Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rambling: Reassuring a Homesick Brain

So, we packed all our stuff and moved ourselves to Oregon. We'd lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for twenty-two years. We'd lived in the same home there for fifteen years. We don't live there any more.

And my brain is having trouble with that. I don't mean that I'm unhappy about it; I'm not. We've wanted to live in the World's Best House (WBH) in Oregon since we bought it ten years ago.  Our reaction to moving consists of remarks like "Woohoo!" and "It's about time!" But all the same, there's something going on. My brain declines to believe that we've moved.

Do you create little movies in your mind, pictures of what you plan to do next? I do. And my movies are filmed on the wrong set. As I tiredly walk home, my mind anticipates collapsing on the couch in the house we no longer have. As I gingerly bag stinky trash, it anticipates the dumpster at the complex that we used to live in.

This never happened on any of the ten years' worth of vacation trips between California and the WBH. Then, I always knew where I was and where I was going to be. It's only since we walked out of the California place for the last time, never to see it again, that my mind suddenly, stubbornly, decided that it still lives in California.

Now, I've always yearned for past homes; that's not new. When I was a kid, I regularly had dreams of searching for old places, as if reaching my old school, the old library, some old loved place would make everything better. But that was back when the new home was less happy than the old one, not, as now, the other way around.

That previous state of things is, perhaps, the point. In writing this, I started cataloging places that I lived when I was a kid, and what I loved about them. There was no particular pattern of better or worse about the places themselves. But as time passed, my parents steadily grew more and more distant -- from each other, from the world, and from their kids. That meant that the past was always better than the present, and the present was always better than the future. Walking away from an old home was walking away from memories of better times than I could ever hope for in the new home. My mind learned that moving was all about loss.

There was a time when that reversed. When we were living in my last childhood home, the house that my mother still lives in, we took my brother to college. When I saw his dorm room I was consumed with envy, but this time the yearning was for the future, not the past. I wanted to be gone, out of a sad house with sad people, to a home of my own. Even a dorm home of only a few dozen square feet. And eventually, that happened, and I met Himself, and Himself and I have been creating homes since the summer after junior year, and those homes get better, not worse, as time goes on. It's all different now.

But all the same, fifteen years is fifteen years, and apparently my brain is scared that long-ago patterns will resume. I suspect that I just need to give it a little time.

Image: Wikimedia Commons


  1. I hope you settle in in due course. Meanwhile I must confess I actually thought you already lived in Oregon! How psychic am I?

    : - )

  2. Oh, I do - that is, I have since March, but my brain _still_ hasn't fully accepted it. Before that, there was mainly vacationing and gardening in Oregon.