My beginning here in Arizona is not-so-new anymore, but was important nonetheless. Beginnings of all kinds signify change, and most of us have encountered them.
The messiness of it, how confusing it is to stand on the edge of basically your whole life as you know it, and on the other side, an entirely new life, which hasn't been built yet.
To be in the chasm between those places, is to be no place at all. Like being sucked into a vacuum.
Okay, I never got sucked up into a vacuum, but beginning again with a blank slate can almost feel like that. It was over two years ago so I'm not in that space anymore, but I remember the feeling when I moved to Phoenix from Raleigh. One night, I remember thinking that there was no one in the world that I knew still awake; it was about 11 PM in Phoenix, so that would make sense with almost everyone living on the east coast. Still, something about the time zone shift was throwing me off. Perhaps I always liked the feeling of knowing that there were people in the world that I was connected to, on a daily basis. Then when they were far away, they just seemed, far away.
I kept having a similar feeling that I had early on in my move to Raleigh nine years before. Who would really know if I fell into a ditch on a drive home? Surely, my boyfriend would know. But, it was just the point that I didn't really have people yet that was strange and eerie. In Raleigh, I quickly developed odd connections that I later realized were a little quirky, and I wonder if they somehow relate to the idea that it helps me to have a wide community. I like to know people and have people know me. Maybe it's the fact that I've lived on my own and in different places for over a decade, but there's something to the folks at Whole Foods knowing you enough to know that if you're not there for a month (or let's face it a week), something's wrong.
In Phoenix, I didn't have any routines yet, any places I frequented. I wanted to give myself time to get adjusted, and part of me also felt like there was adventure and excitement in the anonymity of it all, but in reality, it was actually lonely. That word carries a lot of weight and maybe even stigma, so it's hard to say and talk about, but I guess it\is probably true.
New Beginnings by their nature, being new, carry with them a lot of white space, like the blank page of a new year or a fresh calendar that is both inviting and freeing but also can be a little frightening and lonely if you're not sure what will fill the pages.
A new beginning, of course, also can carry with it the joy of the opportunities it brings and the sense of wonder with where life will lead with the new start. We humans are good at editing everything, and there is something to be said for beginning something, a journey or a project, or another chance, and being willing to see it for what it is, fresh and unedited.
On New Beginnings and the threat of busy--
My calendar did that for me when I moved to Phoenix. While I'm not the best at keeping up with plans, I remember that I used to (and still do to an extent) but tons of dates in my phone of appointments and events and especially social activity. Then, all of a sudden, the plans stopped. I still had a life when I moved here, but I moved here in early September, and I didn't have a job or really any appointments to keep, so in essence there was nothing in my calendar. I went from having a flurry of activity and I'm-so-busy (AKA so important...) to I am not busy at all, let me see what ONE activity or hobby I would like to have in this new life. I remember talking to a good friend from college who knows me well, and we were brainstorming, and she was saying, "I'm sure there's one new thing you could do. Letsee..." As if, the hardest thing in the world was figuring out how I could possibly add one thing to my life consisting of no set plans.
Now, I haven't gone to the other extreme, thankfully, but I am once again a very active person. It would not cross my mind that I have to think of how to find ONE thing to ADD to my life; if anything I would think once again, am I doing too much?
I don' know if I think about it on a conscious level, but moving here made me consider, in an almost existential way, how everything we try and 'build' for ourselves is really smoke and bubbles when you stop and think about it.
I'm not saying this is a story about loss, because I still have a lot of the friends I had and I didn't need to hang onto my busy life and all the things I built in my old life anyway. I guess this is a story about letting go and then it is a story about starting again, but that this process happens a lot in our lives, in different ways.
I am learning to hold things loosely. That's not so easy, but so many different aspects of my new beginnings have taught and are teaching me how to do this.
I got rid of most of what I owned because I had a lot of crap I didn't need to lug across the country, and I don't miss one thing. It was a cleansing process, even as the process itself was weird because I had to go through so much of what was part of my life for so long and then it was just so physical, letting it go.
I remember more than anything I just wanted to know what it was going to be like being on new ground, so different, this Arizona soil, so far way. Would I feel the same? It sounds so silly writing this two years later.
God puts me in positions where I have to grow and change, even as it has been a challenge for me. I don't know if I saw life with new eyes when I first got here, or if I wanted to keep the same vision I had from before; it was difficult to adjust my senses to what was in front of me.
On New Beginnings and Love --
There's a lot to say about new beginnings and love. Much of it I have resisted saying in writing over the past couple years. I am doing whatever I can, while at the same time realizing a lot of it isn't even doing what I can, because this love journey is also about letting go, too. That is the hardest part.
Like I said, letting go has felt like a hard thing, until I realize there can be beauty in it, like letting go of old stuff from my house and holding everything loosely. Softly.
Part of that, I wonder, is being soft with myself, and truthful. About what new beginnings have meant for me in love.
How can love be about letting go?
Love is starting to be more about letting go and surrendering than about holding on, even though my first instinct is to hold on.
Love can be consistent. Love can keep moving and flowing. Love doesn't have to force. Love can be brave, even in the face of uncertainties and starts and restarts and fears and when you clean out all the weight you left behind from your previous life and you're not yet feeling light because you're wondering where it all went -- love is patient.
Love is not perfect, because all these things are from God and shown to us from God. So I realize I'm going to do them not right sometimes. I am so thankful for the journey and really thankful for writing it all down now.
As I've seen before, writing lights the way.