Okay, I don’t actually want you to change my life. That’s my own problem. But I do want to know how other people have changed their own lives.
When I was a child, my parents made huge life changes all the time. My dad was in the Air Force, and we picked up and moved every three years until he retired to the Pacific Northwest. They bought and sold houses, and changed jobs, and went back to school, and just expected us to follow along, which we did not always want to do. (We’re going to move from Europe to a suburb of Tacoma? Are you kidding me?) They are still change junkies — every time I turn around they’re doing something like buying land in Tennesse and then changing their minds and moving back to Washington State. They don’t seem to find this difficult, which is what I think is interesting.
I have never thought of myself as change-averse. But when I look back on where I am I see that, in the last ten years, the biggest change I’ve made in my life was to move from the bedroom on the second floor of our house to the one on the third floor. And that was eight years ago, when William was born. We’ve lived in the same house since 1996, when our oldest sons were a year old. They’ve gone to a couple of different schools in Berkeley, so they’ve had a little change. My husband and I have had the same jobs for the last couple of decades.
Okay, it’s true that I had that little bout with breast cancer, which was sort of a change. But it’s not like I’m dying or even sick. And also, that was a change that came to me, not one I went out and courted to make my life better, so it doesn’t really count.
Why change anything you might be wondering? Well, the truth is that I think I’m missing something about how our life is going — we pay a lot of money to live here, don’t manage to save enough for emergencies and college, we’re terribly busy keeping our jobs, our house, our own and our kids’ lives going. And of course there’s the thing about how if I’m lucky, I write my novel and stories on the train, in 25 minute increments, and I don’t always get to do that because sometimes I have to drive to work, or somebody’s sitting in the seat I want to sit in. I feel like an acrobat, standing on a little beach ball, trying to keep six plates spinning on the pole I’m holding somewhat shakily.
I love Berkeley, I really do. But I don’t really love the pace and shape of our life.
Charlie told William yesterday when he was saying how much he’s looking forward to going to Jack’s school next year that “the grass always looks greener a long way off.” Okay, so the conversation then veered into how we need to cut the grass in our back yard, but can’t, because Archie’s dog poops are hidden in the grass like scary easter eggs…
Still, I’m wondering. Who’s made big changes? Slowed their lives down? Brought their children along with them? Given up things they love for things they hope will be greener? How did you do it? How did it go? Did it bum you out that you couldn’t buy new shoes when you felt like it?
If I don’t get some answers, I’m going to have to tag you. Be warned.
And now for something new in my life — I’m going to get back to work. (sigh.)