I am resting on my bed in my hotel in Cary, NC. It still seems surreal that this area will be home for me as of Monday, for the foreseeable future. I go to sign all my work papers tomorrow, and start work on Monday.
I've done this before....going to a new place, living out of a hotel for a week or two or three while I get settled, and gradually gaining a foothold. That doesn't make it any less difficult or emotional, although the experience of how it works does help on subsequent efforts.
One of the key elements of making the mental and emotional adjustments of these kinds of things is to focus on today, and tomorrow. Those are things you can change. It's counter-productive to look back over your shoulder at places you've been, or hopes you had that never materialized, or how difficult it can be to develop a sense of "home" somewhere. In a very real sense it's like starting a new relationship after an long, dear one has just ended.
It is in that spirit that I approach what is happening. I am looking to put my full effort in making this work. Today, tomorrow, and beyond. If the roots finally set - I'll be glad. If not - I may find myself doing this again someday.
But I find that places I've lived typically become part of me. I've made an investment there that keeps me coming back. Rochester. Phoenix. Austin. And of course Charleston. Charleston is only 4 hours and a bit away from here and I'm hopeful of being able to get back from time to time.
If I were to put all this into music, a couple of songs come to mind:
This has been quite a week. My fender-bender. A number of "uncertainties". More has happened than is necessary to share here. But the end result of it all is that here I am, in North Carolina, getting ready to being the next chapter of my life. And, again, out of necessity, I am turning inwards to focus on me. I've tried to focus on a number of things over recent months. But I've been here before and I know what I need to do now....
I've done quite a bit of introspection over all of this. I suppose that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, especially me. But what I've come to accept is that I've got a restless soul. More than jobs, or relationships, or any one particular "thing" - finding whatever it is that helps a soul become grounded eludes me. It's not for lack of trying. But what I've learned is that when you're not quite sure of what you're looking for it's hard to find it so the best thing to do is simply keep on keeping on....
I think some people try to find "it" in any number of places. And if they find "it" there, if even for just a while, that's wonderful. But there's something that keeps me from getting to the top of my Maslow Pyramid of Needs....keeps me from becoming fully self-actualized for any significant period of time. Anyway.....
As sometimes happens when I start to try to articulate these things this probably makes sense to nobody but me. That's ok. I get me.
I have been full of emotion for a while now, as all of this has played itself out. Lots of different emotions. I've wanted to cry several times but won't let myself. I suppose part of it is the realization that I can't afford to let myself fall apart right now.
I remember my first day in Austin, back at the end of October 2000. I was in a hotel - just like now. I didn't know a single soul, and I realized a new chapter of my life was about to unfold. I had been hired by Dell and was ready to start my life as me, as Donna, without the emotional baggage that I left in Phoenix.
I sat in that hotel room and cried and cried. I was sad, lonely, scared, confused, alone....it was not a good beginning. The thing that got me out of it was a phone call from the apartment hunter guy that Dell had assigned to me to help me find a place to live. He was energetic, and positive, and he was the friendly voice of someone I had never even met. But talking to him is what I needed that day.
You know who contacted me tonight to help stave off the blues? My ex-wife....
I've also come to realize that I've done this for the better part of my life. My dad was an academic so we were constantly moving - I attended 6 different schools in 7 years at one point as a child. I got married right out of college and what I need now is what I needed then. Roots. So my wife and I bought our first house in 1982 and lived in it for the next 15 years. That's the longest I've ever been anywhere.
I can't help but wonder if that kind of gypsy lifestyle has deeper affects. For example it was hard to make deep friendships when you knew you were only going to be leaving in a few months. I suppose there's some kind of emotional defense mechanism thing at work, too, but that goes back to my point about not focusing too hard on the past. At this point it truly was a lifetime ago.
Back to the present. Today I stopped by my storage unit (the one in Charleston) to get enough "stuff" to last me through the week, I drove to Raleigh, and I checked into this hotel. I had dinner at Olive Garden, and stopped at the REI across the street. I'm flying to Rochester tomorrow evening for my niece's wedding, and then back again on Sunday. Then....whatever comes next begins.