Sunday, December 5, 2010
letting go of longing
Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Writing prompt courtesy of Alice Bradley)
I don’t know that I have ever completely let go of anything. There are boxes of old letters, cards, stories, books, and clothes in the barn that serve as a testament to my sentimentalism. But I am happy to say that I am in recovery, and my rehabilitation involves not only getting rid of yellowed letters from boyfriends who never really meant that much to me, anyway; it also involves letting go in the spiritual sense. This year, I attempted to let go of longing.
I have spoken (and written) often of my desire to be elsewhere, to live elsewhere—more specifically, in Vermont, or New Hampshire, or in some state where the mountains are higher than 2,000 feet. When Bryan and I first got together, this was our plan: we would save some money, look for work, and relocate in some cool town out west, at the foot of say, Mount Hood, or Mount Rainier, or Mount Shasta. I would take Flattop Mountain in Anchorage, but that’s too radical for my Connecticut-born-and-bred hubby.
It didn’t work out that way. Obviously. And location, or relocation, has been the subject of more than a few heated discussions. I can’t be my fully realized self here, I would insist. Sense of place is everything to me. I’m withering. Yeah, I can be pretty dramatic when I get going. And it’s not purely for the sake of drama: I really believe that I was meant to be in the mountains, as corny as it sounds.
But how can I spend too much time brooding when I left the mountains to be here? I could argue that I’m here because Bryan is here. I left Vermont to be here. But there are many folks for whom sense of place is so strong that no person could ever detract from their dreams of being in Alaska, or Seattle, or wherever they happen to be. So really, I’m here because I chose to be here, and though I can’t deny that I would rather be somewhere else, longing is a dangerous and destructive activity.
Instead of longing, I’m hoping, planning, acting. I’m cleaning up the clutter and working on my resume. I’m encouraging Bryan (who swears he really does want to move) to do the same. I’m putting the word out, and friends are responding with job prospects. In short, I’m trying to get us in a position to move (our barn is filled to the brim with cars, car parts, furniture, boxes of memorabilia, and probably mice), rather than lamenting the fact that my friends are disappearing to Utah and New Hampshire and even Brooklyn (which is a very cool borough, though not a place I would choose to live).
And in letting go of longing, I’m discovering a tremendous amount of beauty right here in the Shire. I’m a mile from trails in almost every direction. I’m a short drive from the shore. In the fall, I can look out my window and see a myriad of reds, golds, and oranges. The mountains are smallish, but the trails are rocky and deliciously challenging on a mountain bike. Guess it ain’t so bad.
Brooding is boring. Longing is lame. I’m moving so I can move on.
This post is part of a daily writing project. For more information, click here.