Kim and I have been married almost 29 years, and during that period we have moved 9 times, with #10 due in May or June when we hope our new cottage will become our home. That sounds like a lot, and it is a lot.
Why do it?
If left to my own devices, I probably would never move. But Kim is an artist, and she craves change. One way she expresses her creative energy is in creating our home, an art that involves, in her case anyway, much more than the old-fashioned term “homemaker” suggests. I suspect that if she does not feed that craving by creating homes, she will feed it by dumping me.
Don’t get me wrong here. Though I probably would never move, I am always glad, and grateful to Kim, when we do. Sometimes I just need a boot or a nudge to get me going, much the way Kim has to get me out the door to go birding or exploring. I love it, but my general stability of character brings with it some inertia. As in, “inert,” which my dictionary defines as “having no inherent power of action, motion or resistance.” My lack of resistance serves me well, though, because I benefit from going along with Kim’s creative energy and direction.
Why move? I looked out the window at the fresh snowfall this morning. The world was transformed. OK, so it wasn’t transformed all that much since we had nearly a foot of snow two days ago, but still – it looked fresh and new, and that was exciting, and the suddenness of the transformation was part of the thrill. (Gradual transformations, such as getting old, are not so thrilling.) My excitement dimmed a bit when I scraped snow off of my car and got some up my sleeve, but my main point remains: transformations can be energizing, and moving usually means a dramatic transformation.
The kind of move that we have experienced, and are anticipating, is a bit like rebooting a computer. While I admit that I don’t really understand what happens when a computer reboots, Wikipedia tells me it means: “To cause a computer to execute its boot process, effectively resetting the computer and causing the operating system to reload, especially after a system failure.” I’m not aware of any “system failure,” unless you count cancer, but I do like the idea of reloading the operating system, which I take to mean our deepest values and the activities that go with them. We love living in our condo here in the old asylum – and it has been an asylum – but Who We Are involves stepping out the door into the woods, working in the garden or whatever landscape we come up with, seeing and photographing our birds and butterflies, and watching the light change during the day. On our last visit to the construction site we saw coyote tracks in the snow, and we know we have a resident fox.
And we will enjoy the energizing – though probably exhausting – process of rebooting: getting our stuff out of storage, arranging our furniture, setting up office and studio spaces, placing all the kitchen gear, creating new patterns routines: reloading our operating systems.
I think of what Woody Allen said in Annie Hall: “A relationship, I think, is like a shark, you know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.” Kim and I may be a lot of things, but one thing we are notis a dead shark.