Time to switch gears!

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I guess I’m feeling kind of off these days. What I mean is that it’s been tricky for me to organize my thoughts into something cohesive because I tend to jump around from topic to topic very fast. I don’t give things a chance to really percolate. There are so many things I want to do, need to do, and then so many silly distractions.

It’s the same old story. I have to start exercising. I have to stick to eating better. I have to work on my writing. I have to take care of my house and keep it clean. All of this swirls around and around in my head and instead of sorting it all out and taking one step at a time towards action, I do nothing. I don’t get why that’s my reaction, especially since I know better and I aware of what I am doing.

I feel like I need a severe ass-kicking to get me out of my lethargic “whatever, I’ll do all that stuff I need to do later… sometime…or never” funk. And no one’s gonna kick my ass but me, so it’s time to do it.

The first thing is probably to make meaningful lists of all the things I have to get done. And break it down accordingly. I can’t make one master list and hope to just cross everything off one by one; that doesn’t work for me. I need to say OK, I’ll do this, this and this on Monday night, and then on Tuesday night I’d do this and this, and on Wednesday…etc. I need to plan and schedule things. I am bad at planning and even worse at scheduling things.

The main point here is I must take action. One way or another. DO something and not just kinda think about doing something. This shit’s gotta stop here, now. I have goals. Things I want for my life. (And things I don’t want) So it’s now or never.

***

A few weeks back, I made a decision to simplify my life by getting rid of half of my possessions. So far, I’ve only managed to do this with my shoes, but it was really worth doing! It felt amazing to do a massive purge like that. It really does take hauling everything out and dumping it on the floor, rather than picking at the pile here and there like a little wimp.

Next is my clothes, because that’s the biggest challenge of all. I have squirreled away old clothes all over the place. I’ve long had the misguided idea that I will want to wear all of those old size 10 jeans and medium shirts again once I lose all the weight. In reality, who wants to wear stuff they last wore in 2002 or so? And besides, it’s not smart to keep clothes around that no longer fit. Just have what you can wear right now. End of story. It’s simple.

Anyway, I am doing all this simplifying so it will be easier when it comes time to move out of Arizona. The second major thing I decided a few weeks ago is that yes, I am absolutely going to leave Arizona within the next year or so.

I’m done with it. I’ve been here for 14 years now, which is much longer than I’d ever intended. But it’s true that time goes so fast! It doesn’t feel like 14 years in a lot of ways. However, when I think of the messed-up situations that have happened out here in my life (the bizarre relationships I had with guys being the most obvious ones, but also the illnesses, the bad luck streaks, the struggles at different jobs and two different layoffs, for starters), it feels like I have been here for all 37 years of my life, and counting. I feel kind of worn out and dead in some ways.

It’s like sludge around me, all of the memories, lessons learned and the general ugliness of this particular state. I mean, this place is run by some psychotic Republican conservatives and they seem dead set on halting anything that could be considered progress. Maybe it’s the heat, but no one here knows their neighbors. We scowl at one another in stores and in traffic. We have no place to go in the summer except to work and home because we can’t function outdoors. I am not charmed by the people here, whatsoever.

I think it’s like this because there are no roots here for people. As I get older, I see how important it is to have a true community, a fundamental “home base” where you can be who you are with people who accept you for who you are and what you can bring to the table. Most of the people in AZ are from some other place, so you have a lot of hollow-feeling people walking around here every day, lacking a basic connection to a community, because they left theirs behind a long time ago. I feel like that. And I am tired of feeling this way. I really am.

You can’t fake, or force, community or friendships. It’s never going to work. Real relationships with other people come with lots of time and shared experiences. That’s why my biggest dream right now is to move back to the NJ area so I can rejoin a community that makes sense to me. I have true connections and ties to people and places back there; nothing out here compares to what I have there. I can count on one hand the number of friends I would sincerely miss seeing every day if I left AZ. Interestingly, I can’t see those people really living here in AZ for the rest of their lives, either. They belong living alongside an ocean or lake somewhere, or in a ghost town, or in a big city like NYC…

If I can’t make a move back to NJ work for financial reasons, then I’m considering the Pacific Northwest. Particularly, Oregon. I know it’s kind of a hipster paradise, with lots of do-gooder liberals and people like that, yes. The thing is, I wouldn’t mind being around positive, open-minded people again. It seems like people grow and flourish, like flowers, in a place that is alive with rain, living plants and trees, and soil with real substance you can dig your hands down into. Out here, it’s dry, dusty and the plants that do grow here naturally are tough and covered in thorns or spikes. Nature is on the defensive here, because it’s such a hardscrabble existence. You have to fight for every drop of water, every life-giving nutrient. This isn’t an environment conducive to true growth and development, physical or psychological. The longer I am here, the more stifled and dried out I feel in general. And I’m tired of it.

I’m very excited about whatever happens next. I’m keeping an open mind about where, exactly, I will end up living… It makes me happy to have a nice, lovely unknown in front of me. I like knowing the mediocrity of the life I’ve settled into will be coming to a close. I love that fact, actually.

I’ve thought about moving away before, many times. I even started to make plans here and there. But this time it feels a lot different, a lot more concrete and planted in reality.

And there are so many little things I’m excited about experiencing. I can’t wait to see Hurley and Moose in a new, wetter environment. They hate the rain now. Which is silly, especially in Hurley’s case, since he has a coat designed to hold up well in the rain. But they’ve never known anything different than hot, sunny, dry weather 98% of the time. I cannot wait to walk them someplace where the pavement isn’t on fire even at 9pm at night.

I’m excited for the sound of crickets outside in the summer as I fall asleep.

I’m excited about being able to go sit down near the water, any old time I want. What water? The ocean, a lake, a river, a creek, I don’t really care. Just having access to something like that again without taking a 2+ hour car ride and then the place is swamped with people all seeking the same exact thing… man, that will be amazing.

I’m excited for leaves falling off trees in the autumn. Not in December or January.

I’m excited for snow days and actually wanting to eat/drink something hot.

I’m excited to see old buildings and historic sites; feel history around me again. You just don’t get that out here. It’s really strange, when you stop and think about it. Or try to feel it out. In Arizona, everything’s kind of plopped down on the surface of the earth, and anything old is demolished. I have to laugh when people make fun of NJ and say it’s nothing but malls. Whoever thinks that has never been to the Phoenix area. This entire city is one giant mall, basically. I never had a real shopping problem until I moved here, because shopping’s one of the only things you can do sometimes. Stores are everywhere. I have to drive miles and miles to find an actual park or some kind of open space, and only 3 minutes to reach the nearest strip mall to the east, and 4 minutes for the nearest one to the west. It’s kind of lame.

Yeah, the time has definitely come to move on.

I can’t wait.

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3 responses »

  1. ” I feel kind of worn out and dead in some ways.” I think a good amount of us who aren’t born here feel this way, and I think many of us feel more and more like this as each year passes. This year marks my 10th year here–I’ve never lived anywhere longer, and I’ve never hated any location more than I hate Phoenix.

    My Dad has always called Phoenix the last stop for hope, or the place where the hopeless move to try to keep their lives together (financially, primarily). We moved here strictly for $$$ reasons, because there was no more work in Dallas.

    I know exactly where I want to move and where I want to work, but my husband is a Phoenix native surrounded by his millions of family members, so when I talk about moving it’s like pulling teeth, and it gets pretty touchy pretty quickly. I don’t know how to convince him. He’s been to where I want to live, but he’s still not convinced. ARGH!

    You mentioned getting rid of 1/2 of everything. I guess you’re right–it makes moving a lot easier. Especially when you cut your number of friends in half, too. I remember having to tell my Dallas friends that I was moving…it was so hard to do. My heart hurt so much. My last night out with them I drank more than I ever have and it still didn’t make the pain go away. My heart still hurts from a decade ago, and maybe that’s why so many of us here feel and act so hollow and fatigued.

  2. I’m so excited for you! You sound like you want change, but more importantly you sound like you’re motivated to make it happen. I’ve wanted to move to the Pacific Northwest for YEARS. Now that this summer’s been so unbearable, my husband is starting to get on board with the idea.

  3. I am feeling exactly like you! I can’t wait to get out of Vegas. We have been here 8 years already! 8!! I never thought we would stay past 5, at the most. We would love to move back to Ohio/PA. However, right now we are stuck here because of money issues. But as soon as my car is paid off next year some mad saving will be going on to get us out of this place. We have the same issues here. No likes each other, no one knows their neighbors (although we did meet some fabulous people at our new house) and everyone feels out of place. I blame it on being a transient city. Everyone comes here to get to somewhere else. We just need to leave befor we get stuck forever.

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