My son turned 5-months old two days ago and that whole time has been spent living at my parents’ home in Oregon. My husband was offered a position at a company in Virginia and moved last week without me to find an apartment and start his dream job. Baby and I are are following this Saturday by plane: a trip that I have trepidation over.
This isn’t like me. The idea of living on the East Coast is exciting. It may not be a foreign country, but it is entirely new. There are so many places to see, and although it is really lacking in the mountain department it makes up for it in coastline and rivers. It is the move itself that gives me pause. Flying alone with a baby for the first time seems like a chore instead of an adventure. What if he cries the whole time? What if he doesn’t, but just holding him wears me out? The whole thing sounds exhausting all the way down to checking in a car-seat at the airport and that there will be nobody there to take some of the pressure off. This is, of course, an overreaction. My son is the sweetest tempered baby you can find! He rarely fusses and only cries when something takes him by surprise and scares him. This is actually a rather funny occurrence, but doesn’t happen but maybe once a month and is easily satiated. The trip is fairly short with a quick change-over in Denver, an airport that I have navigated enough to be comfortable with.
The trepidation, I think, has been compounded by the move itself. This move has felt tedious and tiring. I watched movers truck my stuff away yesterday morning and didn’t have any sense of relief because all I could think was that I have to unload it in a week or so. I’m not going to Virginia for a job. I’m going to take care of and interact with a baby all day in an apartment that doesn’t have any furniture because we can’t afford it yet. And even though my reason is just to follow my husband, all my stuff will be going with me for the first time in years. This isn’t my typical “what fits in my backpack” international move or “what fits in my car” intra-national move. It is a permanent move. A complete life change to an area I have only visited. And worse yet, to a suburb of an area I have only visited. Suburbs give me the chills.
I am being a big baby, I know. I am excited! I am just suffering from my typical pre-trip ennui. With the feeling of “let’s start already”, I just can’t help but feel trapped. Like in England, I will have no avenue to make friends. A shiny new apartment that should feel like a clean slate ready to be made home feels like a cage instead. I haven’t even seen it yet.
I am finding that the definition of adventure has to include more than just exciting new places. It has to involve challenges, like figuring out the public train system in India. It has to involve action, like riding a bike through Cambodia or even just the act of teaching. It has to involve risk, like the risk of failure. It is very disconcerting to have nothing to fail at. I don’t generally fail. It is an experience that has been very rare in my life. Italian language class in college. I pretty much sucked at that. But even then, failure is a state of mind. If I retook that class now, instead of feeling overwhelmed and dropping it for my sanity, I would kick ass at it! But I now have the tools to succeed at learning foreign languages. For goodness sake, I speak two fluently, one fairly well, and have studied four on top of those.
I just need to find things I “could” fail at so that I have a challenge. Then life will normalize. Perhaps I will take Italian at the local university! Nah. Probably Spanish… and Geology. There is a gym in our apartment complex and I need to work at being healthier. I have gained too much weight SINCE the baby was born. That’s right, I gained after baby made his appearance, not before. I want to take my first ever yoga class. I do yoga occasionally, but I’ve never taken a class. Even more fun, I want to see Maine in the fall and try maple syrup in Vermont. I want to personally tap a tree for that syrup. I don’t even like maple syrup, but I am a story-based girl. I live my life by what makes a good story, and it has made life amazing! I get to show my husband the monuments in D.C. After all, we are in the area and he has never been top the monuments. There are so many adventures to be had on top of motherhood, which is an excellent adventure in itself, although a little confining during an Oregon winter on a farm.
I just need a new perspective on the word adventure for the move itself. Adventure should include new things that are permanent and not just fleeting moments and experiences. It should include events that are life adjusting and not just perspective changing like they have been for me in the past. Never has an adventure been permanent. It is a new concept that I need to wrap my head around.
And when all is said and done, there is nothing to say that it is permanent. In three years we could opt to move to Alaska or Australia or California if we don’t fall in love with the place. But it is pretty rare that I don’t love the place I’m at because I always find the beauty and the adventure wherever I am.
So to end with a message to Virginia:
Are you ready for me? Bring it on.