I had hoped to write about finding peace this week. In so many ways my life has become much more peaceful, especially over the last year. Many stressors from the last decade have lessened and I am enjoying the benefit of having older children who actually sleep. Unfortunately, however, I’m not comfortable saying that I’m content and at peace with my life. I’m actually aching for change.
There is a country song I simply love called “Dust” by Eli Young Band. The song is on my running playlist, I blast it when it’s on in the car, and I sing along at the top of my lungs whenever it’s socially appropriate.
Now, to be clear, if this was me in that picture I’d have my husband next to me and my three kids in my rear view but that’s not the point. Some days I just wish we could pack up our lives and get the hell out of here. When I was twenty-three, my husband (then boyfriend) and I did just that. We packed up what little we had—second hand furniture, extra kitchen supplies my mother didn’t need, our clothes, and a tiny TV—and we left the state where both of us had grown up to move to the Washington, DC area for graduate school. We knew NO ONE. It was just us, a tiny bank account, and some credit cards. That move changed our lives. We became different people, better people. We got a chance to start over and become true adults away from the friends we’d had since elementary school and the families who had raised us. We once joked that we could change our names and no one would be the wiser in our new lives. It was, quite literally, the best three years of our lives. I sobbed the ENTIRE DRIVE HOME begging my husband (over my cell phone) to turn that massive U-Haul he was driving around so we could go beg the landlord for our keys back.
But…we needed to come home. It was time to begin our family and we both knew (even though it took me some time to actually admit it) I needed my family around me for that next step in our lives. So here I am, thirteen years and three children later and this song is on replay in my head.
I’m certainly not sick of the boy, especially when he’s not tired and cranky himself. I’m sick of my town, however. Not only have I lived in this town for 30 years (with the exception of the very beginning of my life and the time in DC), I’ve lived in my actual house for those 30 years having bought it from my parents when they moved into their “dream home”. I often defend my hometown to naysayers, pointing out its benefits. I always feel as if I’m lying, however. I’m not sure if that matters much except I’m not happy that I’m lying to myself. I don’t want to be here. I want to be someone new, exciting, and DIFFERENT. I want a chance to be new, exciting, and different. Can I be “new” at almost forty?? Then I think about my dreams. Did my dreams come true? What WERE they? I can barely remember…I think of how life altering our move was so many years ago. Do we dare try that again?
As these thoughts and questions roll around in my head, however, they are inevitably pushed aside by thoughts of my kids and our lives here. How can I move them from the comfort of their home, school, and community? How do I leave my parents and my sister? Will we able to find new jobs? Can we afford to sell our house and buy another? I think many parents work so hard to make decisions that are in the best interest of their children that they forget to do anything for themselves. As I think about packing up and moving I wonder where we should go. Do we go south to better weather and a better standard of living? The sensible parent in me knows that’s a wise choice. How about somewhere exciting, however, like Manhattan, San Diego…London? Could I really transplant my family to such a different environment? Can I risk failing when so many people are depending on me? I think I may have missed my chance to do something so risky and fantastic. And this makes me feel…old.
I don’t know the answers to those questions but I do know that as my bright, beautiful summer winds to a close I’ve been down. I’m disappointed in many things and I’m restless. I’m dreading another cold, dark CT winter. My career seems to have stagnated and my home needs more work than I have the energy to do. Change is scary…but I am brave. Am I brave enough to make a huge change? Is there an amazing life out there for me and my family that we are missing out on simply because we can’t leave the life we’ve always ever known?
I have no answers. I just have my thoughts…and this song…replaying over and over.