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Saturday, July 22, 2006: Personal: Starting Again

        I’ve missed blogging, but there’s been a whirlwind of activity this spring and summer. When I first realized I would be selling my home and moving into Randy’s already furnished home—panic hit. Where would I ever put the things that had been given by family and dear friends, that I’d struggled to accumulate while building a life after the divorce? Where would I put the family treasures I was determined to keep and pass on to my children?

        When I first told my mother that Randy was a minimalist and his house was smaller than mine, she suggested I warn him: the pack-rat syndrome was a strong genetic trait, running throughout our family. I laughed, knowing there was some truth in what she said. Each year I’d sent at least half a dozen bags to Goodwill, to keep the closets and drawers from overflowing. When the boys moved out, I’d gone through their rooms twice, removing layers of what they had accumulated, getting the outward appearance of the boys’ rooms under control so I no longer needed to close doors when company arrived.

        Still, sixteen years in one house with four pack rats (mom included) created the need for serious downsizing if I was to move the remainder of ‘my home’ into Randy’s house. Ours was not a house where one was forced to weave between piles of clutter to navigate a room, but there were bookshelves or desks or storage units against every wall.

        Randy would break out in a cold sweat every time he came to visit, unable to imagine how anyone could pack so much into so many places, unsure how we could ever squeeze my things into the few empty spaces of his house. I could acknowledge the pack-rat tendency enough that his light-hearted suggestion to me ("just pitch it all") could be answered with a facetious grin.

        I loved Randy and wanted to spend my life with him. I positively dreaded the thought of moving, of giving away so much, of packing the remainder in boxes (I still had boxes in the basement closet that remained unpacked from the divorce sixteen years ago).

         Randy and I would talk about how I’d written the article ‘The Leap of Faith’ just before meeting him. We talked about starting a new lifestyle for both of us. We discussed the logic in moving to his house (seven minutes from work and in a quiet neighborhood), rather than moving him into my house and forcing both of us into a long commute every day. The beautiful meadow that had so long delighted me was now gone—leveled by developers, the peaceful backyard view of wild flowers rapidly being replaced by new homes. Randy lived in a quiet, wooded neighborhood where we could feel secluded and yet be close to stores and activities. Sell my house; move my belongings, change my name on a myriad of legal forms—how I dreaded facing these ordeals, logic or not, leap of faith or not.

        I’ve had a year to work on the moving problem. Bags of throwaways went to the curbside for months on end. Carloads of bags were hauled to an assortment of charities. Randy began calling my house an archeological dig, because I would remove layers and he could see no noticeable thinning of the clutter when he came to visit. Five hundred books (over multiple culling sessions) were taken to the local library for their used book sales. Five hundred books—you’d think that would leave bare spots on my book shelves. Only people used to my bookshelves could notice the difference (there no longer were books piled in front and on top of the stacks; there were occasion spots where books were not packed solid).

        After the wedding we began spending weekends at my house, packing, moving, painting. Of course, some furniture had to be left while we were selling the house, but it seemed a Mission Impossible to actually get the house on the market before summer’s end.

        Serious downsizing raised deep feelings I hadn’t expected. Despite best intentions, I resisted letting go of items I saw as useful. Sure, I hadn’t used them in years and years, but one never knew when the need might arise. (In defense of this tendency---we later needed items that had been pitched in the frenzy of downsizing.) It’s a terrible thing to be a packrat in the process of moving.

        Yet, I’ve reached a turning point. It used to be painful to think of leaving the neighborhood, the flower gardens I’d put so much effort into building, the house itself. Could a short drive through city traffic replace the rolling farm hills when the early morning sun turned ground fog to soft pastel? Could I give up being surrounded by personal history that made up my sense of self?

        The need to run back and forth between houses is slowing. The house is on the market. I no longer see it as home, but simply property to be kept up until it is sold. My energies can be directed to unpacking and reorganizing Randy’s home (my new home). I can start preparing for our next major trip (a symposium in Iceland).

          Suddenly I can find time to think again of blogging. I am not sure it comes because time is freed up; I rather think my emotions are being freed up. Blog articles started early in the spring stalled after a few paragraphs. Why the difference now?

          We are still busy. Projects still remain piled high. I have been busy writing thank you’s and emails all along. I have completed numerous creative projects (though none required exploring deep personal thoughts). It seems strange how—when I sit down now at the computer—my thoughts run more freely. It makes me wonder about creative expression, what drives people to put their thoughts down on paper, and what creates the writer’s block. Even that thought is a turning point, from the past few months.

         I have no answers to the questions of creative thought. I still have pressing priorities that fill up my day. Yet I am delighted to rediscover the process of searching and exploring inner motives. No matter how slowly I re-engage, I have to admit I’ve missed blogging. Adding another entry to my journal feels wonderful, even if it has little to do with my usual subject matter.

Posted on Saturday, July 22, 2006 at 07:15AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference

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