Shifting Rhythms

Music blue
It’s too soon to draft a  memoir about our move, but it’s not too soon to begin reflecting on my sense of things. As I sat is a glorious state of almost forgotten peace and relaxation earlier today, I realized that (speaking only for myself) we’ve entered a new phase, and not a minute too soon.

That corner was actually turned the day we were told that the photographer who would make our house look amazing on the web needed to arrive three days early. Before that I’d been in a total panicked frenzy, wondering how on earth we would ever possibly meet our self-imposed deadline for listing. But right on schedule, birds sang, bells rang, and angels descended. Only one room remained out of bounds for the photographer.

Tension drained.

Then, a few hours before we were scheduled to fly to Austin to find a house, that last room clicked into alignment, ready for showing. We flew off to Austin a few hours later. For three days we looked, well-prepared with seven months of web research. We did find a home, holding our breath until a previous negotiation fell through at exactly the right time. So we never needed our backup choices.
Once that contract was signed, life became large, calm and amazing. Pondering the shift, I noticed some similarity to a symphony. Each movement has a different rhythm and tone. So it has been with us. Our transition symphony seems to have :

Deciding to do it. This was the beginning. We’ve talked for years about relocating. Our three children are widely scattered. We can only be near one. Which one? Or maybe suit ourselves and go somewhere else? We lived in a state of paralysis by analysis for a few years. Slowly, a decision emerged from the fog.

Public announcement. We “came out” in Austin last winter at a huge party at our daughter's home. Through the course of the evening, “We’re thinking about moving here” morphed into “We’re planning to move here.” We called a real estate agent and began our search.

Big shift!

Delaying phase. We both had commitments in Pittsburgh that had to be completed. Although listing around the first of April would have been ideal, it did not work out that way. I stayed mellow and loose through this time. 

Big shift!

Pressure phase. When not much had happened around the first of May, I got nervous. I got tense, fretful, even bitchy. I lived in a state of chronic fear and anxiety, dreading the thought of yet another winter here, and even more, the loss of time to dig in down there. As much as I’ve loved the time we’ve spent here and all our friends, it’s time to go! My clock is ticking louder every day. Productive years could possibly be counted on fingers. No time to waste! Committing to a listing date amplified that pressure several fold. Then, Ta Dah! We were done.

Big shift.

Transition. From the time that final room was vacuumed through the time when we signed our offer, was an intense transition, packed into a very few days. As I said earlier, signing the contract was an enormous relief. Time to kick back for a day or two. Intense or not, it was different from the previous phase.

Packing up. That’s where we are right now. Things may not stay mellow. Pressure is sure to increase.

Projected big shift.

Moving. Driving two cars from here to there and getting all the loose ends in place at our new house is bound to be intense.

Projected big shift.

Settling in. I’m hoping that after the first few days,  settling in will be a relaxed affair. No need to rush. This will be the end of this story.

I can’t tell the story yet, but I can see the plot. I see tension arcs within each of these phases, or movements. I think I see the thread holding it all together, but that’s another post for another day.

Write now: Think of a period of time when you went through a transition. Jot down some thoughts about turning points or Big Shifts as the transition evolved. Can you map out a story along that path? It may be a large story or a shorter one. Give it a try.

12 comments :

Karen Walker said...

This is quite a journey you are on, Sharon. I am so happy you've arrived at this stage. I think you have more than "counting fingers" time left to be productive, dear friend.

Sharon Lippincott said...

Thanks Karen. I hope you are right, but one never knows for sure what lies around the bend. Many factors other than personal health can cause disruption. Que sera, sera.

Linda Hoye said...

You make it sound so easy! That things flowed the way they did to lead you to your new home in Austin seem to say that the move, and your new home, were meant to be. Wishing you well as you deal with the many details involved in moving and looking forward to hearing how it all flows.

Sharon Lippincott said...

Linda, what you read above is a synopsis that barely hints at all the twists and turns. That pressure phase was anything but easy. Class five whitewater rapids, I'd say. The early phase was more like drifting around a lake that had little current. The full story will have plenty of tension and perhaps even a bit of trauma.

You went through this process yourself not long ago. Your experience looked smooth and easy to me. I've thought a lot about you and wondered what really transpired. So much more than the world saw, peeking in through a window. I'm sure of that.

kathleen pooler said...

Sharon, I love how writers find stories in everyday living. Each event/phase is another note on the scale and you have captured these moments on paper so they all flow together into your own symphony. Enjoy your settling-in phase. Wishing you well as you pull it all together.

Sharon Lippincott said...

Kathy, you make a powerful point about finding story in every day living. I hadn't thought of it quite that way. How often we tell others, even non-writers, "You should write that story down!" As writers we face two challenges: find the stories worth writing (if we wrote them all we wouldn't have time to experience more), and then to DO IT.

Linda said...

I'm so happy for you, Sharon, and wish you the best in your relocation. I agree with Kathy, our common, everyday lives are full of stories worth sharing. Everyone is looking forward to your next memoir! :)

Amber Lea Starfire said...

Congratulations on the move, Sharon! I love the comparison of symphony to transition - tension, release.

JoAnn Melton said...

Having lived in my childhood home for the first 18 years of my life, followed by numerous moves (would take a while to count), I know the work involved as well as the excitement of new adventures. You will have so many new tales of your new home that we look forward to reading.

Sharon Lippincott said...

Linda, I'd better be careful about saying too much about it, because we all know that fine stories are like fine wine, best left to age awhile. Also, recent studies have shown that talking about a goal gives your brain a sense of completion. If you are serious about achieving one, don't tell anyone. Yeah, well ... you can hardly hide marathon prep, my brother would assure me. Anyway, it will be awhile.

Sharon Lippincott said...

Thanks Amber. I'm gratified that the metaphor resonates with you. Hopefully our paths will cross down there one of these days.

Sharon Lippincott said...

JoAnn, I do know that you could write several volumes about changing places. I do look forward to those new southern adventures, and I look forward to reading about yours. Keep those fingers moving!