I’m one of those people who has always prided herself on handling change well. (Hope, OTOH I’m not big on. I prefer to do than to hope. And let’s not talk about charity, either. I do what I can, but my thoughts aren’t always the most charitable. I find, particularly as I get older, that I have a tendency not to take fools at well, let alone gladly.)
I mean, I was all of 17 the first time I packed up and crossed the ocean on my own, (kind of. There was a plane and a crew, and a bunch of other exchange students. Stop being literal) with no relative to hold my hand, even thought this was unheard of in my culture for what Austen referred to (and which still applied in the culture I was brought up in) a “delicately nurtured girl.”
Not only did I do okay, and enjoy it, but I discovered I like strange things and new experiences. Um… not the kind where you say “if you’ve never done it how do you know you don’t like it?” something my first serious LTR used all the time to try to coerce me into stuff. (I know it will surprise you it didn’t work. My answer usually being “I’ve also never tried being cut in two, and I’m sure I wouldn’t like it. Some experiences are terminal.”) I mean given a choice of the known and easy or the difficult and different, I’d try the second.
Mostly because I’ve come to the conclusion at 53 that the thing I dread most is boredom. In fact I tend to get away from it instinctively and without noticing, like a flat worm and a pin. It took years for my husband to understand (I THINK he does now) that when I wander away from say a cash register line or a conversation, I’m not being rude, or at least not consciously so. There’s a switch at the back of my brain that goes “bored now” and next thing you know I’m elsewhere, doing something else. This is a problem when writing the slower parts of a book, because my brain goes, “Okay, if you won’t let us leave, I’m going to fall asleep” and this is why I couldn’t have a career writing only lit fantasy, on pain of dying or becomeing pseudo narcoleptic.
I seem to have this trait in higher concentrations than normal human beings, because in the exchange student group, all of them presumably people who liked exploring and discovering new stuff, the tendency was to cleave to your linguistic or cultural group or as close as you could. Portuguese hung out with Portuguese and failing that Brazilians, and failing that Spanish, and failing that Italian or Greek, progressing until, if there were Europeans in the group they clung together, and if there weren’t, then Portuguese would gravitate to Latin Americans.
It’s not that I don’t understand the attraction or don’t have my moments of oikophilia. My host family were friends with a Cuban family and visiting their home was balm to a homesick teen, because it was SO similar. They even had similar names for things that my family had named.
And honestly my first expedition away from home (at 12) to a summer camp was torpedoed when I got so homesick I had to leave halfway through. But that was different. It was one of those super-regimented summer camps, which scheduled your every minute. And they didn’t let me watch TV news, which at the time drove me nuts.
And that brings us where I am: a strange environment I can’t control.
Okay, let’s make some things clear: I actually like the house we’re renting now very well, and our cats seem to love it. If we were to buy it, I estimate 100k in improvements, but that doesn’t arise, as it’s not where we need it to be. However, moving is a horrible dislocation, we’ve lost things, and life’s rhythms are disrupted. Also we can’t unpack everything (a) no time, as we’re probably only here for three months on the outside and b) no room, as if we were to make this our permanent abode, we’d need to expand and make offices in the garage. Yes, we’re space hogs. We were talking about this, because it seems obscene to need so much room. And objectively we don’t. We use three rooms for the three of us, with additional space for the kids, as needed. But here’s the thing — books (research) and office equipment and supplies take up way too much space.) So inevitably some of the things I need (like batteries, this morning, or all of our cutlery) are “in a box, somewhere.”
But what is distressing me, and what made us decide we DON’T want to rent long term is that I can’t control the change. I.e. we moved here, suddenly (and are grateful to have it) because the landlord at the other house decided he wanted to sell and wanted us out. He was within the law to give us a 40 day notice, but it was d*mnedly inconvenient, particularly since it’s possible (!) the short sale will still come through in the next month or so. And the last thing we needed or wanted to do was to move twice in that time.
And this is what made me realize that while I don’t mind/like change, I hate being out of control. This sojourn (we’ve been renting for over a year and trying to find a place to live for six months) would be okay if it had an end date and we knew when we’re moving and where we’re going. It’s the loose and unpredictable nature of the situation that’s driving me nuts.
Which means that some changes — the availability of Indie! — are good because they offer opportunities I can explore in my way. And some are very very bad — the insanity of our national politics — because all I can do about them is panic and cringe.
Which means the next four years or so are going to be “fun” for me and people of similar disposition.
Meanwhile on the domestic update front there is some movement on short sale. Those inclined to prayer, please pray that it actually comes through if it’s meant to be for us, and that it does so quickly.
And Derpfish is swimming around and eating, which seem like hopeful signs. (As I type this, just watch he’ll be doing the backstroke by tonight.) Also we have the cats back home, and office and kitchen are more or less unpacked.
Which means by tomorrow we should be fully functional, even if we intend to use the time here to cull our unnecessary possessions (mostly books, but any number of kitchen stuff too) and simplify our lives.
So, I’m trying to control the chaos, before it eats me. Which might be the secret to living with chaos, but still leaves me in a blank about our national politics.