Wednesday, August 01, 2012

The Prodigal Citizen

From Bad Postcards via Debbi Pete

We are leaving Hawaii and moving to Minneapolis on October 1st. I have mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, moving to Minnesota feels like horrible moose sweaters, hot dish, color schemes in navy blue, forest green and burgundy, fat people bundled into sweatpants, and frigid, unrelenting ice, wind and darkness.

On the other hand, it feels like falling leaves and crisp apple orchard air, cross country skiing across a perfectly still field of snow in blinding white light, peonies speckled with ants, rhubarb pie cooling on the windowsill, the wind on your face and in your hair as you zip across the surface of a lake in July and Katie's baby in my arms, her smooth, warm head nestled into my neck.

It seems sudden, but it isn't really. Eric and I have been discussing it theoretically for awhile. And if the circumstances around us have conspired suddenly to send us moving down this path sooner than we might have liked, there is comfort in knowing the signs are there.

With all the moving I've done, you'd think a move back to where I grew up would be the easiest one of all. Not the case. I'm terrified of this move, terrified of staying in Minneapolis forever. I'm frightened of being in such close proximity to our families, whom I love and bear in equal measures. I'm afraid of continuing to drift, drift, drift. I'm scared of feeling cooped up and conventional.

Living in exotic and far flung places has allowed me to manufacture glamour and hide behind it when things were difficult. I set out to live off the beaten track, but sometimes this feels strangely irresponsible, as if what I am really doing is avoiding life's necessarily dull and tedious moments.

When I think about all the places I've lived and what I've learned from each, I can see that no environment sank into my bones. I meant to investigate the native cultures and traditions of each region, but never sunk my teeth in. Was that because these places didn't really belong to me? Is the choice to go back to Minnesota now at last a chance to commit to something, to see it through in the face of unpleasant realities? Or have Eric and I run out of good ideas and this is all that is left?

In Hawaii, I began to learn openness. I began trying to put myself in alignment with the world, instead of trying to make the world suit me. I learned not to hurry. I learned to practice doing each task required of me with quality. I learned to get comfortable with ambiguity. I learned that I can only change myself. I wasted time. I began learning to accept and investigate my emotions instead of reacting to them.

In Minneapolis, I want to learn how to love wholeheartedly, without judgement. I'd like to know passion. I'd like to know rigor, energy, power. I want to learn how to control and direct my energies, instead of watching them dissipate into the ether and years.

In my thirtieth year, I'd like to trust myself, let go and grow up. Perhaps admitting that this can be done anywhere, even in my hometown, is a perfect start. 


Gwen Edwards said...

This could be your greatest adventure of all. Obviously, you've accomplished what you came here to do and the island is ready to let you go. Best of luck to you and Eric. Please let me know if there's anyway we can help you out.

Marta said...

Hi! I've never been to Minneapolis, but I'm sure I would miss Hawaii if I lived there! Good luck in your new adventures!Here's the interview!

Rebekah said...

Oh, I am sorry to hear about you guys leaving. It was a pleasure to mingle through various Christmas parties and book club dinners. You are beautiful, creative, inventive, and positive. Good luck in the next chapter of your lives.

Nick Prigge said...

So I'm reading this, what, a month late, but this was a really heartfelt, honest confessional. Really enjoyed it, Becky. I admire you two for taking so many chances.

I sincerely hope it all breaks right for you in Minnesota. And hey, there can be poetry in frigid, unrelenting ice, wind and darkness.

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