On Contentment After a Move

We have survived one month in our new city. It’s easy to survive here on one level. There are more restaurants and stores than we will ever be able to visit. Food and drink are plentiful. There is a sense—maybe it comes from the neon green winter grass—of thriving. After living without many trees for the last five years, the abundance of pine needles refreshes my soul. And our walks—morning walks, walks to the store, evening walks—are beautiful. At night, the lighted trees duplicate in the waterway’s reflection. Our work is good and we laugh a lot.

We’re still in that window of time after a life change in which we can feel our old life going on without us in a parallel universe. I wobble over the rocks in our front yard to take cookies to our neighbors and we vent about naps and working with non-doers. I run out in the evenings for meetings and on Fridays we find our way to the porches of friends for red wine. We pop into art openings and drink coffee slowly at the shop on weekend mornings while talking about which houses have sold, the city council meeting, martini Fridays, and Jack’s latest overseas travels.  My roses may have stopped blooming but the morning glories are abundant.

I can still hear that life playing softly like the music bleeding through the walls of the apartment next ours. It makes me happy to feel that rhythm continuing but I miss it. I can’t find the beat in our new surroundings. Every time I introduce myself, make eye contact with a stranger, or try to say something honest, I feel like I’m simultaneously mumbling and shouting. I get nervous and feel like the most awkward person on the planet. I want the eight or nine words I speak to contain all of my identity and persuade the listener that they should like me and be my friend. I remember feeling this way when we first moved to Roswell—like I was constantly having to explain myself. 

“My name is Sara. This is what I do. This is what I’ve done. This is the way I am. Here’s what’s important to me. I like you the way you are so let’s just drink coffee and talk about what’s on our hearts and be okay with silence from time to time.”  

I hope in being honest about the challenges of moving that I am not neglecting to document how much we have enjoyed this last month. I dreamed about the day we would wake up in our tiny apartment and pull out the french press and meander down the sidewalk. That has been the norm almost every day and it is better than the daydream. I love the coziness of living in what amounts to two rooms and seeing all of our art and photographs smushed together. I’m glad we pared down our belongings. It’s nice to look around and see only our favorite things. I’m nowhere near ready to start thinking about buying a house. This place is too good! One day I’ll probably think differently, but I don’t need any more space than this. This life is good.

Contentment after a move is a back and forth. Good remembering. Hard missing. Good exploring. Hard establishing. Back and forth.