I knew it would take some time to adjust to my life in Washington State after four and a half months in Arizona. But I expected to be finished with that by now. And I'm not. Here's why:
- The weather is different. The rainy season is ending but there's still enough moisture in the air to make me feel my arthritis.
- The terrain is different. It's hilly. When I take my two-mile walk in my neighborhood I'm getting aerobic exercise. When I ride my bike in my neighborhood I'm panting by the time I get to the main street, and I'm in the very lowest gear. It's a good thing, I know, but I'm not used to it yet.
- The traffic is worse. Sometimes I have to wait for nearly a minute at a stop sign before I can make a left turn across traffic in my neighborhood.
- Friends are not within walking distance, except Jennie next door. Today I drove nearly a half hour to meet my friend Bev. Granted, we went to the beach at Mukilteo, but still.
- My house is three times larger than our place in Arizona. I notice everything annoying. Like carpet that needs to be cleaned (done this week). Like dingy colors in our bedroom (most of it got replaced today). Like weeds in the garden (hired grandson Kyle last weekend).
- My house is full of STUFF. I get the urge to declutter, to make Goodwill runs, to donate books to the library and old glasses to the Lions Club. I can only do a partway job, though, because my husband Art is not a declutter. He is a saver. When I think about the possibility of downsizing sometime in the next five or ten years, I feel exhausted by the idea of how much STUFF we'll need to get rid of.
That's just the whiney part of adjusting. Here are the harder parts.
- I like to be busy, but things change. I've been mediating in small claims court for my county for a couple of years now. Last year I led a team of three to five others every other Tuesday. But I'm gone for a good chunk of the year. The dispute resolution center where I volunteer needs a lead who is there year round and can be consistent. That's not me. So I will still mediate, but I won't be the lead. It's good for the dispute resolution center but it was an intake of breath for me.
- I've been the liaison between 27 Massage Envy clinics in the Puget Sound and the State Massage Board for the last year or so. That role will probably be ending by the end of the summer. Legislation has happened and I won't be needed in the role I've been service. Another intake of breath.
My friend Deb points out that if I want to say "yes" to things that come along, I have to have enough space in my life for it to happen. So letting go of the things that are changing does that. But at this point I haven't said "yes" to anything new, so I'm slowing down a bit. Yesterday, for example, I didn't do a thing except order a new refrigerator to replace the one with the broken compressor at our Arizona place. Well, not exactly nothing. I read, I went for a walk, I took a nap. But my days are rarely like that. I know there will be comments on this post about "Well, you should rest and take it easy from time to time. You're retired, after all."
There's another thing. I have an Arizona friend who has just today gone into hospice. She's in Illinois now, being cared for by another Arizona friend who also lives in Illinois. My winter Arizona community is being kept informed as to the friend's condition. But we're not in Arizona now, where we can support each other. We're in Colorado and Michigan and Florida and Canada because we've all gone home. So each of us is alone with our heavy heart. Email doesn't quite cut it in a grieving group. I'm doing solitary grieving and I wish I weren't.
Come to think of it, I'm not actually adrift. I'm between. I know where I've been but I'm not exactly sure where I'm going. But I suppose that's always the case, really, isn't it?
In the meantime, it's spring! We have little baby cherries and apples and pears and blueberries in our garden, and the strawberries will be ripe in a month. I look forward to a delectable summer.