Tuesday, November 07, 2006

..Ch-ch-ch-changes


I cleaned out a closet recently. And when I came to all my business suits used in corporate life, I took a deep breath and put them in the "Charity" bag.

When I arrived in NYC in the early 80's, I was going through a dreadful divorce. I didn't know what to do. I ended up getting a job in a NYC office that was the North American Headquarters for a British lodging-related company. Soon I managed a department there, and the rest is history with about 20 years of my life (SURPRISINGLY) spent in the corporate world of upper management -- except for the last 5 or so...when I have worked as an independent consultant. I have tightened my belt, learned to live more economically and relished the change from the corporate insanity that America has become.

And there I was, standing at the door of my closet, taking out he most serious suits and donating them. Out went the sensible work pumps as well. I was abruptly admitting the end to a phase in my life. Not only do I not want to return to corporate life, at age 56 (almost 57) I could not return if I tried. 57 year old executives, no matter how talented and accomplished, are not in demand. But that is neither here nor there, as the reality is -- I don't want to ever return to that life.

It has been interesting paring down the expense level in my life -- and lovely. I still have enough to make me a zillionaire in most 3rd world countries. I am just fine and earn a good if modest living at what I do. If I wanted to be a lot more aggressive, I would earn more. But I don't.

I look around me at friends who buy houses that are 10 times the size of what they need, and who fill them with "stuff". I do not understand it. It is their path, however, and they will learn what they need to, I am sure. It is just not my path.

I mention friends with houses, because I am looking to buy a little house in western Massachusetts. I have never owned a house, but at my age it is time to put down a root and to secure a dwelling. I am looking for something compact, manageable, large enough for overnight company and some modest entertaining, and with enough yard for a big dog, a garden, maybe a tomato plant or two.

I have started the search and, like the closet discovery, I am learning all sorts of things about myself and decisions I made without consciously making them -- especially my attitudes about "home". I think I didn't buy a house before because I was afraid to commit. I was never sure where I would live next. But now there is a good reason to return "home" to New England, and a substantial community of old dear friends who want me to do just that.

It is funny to have come full circle. I left my home town at age 19 swearing to never return to live there. It was small; it was provincial; it was insular; yadda yadda yadda.

Now, it looks charming. And warm. And welcoming.

God seems to have done some serious work in my heart over the past few years -- although it seems to have been a fairly smooth time, everything has turned upside down or inside out. Romance zoomed out. I worked in England for a year. I saw 9/11 happen. I left corporate life. My father moved in with a woman. I decided to move to Arizona. My father got very ill. Then he died. Unpleasantness during and after his death (enough said). Unsettledness about direction of life of work of dwelling. Whew !!

There is huge relief in having decided at all.

I want a house. In a place I love. With a dog. Near friends. I want the kind of life that makes roots possible. Can this be me speaking?

Lord, where are you sending me now?

--David Bowie --
Strange fascination, fascinating me
Changes are taking the pace I'm going through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-Changes
Oh, look out you rock 'n rollers
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-Changes
Pretty soon you're gonna get a little older
Time may change me
But I can't trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can't trace time

5 Comments:

Blogger samtzmom said...

Love the illustration!

Charming, warm, welcoming... all wonderful things. So happy you have come full circle and know where you want to root. You've already bloomed, so this will make your footing even a bit stronger. Love and hugs to you dear friend for all the happiness you so richly deserve.

9:10 AM  
Blogger The Harbour of Ourselves said...

Mata

how much do you think your gypsy blood has contributed to your tapestry of life? Do you think there was ever a choice for you - or do you think the wonderful restlesness of your soul (which i think is beautiful) was ultimately a gene you had to carry - i ask because it's a question i pose to myself too

i hope that rambled garbled question makes sense - i just wonder sometimes where the nurture and nature thing caresses and collides and where it ultimately cannot dovetail - maybe i think too much

10:31 AM  
Blogger Mata H said...

Samtzmom -- Thanks for the kind words.

Harbour -- I really thinj it is more along the lines of being afraid to commit to a place...like the women who cannot commit to one man because the next man might be better. Sometimes I am like a kid - I catch myself sometimes staying awake when I am tired because I don't want to miss anything -- how crazy is that? Is the hyper-curiosity genetic? Maybe -- I sure have paid a price for it. It feels different at 56 than it did at 36.

This kind of rootedness now feels like an adventure -- something I have never done -- whereas in my youth it may have felt like a burden.

I do know that part of my wanting to not be in my old home town had something to do with not wanting to be near a mean-spirited father. With him gone, the landscape feels much more open.

But then again -- it feels good to be doing this, even tho it is a big Meaning Formation Time -- as Simon says:

Have you ever experienced a period of grace
When your brain just takes a seat behind your face
And the world begins The Elephant Dance
Everything's funny
Everyone's sunny
You take out your money
And walk down the road

11:25 AM  
Blogger Mata H said...

samtzmom -- by the way, have you ever heard the Paul Simon album "Hearts and Bones"?

11:25 AM  
Blogger samtzmom said...

No Mata, I haven't... will have to check it out on iTunes. :c)

6:35 AM  

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