The hustle of moving is over

The hustle of moving is over.

God, say it again.

The hustle of moving is over.

I got rid of objects for which I no longer feel love. I said goodbye to my Nashville peeps. My love and my cats and all of my belongings are in the new place. We are 93% unpacked. I’ve driven to work a few times now taking the exact same route. I have a grocery store and a backup grocery store that I like.

While I was busy going through the motions, my energy became completely focused on building the new.

It’s magical, right? That my energy could shift so completely and I would not even recognize it until later?

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment my energy shifted. The last day we woke up in Nashville, I was focused on the task ahead of packing the car. It was more about not forgetting something or accidentally locking the keys in the house. When we got in the car to pull away, I was focused on settling in to the car with three vocal cats and running through my mental checklist. As we drove through downtown and crossed Broadway, I remember being struck by how this neon-studded stretch of Nashville would always feel absurdly normal and oh, yeah, what’s the easiest route to get to I-65 from here?

The drive was mostly uneventful. We stopped to grab some food in Seymour, Indiana. I remember watching two people in uniforms near the soda fountain flirt with one another and I remember thinking: God, enjoy this time where the flirting makes you feel so alive and full of light and hope and daring. (It’s like a dreamspace, that time just before something happens.)

We arrived in Chicago ahead of schedule. Signing paperwork to get the keys for our apartment was surreal, and I remember just staring at the woman behind the desk with whom I had been happy and energetic a few weeks before and thinking: I hope this doesn’t take too much longer.

Keys in hand, my focus was on putting the cats in rooms and unloading necessities from the car. My back had been sore for many days in a row, and I was truly physically and emotionally depleted.

After we left, we went to the closest Whole Foods and ate $30 worth of food from the hot bar. I bought a quiche for the next morning in case we missed the continental breakfast.

I had the next day off– a Tuesday. I know we ran errands around town, because it was strange to do so: everything we bought had to be shoved into the car, and then carried upstairs, and then assembled or hung or both. We created a tremendous amount of work for two people who had been so, so tired. But we knew – and a good question is, would I choose differently next time? – that we had a small window of time before we would be preoccupied with unpacking and finding places for things. We could have done anything (no rules!), and I pitched everything from the movies to a museum to staying in bed all day… and yet we agreed that what we wanted to do was run errands.

The next day, I was at work by 8:30am.
(That’s a whole different story.)

So when did that shift happen? Like most things, is it fair to say it was gradual and then all at once?

Our household arrived that following Saturday. I took the next Monday off from work so that I had time to wake up and be in my new house.

We had a houseguest that Thursday night, and the following weekend, we hosted friends who live on the North Shore.

Just yesterday, I think it was, I emptied my suitcase.

Maybe that’s the moment I was waiting for: the symbolic “I am no longer transient.” I am not trying to be sane while I’m moving because I’m not actually moving anymore.

That process is over, and now I’m fully invested in the next: which is building a new nest, exploring my new surroundings, and deepening my inner work.

I made it!


It’s hard today.

Today, it’s hard to be here. I’m freaking out internally and the evidence is a mountain of questions: What was I thinking? How will I do this? I get mental flashes of myself stranded in a snowstorm on the side of the road. Of my vehicle totaled. Of myself crying because it’s so hard to be here when it seems like the elements are stacked against you. (Why did I relent? Why did I think this was okay?)

And then I remember that hundreds of thousands of people live in this area. That humans are nimble, and we adjust to climates ranging from arctic desert to… well, to desert desert. And I remind myself: I, too, will adjust.

Occasionally, I picture Christmas movies set in the Midwest: all those kids in big puffy snow suits playing ice hockey on ponds and licking telephone poles and so on. I think to myself: people live in MINNESOTA. They live in Canada! They live in Russia and Finland and Norway. Thriving in the Chicago winter requires the right gear and there’s nothing stopping me from getting every last bit of gear that I may want or need.


Do you guys know anything about snow shoes?


I saw a quote recently that I really liked; the jist of it was that birds don’t land on branches because they trust trees. They land on branches because they trust their own wings.

There’s something in there for me – about trusting my ability to adapt when fear and self-doubt starts to creep in. I’ve got a fantastic track record so far of adapting well to circumstance… so… there’s that.


Plus, I’m 1000% certain I am in need of a good workout.


I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity

“There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

- John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars


Soundtrack: Jasmine Thompson

Y’all: I am loving this cover by Jasmine Thompson of Passenger’s Let Her Go.  It came on my Pandora station while getting ready one morning and I had to track it down!

This is officially the 10th song I’ve posted under the tag “soundtrack.”  I don’t think I’ve ever shared the intention behind posting songs.  Whenever I leave Nashville — or whenever I stop writing Nashlandia — I fully intend to make a mixed CD with the songs on it.  Sort of a musical scrapbook, if you will.

To see the other “soundtrack” posts, check here:


Bruce Munro's installation at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens

The siren song of the itinerant traveler

“I understood the siren song of the itinerant traveler, followed its tune to distant shores and faraway lands.  …Every journey has its end.  The trick, of course, is to recognize it.  I followed the lure of the drink for far too long, never seeing that, invariably, it always took me to the same miserable place.  Finally, hopping off that steamer to nowhere, I felt the same profound need to make up for lost time, to establish a root somewhere, to put a declarative end to one life and to immerse myself, both feet in, into another.  I wanted the clean slate and the fresh start.  It takes a lot of weeding and tilling of the soil… but I knew how to do that. You do it one day at a time.”

- J. Maarten Troost, author of four travel memoirs in his latest titled, Headhunters on my Doorstep.