I have felt for a long time as if I was in a cocoon…and I guess for good reason. We spent our early years moving every few years, as my husband’s career flourished. I got used to moving. Then we settled in the Boston area and only moved from one suburb to another…we actually lived 15 years in the same house. And then my mother-in-law died, leaving my then-96yo dad-in-law living alone in the assisted living apartment. We spent a few months doing the MA to ME run on weekends and holidays, but we knew that couldn’t be sustained. SO, we decided to talk to a real estate agent about putting our house on the market in the summer, after we had had a chance to spruce up our aging gem. THEN the universe decided to throw us a huge curve ball. I exchanged a couple of emails with a real estate agent to get an idea of what to expect. But before I ever had a chance to meet her, she sold our house! Well, kind of…a fellow agent had a client who needed to purchase a house in our neighborhood and needed to find said house the next weekend. She asked if we could show the house, AS-IS, the next weekend. We showed it on a Saturday, got an offer on a Sunday, and accepted on Monday… and we were packed, loaded into a truck and moved, all in under 2 months.
And then I was living amidst boxes in a tiny new town, hours away from my friends and my theater group and my job, having as my new job something for which I am completely unsuited…dealing with my in-laws’ belongings, which filled the house into which we had moved…and then unpacking and organizing the boxes of our own belongings into the house. I am really good at unpacking…but please don’t ask me where to put things, how to organize a room, how to arrange a house. Even worse, I was doing it alone, as husband got called away for work…he left me the day we moved into the little house and came home three weeks later, shocked at how little I had accomplished. Oh, and need I add that during much of those three weeks, I was without telephone, TV or internet…PBS radio was my lifeline to the outside world.
Now, nearly two years later, we are still tossing tossing tossing, trying to fit ourselves into this compact living space…but it is home, it is happy, it is ours. We added a puppy to our family, giving me much-needed company when hus is on the road. My dad-in-law passed away in September, so there are no more Wednesday dinners and Sunday brunches at the assisted living place. Two different groups of girlfriends came to visit, stirring up in me the memory of what it feels like to have friends, to have hobbies, to have a life.
And then, in November of last year, I went to my Town Hall to vote and the Director of the Board of Library Trustees was there to show off plans for the new library. I glanced at the plans and noticed there seemed to be a lot of community space in the proposed building. She and I chatted about possibilities for use of those spaces, including playreading and theater classes. She took my name and email address…two days later, I got a call from the head volunteer at the library, asking if I wanted to volunteer. I said yes, was put on the schedule and started work the next week. And POOF! I was happy. I was happy while I was working, but more importantly, I was happier when I got home. I am learning lots about the tiny town I now inhabit and there is no better place than the front desk of the local library to meet my neighbors. I don’t feel as alone as I did, all because of 2-3 hours a week spent at the library.
I am one of those really weird people who appears quite extroverted, but who is actually very shy…friends are often surprised to hear how unsure I really am of my own self worth. Left to my own devices, I love my cocoon. That isn’t healthy, though, and I am always on the lookout for opportunities to change. This is turned into a great opportunity and I’m eager to embrace it with vigor!