Wow, this year continues to crush us. The west coast is on fire. We left home because the fires in the mountains were causing so much smoke I couldn’t sleep. The other morning my husband woke up next me in a hotel room in a pandemic 90 minutes from home and he was stressed. He turned to me and said what if all these fires mean we can’t sell our house?
I don’t know. I really don’t know. I mean, we’ve been saying things are getting worse for years but we haven’t been able to understand what getting worse looks like on an individual scale. We’ve been a bit protected in our careers and our privilege. These things that are happening are a constant back drop of dispair and now personal impacts that show up in ways we don’t always expect. On a macro level, you say of course the west coast is on fire. Of course this administration has failed us in a pandemic. But then you find yourself trying to book a hotel in a not crowded place to work from during a pandemic with better air quality without spending too much money and you think- what the fuck is this life?
Hey, I get it. I am lucky. Lucky I have a job. Lucky I had $600 to spend on a hotel for 3 nights by the ocean. Lucky I have a car. Lucky I am not sick. But some days lucky doesn’t feel so fabulous. And I can’t help but wonder, how did people survive WWII? How did people rebuild Japan after the bombing of Hiroshima? How about Vietnam after the US pulled out? I think a history of terrible things and wonder how do people recover mentally, spiritually, and emotionally?
But then when I think about that, I feel like I’d rather bury my head in good fiction or mindless television or play music loudly. Maybe that’s how people survive. Maybe other people’s art is literally how people survive. I wish I could say my faith is carrying me through. But it’s not. It’s me going through the motions. It’s me wondering how faith matters in the face of climate change, pandemics, racism, and willful ignorance.
But that’s just part of today. Today I also went through boxes of slides, photos, developed negatives, and old camera equipment with my husband. We made piles to keep or not keep. I’m taking Teddy to the vet so all of his shots are in order for a move. I am continuing on as if things will continue on. And that’s how we are getting through another day.
Back in 2000, when we moved to SoCal, it really didn’t seem complicated. Back then, my husband took a couple trips to SoCal and found a place for us to rent. I don’t think I even saw it. I just trusted his decision. I think I used my tax return money to rent a u-haul. And I moved. I don’t remember forwarding mail and I left most of my furniture. He drove the u-haul and I followed in his Honda CR-V. Everything about it was exciting. I don’t remember thinking it was hard until months in when I realized it was hard not to live next door to my BFF anymore.
Skip to 20 years later, and our lives are so much more complicated. For one, moving to a different part of the state is way easier than moving to another state… and moving to another country? House hunters international makes it look so easy.
Every week I have different tasks to keep track of, all moving parts to juggle. Will’s license application, my assessment for licensure, selling the house, moving out one adult kid, creating a good savings fund…and all of these can be broken into smaller parts.
One big thing in front of me right now, is that we have so much stuff. Like closets of it. It’s a lot to go through. I know I can’t take it all, bit what do you do with your stuff in a pandemic? I have given a few things away. I went to the Goodwill website and I thought I figured out which one was open, but after I drove there, it turned out not to allow donations.
Somedays, I get really stressed and overwhelmed, but other days I get very excited. Today I completed all of the identity documents for my assessment. I finished my portion of the education documents and I am waiting on the schools to send their documents. Next up: documents from places of employment. That one stresses me out because trying to get a hold of HR people who work from home about the very specific forms I need completed and mailed has proven to be a challenge. And one large company has a phone message with push 1-8 for these options (none that work for me) and a chance to leave a message. No talking to an actual person. Ugh.
Which means this post will probably be ready by zero people. Despite that, I have been feeling like getting back into writing. It’s been a long time since I blogged, since I wrote in my writing club, and a while since I even wrote on my own.
My last post was 2 years ago when I turned 40. It feels like a lifetime ago. Has this pandemic aged us? These 4 months feel like they’ve been a whole year. Time has moved strangely through this pandemic. March felt like a crawl, while May went flying by. Some days feel soooo long. Those days include a lot of me laying on the couch watching #vanlife on youtube. We don’t go many places. Grocery stores, pick up take out orders, and work. So vanlife it is.
I started watching it because I was fascinated with so many of them being trapped during the pandemic. All of their videos were “trapped in Morocco” or “trapped in Argentina.” Let me tell you, there are a lot of criticisms I could make about vanlife, and I do at home on my couch, but I haven’t stopped watching it. All of the couples have found their way home and are filling their time (and videos) with projects. Projects feel purposeful. Watching them work on projects is relaxing. I get to imagine a life where work once again feels purposeful and future centered.
I am not saying my work has no purpose. But the future? It feels pretty uncertain. I don’t know exactly what we are all working for. I mean this in the sense that I cannot see past the next few weeks. This is the opposite of how I have lived my whole life. Not knowing how the next year will be leaves me feeling quite purposeless. So I watch other people’s purpose.
I do occasionally come up with plans or ideas. And then I get frustrated because I don’t know if they can happen or how they will happen. The news often grinds down my tiny hopes so I have to turn it off. And back to vanlife.