My apartment is finally to the point that I’m not walking around piles of boxes. The counters aren’t covered in stacks of mementos. All my art is hung on the walls. But I’m still a little out of sorts.
Don’t get me wrong – things are better than they were one or two weeks ago. When I first got here, I didn’t predict how much the lack of structure would unnerve me. For the first time since I was sixteen, I didn’t have any kind of job. People would ask if I was looking forward to the weekend, and I almost replied, “Why?” Even the dogs looked up at me with concern, What are we doing here Mom?
“Um, we’re chasing a dream”. It sounded cheesy. I feel more comfortable with something like, “We’re pursuing a huge folly because your mother doesn’t know what to do with her life and never fully processed what happened to her.” That kind of statement is a lot closer to the truth.
There’s a silence in California that I’m not used to. There are no roommates here. No thinkless job. No barn. No routine. I do have friends, both old and new, and those people have provided comfort and laughter and all of the right things. I’m thankful for them, and thankful to my friends back home who have called and texted and kept me up to date on every day life that I miss.
It sounds so ridiculous, whining about pursuing a fully funded program that I’ve been dreaming of attending since I first knew they existed. Realize that I know this, but also realize that in the silence of my new life my mind remembers a lot of the trauma with my old one. Last week, I dreamt about Tim for the first time in months which is never a bad thing, but it is a hard thing. The boxes I’ve been unpacking are filled with photos, gifts he gave me, art he loved… artifacts from our old live. When I dust them off and put them on the shelf, it’s a little like curating the museum of us.
A lot of people have told me I’m brave for moving myself across the country. For quitting my job, and diving head first into this insane field. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret — I’m only brave because I’m alone. When he was alive, I was always so scared. I would have followed Tim anywhere he asked me to go. He knew that, so I wasn’t invited. And now I am making my own way, pretending to know what it’s like to be brave.
But here’s the good news — my apartment is much better than I thought it would be. Without the pressure of a forty hour week, I have time to take better care of myself. I walk the dogs at least two miles every day. I bought a bicycle, and bike to campus to read in the botanical gardens or by the pool. I’ve cooked more for myself in the past two weeks than I have in the previous two years. Physically, I feel very good. I’m going to be fine.
Maybe I’m running from the revelations that come out of the quiet, but I’m a person that likes noise. I’ll start filling my new life up more and more as the weeks continue. There will be new people, new job opportunities and new routines. Classes start in a little less than two weeks, and even in my melancholy — I’m beyond excited to be in school again.
I’ve watched a lot of sunsets since I’ve moved here. They’re beautiful, but seem like an ending. I feel like things should be beginning, but perhaps it’s not quite time for that yet. Maybe I need to get through some endings, before I can really begin again.