The for sale sign has been posted on our lawn for two weeks now, a harbinger of a shifting tide and the end of an era. We have to move, but not by choice. This is a notion that seems to excite many of the people I've shared the news with. "New beginnings!" they'll crow, with a glint in their eyes that, to me, seems mercurial but I suspect (out of generosity to these people who are, in fact, my friends) is just enthusiasm.
There are movers, nomads, and ramblers who bask in the pleasant glow of the horizon, and who will proverbially move eastward, as though compelled by an ancient urge, toward that horizon. But it's not so with me. I take no pleasure in whatever flimsy, temporary states my peers seem to thrive. I wasn't born a wanderer and neither will I leave this earth without having, for better or worse, lain a few scars and marks and scuffs on its surface. In my heart is a desire for folks to come together and to recognize the need in one another for stability. To leave those wear marks and crude impressions and to bear our own with pride.
I'm not sure where this idea came from, this notion that a certain silliness resides in putting down roots. There's a possibility that it could be generational, and I am the loathsome member of a group whose primary impact on the world is that we feel entitled to nearly everything we set our gaze upon. Yet I don't recognize entitlement in the grief I feel over losing my home. In fact, I feel undeserving of it. If I'm being completely transparent, I'll admit that I feel silly. Foolish for staying in one place for five years, and worse for the crack that began in my heart the moment I found out we'd have to move.
While it's true that I have an aversion to change, it wasn't stagnancy that kept me so firmly and resolutely embedded in this space. And it isn't an aversion to change that's making the loss feel like such a punch to the gut. Yet both of those feel like evidence that I haven't figured out how to do life correctly as 20-something living in Southern California.
I should, for example, be able to pick up and leave with as much verve and hopefulness as a bird who transfers from one branch to another. It should seem effortless, instinctual even. I should view the unknown as my most exciting companion, and the resulting loss that inevitably comes with it as a revitalizing sloughing off of dead weight.
I should not put down roots. I should not grow attached to the walls surrounding me, to the memories filling the space between. That's the stuff our parents are made of, this notion of stability--at least, for those of us fortunate enough to lay claim to such an experience. But I've been fed too many meals of Transition and Change and Rootlessness. I've been told that to bicker with change is a fault, and in doing so, I'm revealing myself as one of the weaker ones.
But the shoulds and shouldn'ts we stock our mental shelves with do no more to solve the problem than shouting furiously into the wind might. I am deeply grieved that I must move on, and while I've been told by a handful of well-meaning souls that Change is Good and what I'm about to discover Must Be Even Better, those pithy sentiments can litter my front porch until the wind whisks them away. For the time being, they're of as much use to me as the classifieds section of the Grunion Gazette.
Maybe I'm one of the weaker ones. But I've loved this damn house for every second I've known its particular charm, and I find no reason that I shouldn't mourn its loss.
Change soldiers on with or without me to fall in line beside it. For now, I'm losing an old friend. And it's time to say goodbye.