How Did I Get Here?

Do you ever just stop what you're doing, look around, and really take in your surroundings? I do, often it seems. I have developed a habit of walking around our house, entering each room, and seeing (but kind of not really believing) it's all real. Maybe that sounds a little weird, but really, how the hell did I get here? It's hard for me to grasp.

I spent the last week organizing four years worth of digital pictures, and then moved a bit further backward into the land of actual photos and photo albums. Life in Philadelphia, and Washington, and trips here and there... it is a touch disconcerting to see aspects of my life turn into memories infiltrated by people whose names I can't even remember...memories that were my reality but are now completely different from what currently surrounds me.

Sometimes I'm conflicted. When I was traveling a lot and living out of two suitcases for months at at time or even when I was simply moving between apartments and houses with friends, I missed the stability and comforts of having one location that housed all of "me". I missed the ability to cook consistent normal meals. I even missed having just one address and phone number to memorize for an extended period of time. At this point, I have so many old addresses and phone numbers mashed inside the segment of my brain designated for such things that I can't seem to get my current address or phone number right on the first try, ever. Mostly, I just missed the idea of a home.

Now, I have all the once missed components, but I occasionally have the urge to disappear into some new experience...perhaps an experience full of unknown cultural norms and language barriers and misunderstood explanations, perhaps a kind of confusion and cultural upheaval that forces personal change and new friendships. I guess I just miss that perspective.

The difference is I no longer want those experiences as a means of escape from my current life. That is no longer my norm. I love this life...this life I'm in right now. I don't want to leave it nor my husband, nor my pups, nor my backyard pool. Do you have any idea how much I wanted my own swimming pool growing up. I used to spend time with friends in our backyard on Fairdale Rd., loudly (and probably obnoxiously), discussing how hot we were and how nice it would be to take a dip in a pool. We'd do this with hopes that the neighbors, the ones who had an awesome in-ground swimming pool, would take pity on us and invite us over. Shockingly they did a few times, probably just so we'd shut up.

And who would have thought I'd be married right now? Not me, that's for sure. I don't want to provide too much detail, but it definitely seemed like the older I was getting (and the relationships I WAS having) the less inclined I was to want to marry. And then I met my husband, and he's remarkable. He is truly my best friend (cliche' or not) and he puts up with a whole lot of crazy (good crazy like let's play hide and seek with the dogs and then have a floating picnic before we cap off the night dancing around the house, not bad crazy like the Carrie Underwood song). I didn't have to give up or change any part of me to be with him. Our being together just works.

That's kind of how I feel about our move to Arizona too. It just kind of made sense. I'm about five years older than my parents were when they decided to move to Washington to change their own lives. I can't exactly speak for them, but that move across the entire United States was a big deal for all of us. At this time in my life, I can't really relate to people who have never moved from the place they grew up, and I genuinely don't mean that in a negative way. I just can't imagine what my own life would be like if I had stayed in Philadelphia all those years ago...if I had never moved...if I had never tried new things or met new people. I can't imagine not having the friends I have now, friends I never would have met if we never made that big move.

Husband and I have now lived in Arizona longer than we were together in Washington. We've started new lives down here just like my parents did which brings me back to my original thought. I look around at this beautiful house set alongside a state park (the same park where husband proposed), and I feel incredibly fortunate. I feel cared for and safe. I feel happy and settled. I feel content in the most positive way possible and I don't want any of it to change. I used to crave change to escape certain aspects of my life, and while there are bits that still tug at me, the newness brought about by change is no longer as desirable as what I have right here in front of me.

I guess this is growing up.


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