an incredible thing, an adventure that enriches our lives. I believe it is absolutely meant to be. Something wonderful will come of this, mark my words. I don’t know what it is, but I know what I feel.

I can know that, and still be afraid. Still have moments of doubt and hesitation, still cry my eyes out for the safe little life I am leaving behind. I have room for all of those things.

I just cannot allow them to hold me back or keep me stuck. They can be here, but they can’t get in my way.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go clean out the cupboards. I only have 21 days left!