Starting Over – The Bad, The Ugly and Just a Little Good
I never thought I had it in me to start over – to pick up my life and move somewhere else. It sounds like a divorce and it is – I was divorcing my life as I knew it. After uprooting my life 2 months ago, I frequently ask myself, what the hell did I do?! Sometimes I wake up hoping that this was just one of those weird dreams that leave you feeling as if you experienced it but on some cognitive level you know you will eventually wake up. When I first arrived in North Carolina I prayed that I wouldn’t shed a tear in front of my son for the things that I missed the most – my friends and family. I was craving the interaction I had, even with the unfriendly postman who who complained of hyper-extending his elbow because my mailbox was 2 inches too far from the curb and wouldn’t deliver my mail. While I was fully supportive of my husband’s growth professionally and for this move, I now ache for all that I knew and loved about my life – even the job that that I so willingly left. I sit in this ridiculously large house and say to myself “was it worth it?”
I don’t know.
My husband was fortunate enough to land a job that offered us a better life, a bigger house and the opportunity for me not to work, at least not right away. The last time I didn’t work was when I gave birth to my son, almost 11 years ago and took 6 months off. I was begging to go back as I felt I needed to be with adults ( I know, just admitting that out loud makes me a terrible parent and am now putting money aside for future therapy sessions for my son). Now, I am terrified I am too old to get another job, as I am a now a ‘seasoned member’ of the work force. I am not sure when that happened as I still feel like I am almost 30. Now that school has started for my 5th grader, the fear of how I will occupy my days is a scary prospect.
I know it was inevitable that I would feel the deep void of leaving my childhood home town after the move was complete. I loved the idea and excitement of moving to a new house, a new place to explore and start over. How many times have you ever asked yourself if I could just have a do-over? Here was my chance. Even though I took a hiatus of not living in Huntington for 12 years (while living out my crazy 20s in Manhattan), I always considered Huntington my home. It never occurred to me at 33 that I would move back to Huntington, but I did and was lucky enough to have my parents less than 3 miles from my house. My husband was terrified of having them so close, that there would be those unannounced ‘drop-ins’, which of course never happened, but now I know it was a blessing. I know people who move thousands of miles to get away from family and think that it is not important. It isn’t important until it is. Hopefully, we will have frequent visits back to New York that will fill that cavernous void that is leaving me so sad, and now I yearn for those unannounced visits.
My son, who cried the hardest, screamed the loudest and carried on the most about moving, has done remarkably well, all things considered. He too has his moments where things seem as if the world has just ended, but his beautiful brown eyes tell me that he is doing much better than I would have hoped and certainly much better than me. We are now in the beginning stages of searching for a puppy – a promise made when we announced to him our decision to cross state lines. (I think my husband was placating me as well!).
All is not as bleak as it sounds, as I am finding my way around the neighborhood – even without the assistance of a GPS which I consider a great achievement as I was never a good map reader. At night, our family takes a walk when the heat isn’t too unbearable and all the neighbors’ wave to one another, something I didn’t experience back in Huntington. Although when we did walk in our old neighborhood and chat with those neighbors we knew, it took us 13 years to establish those relationships, something my husband is quick to point out when I am feeling down in the dumps. My new neighborhood is quite beautiful and the homes have lovely landscapes and each one nicer than the next.
My first week here was a challenge, moving in the worst heat wave this area has seen in several years. I believe that this kept all the warm and welcoming neighbors inside and avoided my front door. We had preconceived ideas about how welcoming the South is and I guess I was expecting the doorbell to ring with neighbors bearing baked goods. Since our first week here, we have had the opportunity to meet a few really nice neighbors, however I am still waiting for my Peach Cobbler!
We immediately joined a pool the second we arrived in North Carolina which has led me to a few really nice women with whom I have had the pleasure of meeting, and quite coincidentally, a few neighbors. I realized that once you start to talk to someone, it really does become easier and people do want to help. There should be classes for adults on how to talk to strangers because we’ve all forgotten how and now we teach our children not to. It is hard though, trying to reach out to strangers and expect instantaneous friendships. I hope that I do make those connections that I had in my former life and at the same time worry I will become insignificant in all of my ‘old’ friends lives (for those of you reading this, I am not referring to our calendar ages and know my worry is overly dramatic). My hometown friends know that they will be in my heart as they have always been and know that state lines will not affect our friendship.
I realize this might sound like I am whining when I know I have it pretty good, I hadn’t realized this until I took my son ‘home’ for a week in August. I drove around Huntington as if I never left, yet by the end of the week, I was ready to return and really start my life again, I was just too busy focusing on what I gave up rather than what I gained. I do have to pinch myself and be reminded how fortunate I really am. We really are OK and are getting there.
For those of you reading, enjoy and thank you.