It was in September that I moved to this new place–uprooted myself, left my career of 20 years, left family and friends behind and decided to start anew. I told myself it was partly to create a new me, have some adventures and to try out a new part of the country. The main motivator was to be closer to my Mom, but all these other factors were certainly added incentive.
Now that it’s been about six months (not quite but still hard to believe) since this monumental decision, I am reminded that I’m not 20 any longer and easily adaptable to new places and situations.
Years ago it felt pretty easy to simply pick up and go–to change my surroundings quickly and plop myself down somewhere else. Maybe I was less encumbered or tied down to places or people. Things didn’t seem to stress me as much about moving, there wasn’t as much ‘stuff’ to drag around or get rid of and saying goodbye not as painful. It all seemed like, well, there was plenty of time to get together at a later time or just gather more material things.
But now I know the sacred value of friendships and how distance can, maybe not break them, but make them less tangible in some ways. Sure, we’re all more connected so have instant access that way–but somehow knowing our nearest and dearest are a car ride away if we need them, is far more comforting.
And while I am trying to reduce my material things, I do know that a home that has been loved and cared for, gardens that have been tilled and watered and certain items we have–all these things become part of the fabric of our lives.
So when we find ourselves in alien territory, it can be lonely and disorienting for quite a while. We don’t recognize where we are and google maps becomes our best friend for a long time. It may be hard to reach out to people for fear they may reject our advances for friendship. In the end, we end up isolating ourselves instead.
Sometimes, though, a magical thing can happen in the midst of it all. That moment in time, as we slowly start to familiarize ourselves with this new place the blurry becomes clear. The walk we do every day becomes a routine and we notice things that make it feel like our neighborhood. Even the crazy job starts to get slightly easier, people call you by name and smile–you don’t get lost in the halls anymore and it’s almost OK.
But the really most wonderful day comes when you find someone, that first someone, who you know will be a friend. That first time that someone reaches out, invites you to do something (and means it), meets you somewhere and you click. There is such beauty and peace in these moments. They remind us of all the moments in life we’ve had like this: all the moments where we met a wonderful friend (that we probably still have) and how comforting it was when we connected. It reminds us we are no longer alone, that there just might be someone ‘out there’ in our new world should we need them. Somehow it makes all the difference….
Today was that day for me and it changed the whole color of me living here. She reminds me of another dear friend I have with her quiet beauty, soft intelligence and abounding kindness. It was such a lovely day in the space of a friend, something I have not felt in months.
And for this–and her–I am grateful.