Monthly Archives: November, 2016

A Year in the Life, or, Happy Massiversary

Today marks the one year anniversary of my moving to Massachusetts. It’s sort of hard to reconcile in my mind, in some ways it feels like so much has happened, in other ways it feels like it was just a heartbeat ago that my dad dropped me off at the airport, with me desperately winking away the tears that threatened to cascade down my face.
In that year, I’ve moved twice, bought a house, started a new job, been promoted to a different job, made friends, lived a life. Day to day, things aren’t that different. I work hard, I spend time talking to my people (family and friends, you know who you are). I run errands on Saturdays, grocery shop on Sundays. Same as it ever was.
But in other ways, so much has changed. For one thing, weather has never factored so prominently in my life before. In California, it’s basically warm, hot or really hot, 95% of the time. Very rarely, it rains (hence the drought). Even more rarely, the temperature dips, perhaps to 65 degrees and we all don scarves and mittens and drink cocoa and pretend it’s cold.
Massachusetts weather is far more dramatic, and changeable. They say here if you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes, and there is some truth to that. I’ve never experienced such significant weather, including of course snow, but also violent rainstorms, stifling humidity, oppressive heat and bone chilling cold. It’s only mid fall but the temperature has already dipped into the 40s and even 30s (nighttime) several times this month. What’s odd to me is how quickly I have acclimated to these lower temps. Whereas I too bundled up if the thermometer read 65 degrees in California, here I’ve been known to go out without a jacket unless it’s below 50.
I have been worrying a lot about winter. Again. I mean I worried a lot about winter last year, before and after I moved East, but last winter was just a tease, an amuse bouche, as it were, of what winter could be. This is not hyperbole on my part, it was actually the mildest winter in decades, a welcome follow up to the winter of 2014, which people are still talking about, the one where more than 100 inches of snow fell through the season. Last year, I think our total was about 14 inches. Early predictions, which of course could totally not come true, are that this winter will be a harsh one. And, frankly, I’m a bit scared.
The big difference for me this year, is that unlike last year where I lived in a townhouse with 24 hour maintenance and a crew that started shoveling and plowing as soon as the snow stopped falling, now I own and am completely responsible for the maintenance of a semi old, semi large, barn of a house with a decent sized front, side and back yard. And while I have hired a service to plow the drive, the rest is up to me, including figuring out how poor Daisy is going to do her business when the snow gets deep, as I suspect it inevitably will.
I’ll figure it out, just like I’ve figured everything else out. I’m lucky to have some good friends who will advise me and who are gracious enough not to laugh in front of my face. That’s been a great gift in this last year and probably one of the greatest challenges too, meeting new people and making new friends. It may surprise some of you to learn that I suffer from social anxiety. I know I come off as a confident and outgoing person, and that’s absolutely true, but the specter of unfamiliar situations fills me with dread and I have to fight hard against retreat and paralysis. I’m ALWAYS fine once I get there, but prior to arrival, the anxiety and angst are actually painful, and come with the bonus of feeling ashamed. So, imagine the battle when almost every experience over the last year has come with that struggle. But I’ll continue to fight against it. I can’t build a new life for myself without leaving my living room, as comfortable as that feels. Yesterday I did my first gig as a volunteer at a sweet little community theater, ushering for the matinee. As usual, I was filled with nerves prior to arrival, but it was fun and felt right and I’ll be back there again, for sure.
My life here is happy. Happier than I expected. In some ways I think everyone should push the restart button at midlife, it’s as invigorating and exciting as anything I can think of. Of course there’s been loneliness and challenges and struggles but those are all part of life and I wouldn’t have traded anything that has happened to me in the last five years for anything else. Really, truly. Last week, I was driving down Boston Post Road, one of the oldest roads in the country, and, especially with the trees still brilliant with color, a beautiful and stunning sight. The song The Long Way Home, by Supertramp, came on the radio, with that gorgeous harmonica introduction, and I just started crying, hot happy tears because in that moment, I felt gloriously at home.
The end, for now