Monday, March 17, 2008

My god, what have I done

Okay, I'm in the do-over phase. Do over! Don't move, stay; stay in the condo; keep Lily at PS 261; keep all our old friends and routines. Don't cause Lily so much stress by uprooting her from everything she knew.

"Dancing Queen" by Abba came on my iPod the other day and I got all teary, flashing on this PS 261 kindergartner, must have been the fall of 2005, at a school function that happened to feature a karaoke machine, and this little kid was a HUGE Abba fan. She was belting that song out like she was a contender on American Idol and I was really sorry I didn't have a camera to put her photo in the school newsletter and caption, "Remember the name! you heard her here first!"

So that sent me into a spiral of feelings about the school and memories and -- you know what it is? I wonder if they think of me. When you leave a place, you don't ever know if they remember you or miss you or wonder how you are. I know my friends, the folks when to visit and call and read this blog do. But most people I've known I won't see again, ever. I do think about the various people I knew in Brooklyn, though, I do get an overall strong sense of dropping off Lily, chatting with Zip, the principal; gossiping about something to a teacher or a parent; having coffee at the Boerum Hill Food Company for a half hour before starting my day. I think the thing I miss the most is the community of PS 261.

My memories of Brooklyn are full of snips--flashes of emotions, really--like that karaoke evening. But even if I were still living there my life wouldn't be the same. I would have found work some place, eventually, and maybe Dave would have, too. We still wouldn't have done the kitchen and we'd still be bitching about the arena and the latest thing that happened on our shift at the food coop, and wondering if we had the guts to just cut bait and move out.

I don't really want to move back to Brooklyn, and I don't really regret moving here. But I have had a tendency to fall head over heels and then after a few months wake up and say, who are you and how did you get into my bed? I learned to wait that particular pattern out, thank goodness, or there might not be a Lily, right?

We've been here 16 months, and on April 2 I'll have a year at my job, and this is our life and this is what we do. This is how we live now. You know the old thing, wherever you go, there you are. I take me with me. I know that this too shall pass, that everything changes, as the Buddhists say. There's something about the exhilaration of new love/relocation/change in general that, once you've dived in, is incredibly energizing. And once you land, well, gee, here I am, and the thrill-- and all those decisions and trying to stay in the moment and breathe because I'm so scared it's not going to come together--is gone. Now it's all come together and I am still here and life is much more mundane, and hey, guess what, I'm still here! I am still faced with myself.

People tell me how brave we were to make this move, but I think the real work is now, hanging in there. Hard to stay in the present NOW, maybe that's why I haven't been meditating like I was a few weeks ago, it's painful to stay in the present. And maybe that's why I am in more discomfort, because the feelings are still there whether I acknowledge them or not. My friend Karen said it would be two years to really land here, and I think she's right. At least, I'm hanging on to that two-year thing. Please, let it be no more than two years!

It doesn't help that we still have snow all over most of our property and what isn't snow is pretty much mud. We do have an extra hour of light but it feels odd, out of sync, it's not time yet. I feel tired a lot, and clunky and bulky--except when I am on the elliptical at the Y, then I feel like an animal. I need to do that more often, I can see! I also need to stretch more--does anyone else feel themselves getting old, or is it just me? Does moving make you old?

I am on vacation this week, Lily's third and final week of her spring break, and we went for a bit of a walk up Coles Meadow today to get outside, into NAY-chuh, and stretch our legs. It was a lovely day, high 40s, and there are great woods along this winding country road. Not much traffic. Lily rode her bike and I lobbied Dave for us to get a dog. Then we went to lunch at Miss Florence, the great old diner in Florence with the curved wooden ceiling panels, and then to a bookstore across the street where I found a slang dictionary, which I've been wanting. It'll help with hedlines. Lily got some books, too, and I picked up a couple as gifts for the people we will visit this week.

Did I mention we are off to the Cape on Wednesday? By way of Boston. We're going to go to the science museum first and then head down to Woods Hole see my old friend Clara from high school, who a couple of years ago moved back to her childhood hometown. I hung out a few times there with her when we were teenagers and I have very fond memories of those visits. We'll go visit our old neighbor, Jos, for lunch on Thursday, and introduce her to Lily--as an older person. She hasn't seen Lily since she was about 18 months old.

On Friday we're taking the ferry to Martha's Vineyard to have brunch with my friend Molly from Brooklyn, and her year-old son, at the Black Dog. Another place I used to frequent when I was a teenager. These are the kinds of trips I imagined doing when we moved here. I thought, we'll be a lot closer to my New England friends. But you know, I don't have that many New England friends any more, and just getting out of our house seems to be a chore. I always was a boring homebody, a nester who just liked bumming around reading or cleaning the bathroom or whatever. I hope we get up to visit friends in Montpelier and Portland some time soon, but who knows.

I think the fear is, oh, I will be alone the rest of my life. I think that's the basic fear at the bottom of most everything for me. That and death, maybe. Karen says humans are the number two pack mammals; as a species we physiologically need other people. My fear is I will be alone, and all those people I saw every day in Brooklyn don't ever think of me and don't remember my name.So why should that really matter when I am making new friends here, and very full life? Yet it does, doesn't it? I think that's one reason why I urge you all to come visit, too.

My friend Anne has been encouraging me not to cram so many people into my life, as I've done my whole life, that Dave and Lily are enough. And they are my favorite people in all the world, and when I can be present they are enough. Tonight we watched about two hours of Dick Van Dyke reruns, it was great. I laugh out loud, a lot. I am afraid to be alone. Yet, I also like it, if I can actually sit with myself long enough to be present in it.

At any rate, sorry for the one-sided therapy blog here. Just working through some stuff. This too shall pass. Don't forget to write! And visit . . .

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