I am sitting here, amidst a row of half-packed boxes, taking a mini break I may not have the time for. I’ve pulled an espresso shot to energize me through another bout of frenzied packing. We have just returned from a short weekend getaway with a group of friends who we call our closest. As my body transitions from the slow weekend to the last home stretch, pun intended, I take a few moments to jot down my thoughts.
This morning, I lifted my head from taping cardboard to see steam floating across our kitchen window. The dryer was running on this gloomy, overcast morning. I thought to myself, “If I wasn’t packing boxes right now, I would be reclining on the sofa reading a book with a mug of coffee in hand.” I would be readying myself for my weekly chat with my sister – a chat that I have postponed until the following week in order to buy me more time. I might even be baking a handful of scones for my dental assistants to bring to work tomorrow. And with this stream of thought came memories that floated across my mind, like the steam outside the window.
I never really realized the slow-living that I had imagined for myself here. Instead, I experienced constant growth as I lived a period of my life filled with many changes. No matter how much I tried to slow my mind, pause, and be still, I couldn’t resist the fast-paced world. Perhaps that just comes with the territory of downtown living. Perhaps being in the midst of it all, surrounded by city noise, by action outside the bedroom window, I was constantly pulled forward against my own volition. Yet I am grateful for all this house gave me.
Living in this loft, we found a best-friend in our three-year-long roommate. This space housed my dream of a bakery. I taught my roommate how to bake bread, and gave my husband the basics to surpass me in pasta-making. It was here that I lived out my dog-sitting life. And lastly, this was where we brought home our toothless cat. I can still remember those October Santa Ana winds, and how I stayed up all night thinking about that stray orange tabby, shivering in the cold.
I am going to miss this place. But we are trading downtown living for a different sort of life. We are moving to a smaller townhome and have decided to be without a roommate, moving forward. We have gained the cooking skills needed to give up the fancy restaurants across the street. We can make mean-enough espressos to say goodbye to the third-wave coffee shops. We have outgrown the love for late-night street walks and weekend music events in the parking lot outside our door.
Mike considers where we are moving to “out in the boonies”. Really, though, it’s down the street from my parents’ home, my current work place, and where I grew up. It is a ranch community based on stewardship for the land and native species. Coyotes walk freely on the many walking trails, hawks and larger birds soar during the daytime and bats fly around at night. The area has three farms on which I plan to volunteer at. There is plenty of nature and open space, and the townhome is set in the backdrop of mountains. Nearby, friends I went to high-school with have settled down with their loved ones. I can’t wait to set in some new roots and build a different kind of community here.
In lieu of November goals, I just wanted to share my thoughts and write a reminder:
Perhaps here is where you are meant to be; sitting back on your heels, staring out the window.
Sometimes, life doesn’t unfold in the ways you’d expect. Nor shall you control it.
The memories will shape you, whether you know it or not.
As we move into the holidays, may you ever be present in the moment.
My November goals are to enjoy the journey, take it one step at a time, and let go with gratitude.