My retired Navy family is hitting a major milestone this summer as we approach the two-year mark for how long we’ve been in one house, one home, one spot on the globe–and we’re going to stay here. After 13 moves in 26 years, you can imagine my relief. Even though I know we’re done with the Navy moves, and hope no other moves are in the near future, my brain seems to have a special compartment that must be labelled “Navy Move” or “PCS” (permanent change of station). I found myself restless about a month ago, thinking I needed to purge the house of junk, accumulated clothes or papers, books, etc. But wait–I did that when we moved in. And before we moved from Russia. And before we moved to Russia…
What do normal people, i.e. people who don’t live tour-to-tour, do?
Remodel! But wait, there’s the college tuition to consider for the eldest kid, and younger kid will be in college soon enough. What’s more economical?
Curb appeal! (HGTV junkie, full disclosure).
But we’re not selling, so who cares about the front of the house? I spend close to three seasons writing on my laptop or iPad on the patio. Shouldn’t it be a place of serenity and escape for me?
I am no gardening expert. After living in so many different places I’ve learned that if I want to have any success I need to stick with native plants. Lucky for me there is a local gardening expert who also happens to write a column in our paper and, for a very reasonable fee, make house calls and landscape design charts.
This has been a spring of deadlines and looming deadlines, and the excitement of attending a particular writer’s conference I haven’t been to before. But somehow the plans were drawn up, I limited myself to one side of the house per year (or every 5 years!) and besides the start of a wonderful garden I also have a second paver patio from which to write my novels.
Every two to three years our family goes through a major transition. We move, whether it’s cross-country or across the globe. This year marks an even bigger transition–this may be our last big move in a long while. Our eldest graduated high school and is soon off to college. Our youngest will settle into the last years of her secondary education. I finally am face-to-face with the opportunity to write full-time with no distractions of Navy/diplomat-spouse duties.
Yet I’m very, very excited. There are all the practical aspects to be happy about. Finding and purchasing a new home (roots!). Getting active in my daughter’s last years at home as much as she’ll welcome (i.e. allow). Setting up my own office with it’s own door that I can close. Caller-ID so that I can only answer calls I need to when working. Starting over with the nutrition–bringing only healthy, clean, delicious food into the house. Leaving the dark M&M’s on the grocery shelf (we’ll see how long this lasts!). Getting a new car.
The intangible side of this transition is overwhelming, yet still, I welcome it. Whether I look at it as fulfilling my artistic destiny or dealing with can-I-swing-writing-only-or-do-I-supplement-income-with-second-job choices, it’s all good. Because I’m still on the path to discovery, still on the road to my dream of being a very successful full-time writer.
Transition is an opportunity to be kind to myself. To applaud the fact that I have an August 1st deadline (yeah, another contract!) and to NOT berate myself that it took 2 years between the 3rd and 4th contracts. I always lose by comparison–no matter what. It’s about my journey and my motives. My destiny.
Of course the big gratitude box must be checked. Grateful for my health, my family’s health, my husband’s ability to be our family’s rock (anchor, actually, but that’s too cliche when you’re a Navy family).
While I don’t wish the multitude of headaches associated with a move on anyone (e. g. the seller on the house we bid on just walked away from the short-sale 2 wks before closing), I do wish you the chance to take stock of your life and your soul’s desire. What is your heart’s desire? Are you taking little steps to get there? Even if you’re working 2 or 3 jobs to feed your babies, can you do something tiny towards your dream today? Just 2 minutes of prayer or meditation, or 20 minutes spent reading something that lifts you–can you find room for it?
Life’s not easy. Transition sucks. But they both bring untold joy if I keep an open mind and go with it.