I have been itching to blog for weeks, but have allowed a few things to get in the way: the heat in my office, the pain that sitting at my desk causes my poor back, the guilt about blogging instead of doing something productive and the overwhelming nature of the feelings and thoughts bouncing around inside of me. No more excuses: it's cooled off; I've just come, freshly adjusted, from the chiropractor; I've been quite productive and am waiting for others to do their part; and my head will likely explode if I don't vent a bit. Where to begin?
I suppose the best place to begin is with all the new beginnings. For a decent part of the last few weeks I've been chasing my tail, searching for the title to my old car before discovering I never had it because the lender didn't notify us, or the DMV, once the loan was paid. Since the lender was Capital One (yes, that esteemed financial institution), I gave up talking to a human being, without being disconnected, after half a dozen calls and turned to my insurance adjuster for help. She made some magic happen and within half an hour I was assured the necessary paperwork was being sent out pronto, so that I could finally be reimbursed for my car. (I have yet to receive it, but don't get me started.) The point of all of this is that the frantic search for the title forced me to go through practically every piece of paper in my possession, which took me down a very well-documented and organized memory lane. I have a hard time admitting it, but a few times I ended up sitting on the floor of my office, crying and wailing, "I want my old life back."
That's not true, of course. My old life wasn't working, but there were so many fresh starts, so many optimistic new beginnings that didn't turn out as we'd hoped. I think one of the ways John and I dealt with unhappiness was with change, and that change usually came about with a move. Not long after we got married in Chicago we moved into a new condo. To get out of a rut, we took a six-month sabbatical in Central America. When life back in the states got old, we moved to Portland. After Grace was born we moved to a townhouse by the Columbia, and when that neighborhood turned into a nightmare we moved to the new house in Concordia. Even after we split up, the changes kept coming, and we remain in limbo almost a year later. I got a roommate who didn't work out. Michael entered the picture. John and I sold the house and Michael, Grace and I moved into a cute rental and set about making it a home, but the sale fell through, leaving us paying two rents and a mortgage. Finally, Grace and I moved back into the old (new) house for a number of reasons, and here we are, still trying to resolve the legal issues with our dumbass neighbor and wondering where we'll end up next. Honestly? I have no idea, and I've almost stopped trying to figure it out.
In each city and in each house, there were happy times, times when I felt that we'd made good decisions and our lives were on the right path. Life has been more of a rollercoaster since Grace was born; the highs that mark certain milestones are etched in my memory. The stakes had been raised, though, so the lows seemed that much scarier; I tend to put away those memories unless I'm forced to confront them. So all this "I want my old life back" nonsense had to do with the easily recalled happy times when I felt safe and secure, and I knew Grace felt the same way.
I'd like to be settled, for Grace's sake and my own. I want a normal family life that doesn't involve regular contact with lawyers and insurance adjusters and people who ask if I've applied for a job at WalMart. I don't want fleeting moments of happiness; I want genuine contentment. I don't need to be rich or take lavish vacations or live life free of worries, but I'd like to be financially comfortable, and travel from time to time, and know that the difficult times will pass without the specter of financial ruin.
What's up with the fridge? Funny you should ask. I took this picture the other day because I hadn't been grocery shopping since I moved (again), and I had forgotten how disruptive a move can be in little ways. Afterwards, I remembered this post, which was right after John and I made our final new beginning together in this house. I was excited then, certain that we'd finally found the right formula for true happiness. Same fridge, shiny and new, and I was clearly pleased with myself. What the old picture doesn't show is that the fridge was empty.