I’m sitting in Vint Coffee Shop in Louisville, Kentucky, over 2,000 miles from the place that was home to me for the past 50 years – the Pacific Northwest. I’ve been here 3 1/2 weeks, and it still feels surreal. Most days I forget that I am across the country from my friends and family. Except when I remember. Then it hits me in small waves of either nostalgia, melancholy, or uncontrollable eye-leaking.
As chaotic as it is to live inside my head, I like my outside world to have some semblance of order. I find comfort in the routine – such as knowing where to find an item in the grocery store (or even simply knowing where to find the grocery store). I did not appreciate the every day luxuries, or at least comforts, or my life. I even miss the routine of going to work each day. I miss spending time with my precious friends. I miss Vancouver’s Farmer’s Market, and day trips to Cannon Beach, and watching a movie relaxing in a recliner in the over-21 section while being served dinner at our favorite theater, Cinetopia.
When our furniture arrived a few weeks ago, I set up my aluminum baker’s rack only to find it strangely leaning to the right. I kept trying to figure out what was wrong with that silly rack. I looked at the bottom of each leg to see if they were uneven or if the cap on the bottom was missing. Instead I found that, living in a house built in 1900, my new home has more ‘character’ than I anticipated. There is not one straight wall or level floor. Even the brick chimney that separates our kitchen and dining room is leaning a bit. Don’t get me wrong – I love my new house. It has such history and amazing details. The thin wood slats on the original crooked flooring have years of stories to tell in every imperfection. But when my world has changed in almost every single aspect, it is just one reminder that things are a little off. Every single part of my life is ‘a little off’. (Those of you that know me are now chuckling because you know that ‘a little off’ is nothing new for me.)
And so I embrace the theme of my life, past and present. Everything is a little off. There are no level floors or straight walls. There is no clear cut path for this new life in Louisville. I don’t know if we will be here for one year or ten years. But here is what I DO know: everything up to this point has led us here. This is where we are supposed to be. I could spend all of my time and effort trying to make everything line up perfectly, but that would be futile. Life isn’t supposed to line up perfectly – and wouldn’t that be boring, anyway? I am learning to step out of my comfort zone and appreciate the unpaved path.
So for now, I will slip some folded cardboard under the wobbly leg of my baker’s rack, and carry on.