Good-bye Old, Hello New
19 September 2010 | Durham, NC
Jenny / 70 & sunny
[photo: the beach house 2004-2010]
When one chooses to depart from the norm of our American society and go cruising, tremendous change occurs, and adaptation to the new way of life is necessary.
The return to American society is just as overwhelming, if not even more so.
I am reminded of this as we just successfully completed the sale of our beach house last Friday and moved to Durham to be with Wil full time.
Maybe I am more sensitive to change than most people, but surely I'm not alone. Sure I thrive on excitement & adventure, but each new step is not without stress.
For the past 2 years, I have been living small town, island life, and thoroughly enjoying it. No weekly (or daily) trips to Target or Wal-Mart. No cable TV. No more than one afterschool activity each week. Except for guitar lessons and visits with my sister in Wilmington on Thursdays, we stayed local. Yes, there are the weekend trips to Beaufort to work on the boat, but that's small town coastal, as well.
Now, we have piled in with Wil and boxes are stacked around us. This past week has been filled with unpacking, learning a new town, and attempting to establish a regular homeschool routine. AND amidst it all, throw in a pretty good head cold for all of us at the same time!
When one is settled in a regular place & routine, life can be busy, but at least all of the little things are in place . . . you usually know how to drive from point A to point B , which cabinet holds the cheese shredder, or which drawer your socks are in. When one shifts to a new & unfamiliar place, there is extra mental energy drawn every time one wants to do the simplest of tasks. It takes time to work out these little details, but eventually you get there.
Therefore, this move, and moving back to a more populated area, has reminded me of the last time we went cruising. Departing society & returning to society each have their own challenges.
Before departing from society back in 1998, we worked 40+ hours each week, lived the big city life, and had plenty of everyday luxuries. Moving to a sailboat meant spending 24 hours a day in a small space with your spouse where even using the toilet could be troublesome. Utility company employees didn't seem to understand why we were cancelling our service and didn't need service elsewhere. Then, there were all the prior arrangements that needed to be made for receiving mail, paying bills, and storing anything that wasn't going with us. Society is filled with a ton of hustle & bustle, so when we finally got on the sailboat & started cruising, initially life was hard and it was difficult to slow our pace. Eventually, we learned that it was ok to spend a few hours or more reading each day. It was ok to go to bed at sundown. It was ok for a simple chore to take all day. Most importantly, we were finally getting to spend quality time together.
We'd adapted to cruising life. There wasn't a care in the world other than keeping the boat shipshape, finding our food, planning our next route, exploring our next port-of-call, keeping in touch with family back home, or possibly having social hour with the current buddy boat. Fresh fruits & vegetables were acquired from the nearest market within walking distance. We fished for dinner, or traded with the locals. We baked our own bread, and made most things from scratch using only what we had on hand.
As we neared the end of our cruise, the ports we visited became a little more populated as we got closer to the US & tourist areas. While we were in Isla Mujeres, we thought it would be fun to take the ferry over to Cancun to do some shopping. I will never forget how overwhelmed I felt when we walked into our first Wal-Mart in almost a year. That was a HUGE mistake! I couldn't focus on the products, for all of the people walking around us. Then, I just stood in front of the meat counter, looking at all the choices of meat. How could I possibly decide which meat to buy? We got out of there as quickly as possible, without buying a single item.
Then we returned to the states. People didn't understand how we didn't know what Y2K was. It was an experience to do more than 35 mph in a car for the first time in a year. When we bought our first house, which was about 1575 sq ft, we felt so far away from each other at opposite ends of the hallway. And the idea of saying good-bye to each other as we went back to work . . . unthinkable!!
We, of course, adapted back into American society. It didn't take long before we fell back into the rat race of city living. However, this time it was as a family of four. Daily play dates, afterschool sports & activities, birthday parties, trips to Target, driving a minivan, etc. My calendar was full and I would still pack it in.
So for me, living small town life on an island was the next best thing to living on a sailboat. I had escaped most of the hustle & bustle. Now, until we can beef up the savings account a bit, we are living on the outskirts of Durham. We are in a country setting, but the city is just 10 minutes away. All of my old friends are nearby and I am eager to see them. However, at the same time, I am overwhelmed because I fear I will be drawn back into constant activity again.
I am searching for a balance between what I want and what used to be, and at the same time, keeping my eye on our goal to go cruising sooner rather than later.