Time passing is marked in so many different ways. We remember major events based on their significance in our lives, and after a few years, we may have to rack our brains to figure out the date. My parents used to ask me how old I was, because my birth was one of their mileposts. We remember what car we were driving, whether we were still in school, who was born, who got married, who was still alive. For me, the main milepost is where I was living. This is the 28th house of my adult life. This time, the move closely corresponds with a new year, which is my other favorite time marker. It makes me think of everything that has changed in my life since the last time we moved.
When we moved into our now-old house, we had had a challenging year. We were coming to roost after three moves in about seven months, with two job changes to boot. We thought we were going to have to move to Alabama, a place thousands of miles from friends and family, where we knew nobody whosoever, on two weeks’ notice. Somehow, miraculously, my husband secured a better job here in Southern California instead. Our heads were still spinning, and I still had my Alabama road trip spreadsheet on my home screen. My stepdaughter had just started her first semester of college, and we were living as empty nesters for the first time in our marriage. We rented the house at the last minute, signing the papers electronically in the car on the way back to our old-old house. Neither of us had ever lived in such a tight rental market before, and we were bewildered by the way that every house we saw for rent was unavailable later the same day the listing was posted. The pace of life had changed in the same way as the speed of freeway traffic.
When we moved in, we had four things on our minds, aside from the matter of our kid’s fresh independence weighing on our hearts.
Losing the extra weight took a bit longer. I had put on 17 pounds in 2013, and my health was in a tailspin. I wasn’t sleeping, I was getting migraines on a weekly basis, and I was having fibromyalgia flare-ups for the first time in over a decade. The stress had caught up to me. I already knew quite well that all my various health issues correlate perfectly with weight gain, and there was nothing in the extra visceral fat that was pleasing or helpful to my life. I could only really fit in two pairs of pants and three shirts, and we couldn’t exactly afford to buy me an entire new wardrobe. I started running again: 38 miles per pound burned. Then I started keeping a food log, and I decided to make “healthy weight for my height” my goal weight. I went on a strict diet for three months. That changed my life. For most of the 2 years since we moved to that house, I have stayed in the 120-125 pound range (I’m 5’4”). I also trained for, and ran, my first marathon. Oh, and I did wind up with a whole new wardrobe, just two sizes smaller instead of two sizes larger.
We came to SoCal in a state of chaos. Our family life had been sundered, we were broke, our truck was on its last legs, our dog seemed to be dying, the movers broke some of our stuff, and we were moving into a dumpy little place down the street from a smoke shop, a massage parlor, and a Popeye’s Chicken franchise. Two years later, everything is different. The new vet put our dog on a new medication regimen for his Addison’s disease, and he’s so frisky at 7 that nobody would ever guess he is ill. I have transformed from an overweight, ill, headachy person to a lean marathoner. My husband got promoted into management. I started my coaching business. Our kid has been getting straight A’s. The old truck died with over 200,000 miles on it, and we replaced it with (don’t laugh) a VW Jetta, just in time for the emissions scandal.
Moving again is exciting. I can only wonder what will happen in our lives in the next two years, or rather, what we will make happen. Last time, we felt that we were at the mercy of fate. This time, we are moving under our own power, a steamship instead of a storm-tossed sailboat. We are “done” with many of the crises that distracted us last time. “Done” with the health problems and the weight gain. “Done” with the high-maintenance old vehicle. “Done” with parenting; she’s 21, independent, and thriving. “Done” with downsizing and streamlining our stuff. The new house was just remodeled and meticulously detailed by our landlord. There’s nothing for us to fix. In the New Year, in this new home, all there is for us to do is to live and to grow into a bigger life.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.