I tried my foot at driving our little Ford Focus stick shift a couple of months ago. It’s Jason’s commuter car. But it’s been a month or more since I’ve driven it last. We stick to our country roads – I’m not ready for city traffic. Or stringent stop signs. I like to work on one or two challenges at a time. Once I get good at negotiating hills and odd country road hazards, I’ll move on to something else, like a signal light. I had no idea that to go up a hill, or even to go down a hill, it might be best to down shift (this gives the car more power! Did you know this??) Shifting is a beast of a challenge. I have yet to become smooth at it.
I’m not too smooth at handling life’s shifts either, though it’s usually a goal of mine (but did you notice my smooth shift from one topic to another? Pretty smooth). I have grand ideas on how I’ll act and react, the grace I’ll give to those who do life beside me (at work and at home) while in the midst of transition. But those lofty ideals fly out the window as soon as a seemingly overwhelming situation presents itself that threatens my perceived grasp of control. This is life and this is me. So I’ll move on and move forward. Forgetting what is behind to grasp what is before me. Right? Right.
We’ve been in the middle of transition, shifting in multiple areas of our lives. I’ve been trying to stay present in the here and now, to be content with each situation that we navigate through. Sometimes I’m successful, other times I’m not. But, in preparation for a possible move (at the very least submitting to a long overdue purge of anything from the last 16 years of our lives together), I spent a few hours elbow deep in the contents underneath our basement steps yesterday. I pulled out Jason’s high school soccer jersey (I had never seen it, how did it get there?), itty bitty baby clothes, a maternity dress, my old nursing school uniforms, bedding, my first guitar, wrapping paper, a few pieces of Michelle’s clothing, some kind of pet fence, purses … you name it, it was under my basement stairs. I don’t know how it all fit. But let me tell you, during some points of the purging, I was fighting back tears. How am I going to survive the actual storage area of our basement? And what about the book section of my basement? Good grief, what about the attic?
Things are breaking down on us. We had to buy a toaster, microwave, and washing machine, all of which had died this month after 16 years of service. The kids are growing taller than us. Ethan will be driving within the year. Our puppy is calming down. Tiny, the cat, is getting fat. We are maturing, all of us.
When does anything stay the same? I guess this is a good thing. And most days I look forward with happy anticipation. But there are some days that I look back. And I want to hold my babies again, for just an hour. I want to be back at in the Bahamas on our honeymoon where our attention was focused on each other, I want to sit around our fire pit with family and friends like we used to.
Yes, I’m being sentimental. It’s past midnight and I cleaned out the basement underworld yesterday. I’m feeling my middle ageness, which has a unique vantage point. A good time to evaluate the past, present, and future in equal parts. Leaving part of my heart in the yester-year while still living fully in the present and preparing for our future.
Does anyone want to come to my house and purge my things for me?