October 1, 2017 (Sunday)

by Yule Heibel on September 30, 2018

And now it’s October, and, back in B.,  I am already shrinking in fear from the wild idea of moving to New York for, say, a “sabbatical” (whatever its length). Why? Fear of giving up the creature comforts, the happy conveniences of living on a large footprint and accessing familiar services, from doctors and specialists to handymen to supermarkets to parks to oceanfronts to nature. What’s missing from that casual list? Cities. That’s what New York would give me in spades: city times ten. And honestly, also all the rest of it. It would just be different.

But moving… again… ugh. I would finally have to declutter the basement, force the kids to sort through what they want to keep. Toy collections consisting of prize bits still hanging around, despite all the sales and giveaways of same prior to leaving Victoria. And, if I have grandchildren, wouldn’t I want to keep this stuff for them? My first instinct is to say, yes of course. But storage… Then there are all of my bazillion personal papers – lecture notes, research, etc.: a filing cabinet or two full. I could get a fancy scanner and digitize everything. It would be a last resort, though, for I’ve learned that digitized material becomes forgotten material – and sometimes inaccessible, depending on the format it’s stored in. Who (or what) reads floppy discs these days? Right?

And then other things come up to pull me back to this area, fantastically, full of fantasy in places. There’s a Jungian study group starting up in G.; I’m interested in attending. I googled the leader, a semi-retired psychotherapist who lives on Cape A., on the ocean. I see that, and I think, “I want that”: a house on the water. Then I wonder, though, if she ever dreamed of living in New York the way I have – and still do, in my crazier, braver moments. So she’s semi-retired and facilitates workshops on this Cape, big deal. So she lives on the wild water near an old quarry, big deal. All that stuff looks shiny-shiny to me, and highly desirable because it speaks of stability and a well-ordered life – of g.o.d., “good orderly directions,” as Julia Cameron would put it. And I want that, too.

But then again, perhaps zigzagging is my super-power . It’s still g.o.d., even if it looks a little off-beat. After all, everything I’ve ever achieved with regard to, well, achievement, has been totally unpredictable from the point of view of my origins, my class and family background, my shoddy public school education (misspent skipping out and getting high, ’cause that’s what was encouraged in the 1960s and 1970s…). So why not move to NYC in my 60s and chart a completely different course into “elderhood”? The waterfront home (that is, the house-as-home, a symbol of stability, arrival, safe harbor) might still come along anyway. But it is pretty obvious that abiding in the comforts of the traditional house here and nowwill simply mean continuing stagnation, even if it does seem comforting and therefore tempting.

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