How to Live When Everything is Up In the Air

Jen Louden Home Sweet Home
After yoga on Saturday, my lovely teacher, Jen, grinned at me and said, “So when are you moving?”

At a book signing event that afternoon, my author friends joked to Bob, “You can’t take her,” and then listened as we explained that we haven’t found a house in Colorado yet but we are going to put our house up for sale in mid-July anyway, and no, we weren’t sure when we will move my mom to Florida to be near my sister but we hoped her spot in the new memory care place would open up soon…

Walking the dogs that evening, a neighbor called from across the street, “I’m glad you are still here.”

On the way back, another neighbor looked up from watering his peonies surprised to see me, “Oh, you’re still here.”

This is my life right now. Months of telling the same story.

“Sometime this summer.”

“We are moving for Bob’s work. No, it’s not a new job, but he agreed to move to the home office when Aidan graduated from high school.”

“No, I’ve never lived away from the ocean.”

“Yes, the Boulder area is cool.”

“We are excited.”

“We are sad.”

I keep trying to explain what it’s like to move from the home where I’ve lived the longest, the island where I raised my girl, the spot where I said goodbye to my dad, where I got a divorce, where I fell in love.

I’d be a self-help faker if I didn’t say I am plum worn down. Everything in me wants to move, to be there already. To start my new life. To go go go!  But it isn’t time – we have a boy to tend, a mom to move, and no house yet to call our own.

And therein lies the sublime universal joke – except really, it isn’t sublime. It’s so obvious, I have trouble keeping my eye on it.

I’m writing a book about learning to let go. I’m writing a book about learning to choose your truer life at crux moments – moments of change, of choice, of endings and beginnings. It’s a memoir mostly, about how I thought I knew how to do that, but I discovered I didn’t, and how I learned to choose, to desire, and, of course, to let go.

So here I am in a crux moment – a big, juicy one. The choice was made years ago when Bob took this job and I looked into his kind green eyes and said,

“I will go anywhere you want to go.”

The choice was made, but now I’m actually living it.

It’s not that I don’t want to move – I’m so delighted to support my man who gives so much to me and the idea of Rocky Mountain National Park just 40 minutes away? Fabulous! Here is the difficult part:

Living your true life requires learning to let go as much as it does honoring your desires.
(Click to tweet.)

The part of me that wants to be moved already doesn’t want to stay awake to all the feelings, the insights, the intensity that this passage is calling forth in me. She says,

“Moving is no big deal, stop being such a drama queen.”

But this move is a big deal – it signals the end of an entire era of my life. If I am to grow into what’s next, I have to say goodbye, mindfully, to what has been.

So I’m standing in the fire of this passage – some of the time. I’m crying in yoga – bow pose especially. I’m sitting with my mom, trying to soak in as deeply as I can her essence, to let my heart relax and connect with hers instead of run away from her word salad, her asking me yet again if she can have a car, why can’t she drive? I’m savoring time with Bob’s parents before they move back to Oregon (they’ve been living near us for two years, a little sabbatical). I’m taking in the tiny moments like when Aidan comes in the front door and says, “Hi” in his deep voice or when Lilly comes home and we are all around the dinner table. I’m sitting on the porch and watching the swallows soar between our little houses, the ospreys return to their nest, listening to the kids playing in the street.

I’m doing my best to use the fire of this liminal time to learn what I need to live true: how to let go of what I love. And how to let go of what I’ve never fully known because it is unknowable, and in it’s unknowableness, so beautiful I can only gasp and bow.

Love,

Jen

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