Wednesday, December 3, 2014
I haven't posted anything here for a while. Why?
Because I have been freaking out about a major life change… moving house! Not just moving out of our house, but moving to another city in a different state, from Kentucky back to Pennyslvania.
I grew up in Ohio, went to college in Ohio and married my husband in Ohio. I lived in Ohio until my husband's job relocated us to the Chicago area and finally to the Philadelphia area. I thrived in the Philadelphia area. I had a job that I enjoyed in the city. I took the train to the city and walked to my office. I explored the city on my lunch hour. I began to feel at home there. We had a house that we loved and made many good friends there. After sixteen years, however, we decided to move back to the midwest.
Why did we leave Pennsylvania? Because I wanted to be close to my family in the midwest, my mom and one sister in Ohio, another sister in Michigan, and a sister in Kentucky with three little girls. My nieces were four, six and eight years old when we moved to Kentucky. I have no children of my own and I wanted to be close to them. When we lived in Pennsylvania I saw them only occasionally, at major holidays. After moving to Kentucky I helped my sister with them, picking them up from school and driving them to their dance, karate and gymnastic classes. The youngest niece, who was four at the time, told me "Aunt Judy, we hardly knew who you were before you moved here."
So… we have been here for nine years. My three nieces are all teenagers now. They don't need me in the same way they used to. I have become less of a caretaker and more of a friend. I love having them as friends. They are smart, funny and interesting. I will miss being close to them and seeing them often, as geographical closeness allows. So, why are we moving? We have maintained the friendships we made in Philadelphia. We continue to go back for weddings, birthdays, and other special occasions. We also travel frequently with those friends. Now that we are retired we have decided to downsize and live close to our social network. We bought a condo in a place near our friends. When I read about retirement and aging, I find that a social network is important. Our social network is there. I think the move will be good for us. So why am I freaking out?
I am a nester. Wherever I live, I put down roots. I am conscious of leaving behind many familiar things. I have "bonded" with many things here in Kentucky. I enjoy the feel of the place, it's laid back and bucolic. I like the country roads, the horse farms, the easy going people. I even have favorite trees; a routine drive to the store fills me with contentment as I take in the familiar scenery. Most of all, I am going to miss our house here. When we came here nine years ago I was missing our Pennsylvania home. I felt like I was grieving for it. Now I feel the same way about the house we live in now. I have nested here, making it a comfortable, contented home. As I pack up my things and remove objects from their familiar places I feel sad. I can feel the roots being pulled out of the ground.
I know I sound emotional. My husband reminds me of this daily. I am too sentimental to make major life changes easily. I believe I can make our new condo feel like a home, as I have in each of our houses so far. I will bring my art, my books, my favorite furnishings, paint the walls, hang curtains and bring my cats. Eventually, it will feel like home. But the transition is freaking me out.