Do Over

Dear J-

It has been a long time. I feel vaguely like the leopard prisoner in Kung Fu Panda: “It’s been TWENTY YEARS since you locked me up to rot.” As near as I can estimate, it’s the first entry since I went off and decided to move, over a month ago, and that means … well, it means it’s been too long. So. I’ve been reading Matthew Baldwin again after some hiatus — he’s taking a month and blogging about his son with a series of very resonant posts — and one of the early comments was someone asking if he was all right, if he had been all right during the long absence from writing, given the words that must have been piling up in his head, unspoken and unwritten. I’m pretty sure he was, but I’m also pretty sure the sense of relief I’m feeling now — with the words coming out and the hopeful thought of getting to make this a habit to keep — must have been overwhelming.

We’re in a new city: San Mateo, which is very close to San Francisco (half an hour by motivated car to most destinations, assuming you can find parking when you get there). I have a new ride to work: Caltrain, roughly a half hour train ride each way. I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but in a manner analogous to the proverb/curse “May you live in interesting times” I advance another: “May you get everything you want.” Because I have; I have the job, I have the location, I have the family with me, we got everything. Everything. So now it’s on me to prove that we can make this work. Everything’s more expensive here. I’m trying to go cold turkey on buying junk we don’t need, junk that ends up cluttering the house (apartment, for now — I keep telling myself the “for now” part to tamp down the rage at having to rent), even going so semi-boldly forth to consider joining Clutterers Anonymous as in the two weeks of packing, a good portion of my time was given over to sorting through my stuff and securing it and suffering, deeply, as I put stuff out on the curb to be taken away. Stereos. Computers. Laserdiscs.

I now own no Laserdiscs. It nags at me a little but in a way living in the apartment has been good for my discipline. Let’s streamline our stuff. What do we actually need versus what was nice to have (or in the case of the not-so-nice stuff I had, what did I inflict on the rest of the family?) and I keep telling myself this is really what you want, not the stuff some lizard part of your brain says might be useful at some point in the future. Yes. Steady. And considering the amount of stuff we have in storage versus how much I’ve missed it so far (tally: one month, stuff in storage needed zero times) I’m wondering if I can’t get rid of more. More. More is a wonderful thought, as I’m thinking of less. Even at work I’m convinced I have too much stuff, junk I never need or needed.

So that ‘s me so far here. Terror. And excitement too I suppose. It’s an amazing opportunity for us and I hope we make the most of it. You get a chance to try again: what do you change this time?

Mike

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