And I’m wistful. To a near point of tears when I by chance looked out the window and saw the man pound the For Sale sign into the hard clay I pretend is dirt. That made it so real. I’ve lived here sixteen years, which is the longest I’ve lived anywhere. There has never been a tear shed for any other place I’ve lived.
There wasn’t one for any of the ten moves I remember before age eighteen. If there were any tears for the five moves since then, they were tears of joy. All residence moves in my life have been positive, whether I lived there for months or the next longest at twelve years.
I understand myself well enough to know why I felt teary and still feel wistful though I know this move is positive for me. I’ll be half a day’s drive from my son and family, I’m moving to a beautiful, new home that feels designed for me. Plus, I’ve always wanted to live in another state since I kerplunked here in Salt Lake City (the middle of nowhere to those of you who follow London Olympics trivia), when I was six. The list goes on: Sam and I need to downsize our living area, house responsibility, and possessions.
But how will I leave my friends who really do mean a lot to me? Will I miss Salt Lake that is finally evolving into an interesting city with a tad of diversity, good local restaurants, and a somewhat varied cultural scene? Yes, I will miss these things right along with the sharp seasonal changes, my garden, the green, towering mountains, and the cute kids who live across the street who wave at me when they are outside.
Some days I feel a gut excitement for this move that I haven’t felt for years. Other days, not so much. What has been a constant is remembering that in every one of the moves I fully recall since the age of six I have been able to look back and piece together a self that was unique in that environment. Houses are markers to me, though they aren’t to everyone. Some people’s lives appear to be measured by the changes in music, spouses, jobs, or automobiles owned. Home gave me a place to shape myself and a sense of being. Memories of different homes are like chapters with an assigned time, mood, and purpose to the full story. Then after months or years the chapter completes and it is time to move on, letting the story continue. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say, urging the story to continue.
Every move as an adult has happened because I felt that nosy Irma Prattle, say, “This is it. The life and circumstances of this house have given you all they can, you have learned what you are capable of learning, and it is now time to move on.”