I am trying to be all zen about moving. I am failing miserably.
You would think I would have learned to be zen after 14 years of yoga. You would be wrong. I can hardly stay zen (whatever zen is; it’s a word I like but whose essence has eluded me ever since I first heard it) when I am in yoga classes. I think this is because I have racing-mind syndrome, a state of mind I read about years ago and immediately glommed onto. Hearing about racing-mind syndrome was like looking in the mirror. I cringed, but recognized the likeness. Just as I do with most non-metaphorical mirrors.
But, anyway, moving. Moving is difficult when you’re like me and you hate change. Bad change, good change, who cares? “The two of you,” our friend John announced to my husband and me at dinner recently, “are great. You embrace change.”
I almost looked over my shoulder to see whether he was talking to someone else. My husband, Mister Cool, Mister Relax-Babes-It’s-Under-Control, embraces change. But me? Ha.
We’re moving because it’s smart to move, we sold our house to a lovely young family, we’re better off living on one level, we need to downsize. Also because, if we move downtown, someone might possibly think we’re cool. Smart move! I know this because I’ve screamed it to myself over and over. But then, since I have racing-mind syndrome, I get easily distracted by non-smart things like wondering, for example, when my house dreams will begin again. I always get house dreams when we move. I always see myself trying to stay in a house that doesn’t belong to me any more, so I know I have to hide. Or trying to get back into my old house, but I don’t have the key. I know what these dreams are saying: they’re saying people who hate change should never move.
We pack, we throw away, we clear out things. My husband goes into a Craigslist fugue state. He thinks we’re going to sell all the furniture we don’t want for large sums of money. He takes highly flattering photos of worn and broken pieces of furniture. “Somebody wants the pool table!” he announces. “Somebody wants our old dining room table!” He talks about selling our “new” dining table — the one that slants like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the one on which you can pass the salt merely by rolling it downhill — for a small fortune. My husband’s the eternal optimist; it’s irksome how often he’s right. Me, the person who hates change, I can only think about how the word “Craigslist” is often followed by -murderer.
One week to closing and moving. Our furniture’s disappearing piece by piece. I am too busy to go to yoga, where I would probably fail to achieve a zenlike state, anyway. I make to-do lists, I fret, I wonder whose bright idea any of this is and my husband hints it was my idea. After all, I am the person who embraces change — maybe in a preemptive move — before change can embrace me.
Tell me, will you, the difference between being embraced and being strangled? I think I’m going to be dreaming about it tonight.
(Copyright 2011 by Ruth Pennebaker)
Read one of my favorite posts about how crisis is my middle name