Time is relative.
Well … that depends on your relatives, of course. If you enjoy being with them, time moves more quickly than it does when you’re spending time with those relatives you abhor. Every family has its share of each. I enjoy spending (quickly passing) time with my nephews; but time drags to a crawl when I’m with my hairy aunt.
It’s easy to look back and see how quickly time has passed. It seems like I just graduated high school, but that was actually 25 years ago. If I take the time (ha!) to think through everything that has happened since then, it seems like there wasn’t enough time for all of those things to have happened. But they did. I graduated, got a job, got a different job, fell in love, moved away, got a new job, lost a dog, got a different job, fell in love, moved away, got a new job, lost a parent, lost a dog, lost the other parent … etc., etc.
And with each of those steps, there was always one thing in common- the time came when I was …
Moving on …
I’ve moved a lot in my life. Each time I do, I have stayed longer and longer in my new location. I never thought I would live in Wyoming for long at all; but at 10 years, it’s turned out to be the longest stretch in one place I’ve ever had as an adult. The jobs I currently have, I’ve had for the longest span of time as well.
(I’m either loyal, persistent, or stupid. I’ll allow you to pick two.)
Moving, of course, involves packing. My first major move was in 1996, when I left the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland to start over in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and that move only involved a duffle bag and two shipped boxes. I ended up arriving with half of what I expected, since the boxes ‘broke’ in transit and some of my belongings were ‘lost’.
I’m still bitter about that.
My move to Wyoming in January 2003 involved a vehicle hauling another vehicle, both packed with belongings, and another vehicle hauling a camper, also packed with belongings.
(I apparently tend to accumulate belongings.)
Moving on …
Packing is difficult. Not only because I sometimes have to make hard (and not so hard) decisions of what to keep and what to discard, but because very few of my belongings will be of the perfect shape and size to nicely fit inside my boxes. Additionally, metaphorically, it’s like I’m taking pieces of my life and putting them away for another time. Packing, in its odd little way, makes my life somehow … less.
Packing is not the fun part. The fun part is unpacking, especially when you’ve forgotten to label the boxes (like I tend to do) and don’t remember what’s inside (another tendency of mine). It’s like Christmas at times, especially when you unpack items you forgot you had. The hardest part is not getting distracted from the unpacking job to play with all your newfound toys.
(Well, it’s hard for me, at least. Those Transformers aren’t going roll out all by themselves, you know.)
Moving on …
It’s difficult to describe when one realizes that the time has come to move. It’s a general discomfort; a feeling of stagnation that slowly creeps upon me; the growing realization that the walls of the rut I’m in are getting too high to look over any more; the acceptance that the only solution is new surroundings, new opportunities, new stimulations. It’s not that the place I live in has somehow become less; it’s that I now require more.
And I’ve had that feeling for awhile lately.
I’m almost 43 years old, and as fast as the time has passed in the previous four decades (even when in the presence of my hairy aunt), I know that the next three decades (four if I’m lucky) will pass by even quicker, and there’s more I want to do with my life than I can right now where I am.
The feeling grew stronger, until finally, almost a month ago, I broke the news to my friends and employers that, as relative as time may seem, after 10 years once again I would be … moving on.
One thing that is not moving on is this column. It will continue to appear monthly in the Lander Journal. Some readers will receive this news with chagrin; I know this because they write letters to my editor. Other readers will be delighted; I know this because of the numerous phone calls I’ve received, the stops on the street to thank me for a laugh, and because they also write letters to my editor. (All of which are welcome! Even the unhappy ones. I have one spectacular specimen framed and hung with care above my desk. Or will, once more, when I unpack. And have a desk again.)
I’ll say goodbye and leave behind (and miss) friends and coworkers with whom I have enjoyed spending time, but I’ll take with me memories of those times as well spent, some of them fast; some of them slow; most of them at the standard rate of one second per second; none of them truly wasted.
And none of which I regret, as once again I find myself …