My friend Granny Sue (who is totally awesome) always asks the best questions. She’s a storyteller and a true artist. You need evidence? Check out her blog – it’s just a click away. GS wonders about a compare/contrast between our life in New York City and our life now. What’s best and worst? What would we do differently? And so, I had an idea. I think I could best explain the differences between City Me and Country Me in a letter … to my Former Self. So, here goes.
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September 13, 2o1o
Dear Former Self,
If I were to tell you that you are going to be a completely different person after your move to the mountains, would you understand? I know you might believe it, but I wonder if you would understand it.
If you’re having in doubts about relocating to that charming small town in the mountains, don’t worry. You’re going to feel more open, more valued, and prouder of yourself than ever before.
Would you believe that you wouldn’t care if you ever directed another play or musical? Crazy, right? After twenty years! It’s true. You’re going to turn a bit of a corner, burnish some long forgotten skills, and you’re going to principally be a musician. (I know, it sounds ridiculous. But it’s true.)
Get involved. Don’t be afraid or nervous. You know that charming little church with the pipe organ that you always felt like you belonged at? You’re going to work there. And you’re going to play the clarinet in the community orchestra and in a few pits. And you’re even going to conduct a decent sized orchestra for a show or two.
In the city, I wonder if you realize that perhaps, you don’t have a lot of existential space to think and breathe and just plain play. It’s hard to explain, but trust me. Once you’re on your own land, where you can do whatever you want, in an area where you can swim in lakes and walk in the woods and build snow castles, you’ll feel less tugged-at. You’ll have room to just be. Does that make sense?
Keep in mind – The grocery isn’t going to have your favorite imported tea, a decent bookstore is going to be a forty-mile drive, and no one is going to pick up your garbage at the curb. However, those pricey veggies from the green market are going to come from your own and your neighbors’ overflowing gardens – no charge. Oh, and you won’t have to worry about clothes – Up here, as you as you don’t look like a hobo, you’re good to go. You’ll be all set in the culture department too – we have plenty of that. And that tiny cabin with the woodstove you’ve thought about? It’ll be right out back.
Keep in mind, Former Self – You won’t be having a ball right off the bat. You have a house to tear down. Your first car will constantly break down. Although you’ll be happy in the RV and the cabin, things will break. A lot. The furnace will stop working, the pump will quit, you’ll have to replace it yourself, and you’ll spend two weeks of Winter pulling water out of the well with a bucket and heating it for baths on the stove like Laura Ingalls Wilder. But you’ll live, and you’ll have some good stories.
Money will be a little tough for a while, but eventually you’ll buy a decent, reliable car. You’ll start figuring out now to get that blasted van repaired. You’ll start considering building or buying a house. You’ll feel appreciated in the community, and you’ll love it when most often, people on the street know your name. You’ll adore the community events, where you feel like you run into everyone you know. You’ll get totally into participating in Winter Carnival, standing out in the freezing cold with the rest of the town. You’ll realize that you have more time with your partner, and you’ll rediscover things you like to do together. After a while.
Former self, give it time. Trust the process. (You’ll be familiar with that phrase from your work in the theatre.) Nothing is immediate, and every completely new situation requires a good deal of settling-in and figuring-out time. It’ll be an adventure.
And isn’t that what you’re looking for? An adventure?
Your Future Self
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This was really fun, and super introspective! I’d like to encourage all of my blog friends to write a letter to your Former Self. Or, heck, if you’d like to keep it personal, just write one on paper. I thought it was a pretty neat experience. Have fun with it, and please be sure to let me know if you’ve written one.
You have a great day too!