Yesterday I did my last real shopping trip at the nearby ethnic market: milk, yogurt starter, carrots, eggs, bananas, garlic, onion, a couple of oranges and some extra 99-cent spices to take up to Alaska. For example, I rarely see celery seed in most grocery stores — and when I do, it’s a teeny-tiny bottle for $5 or $6.
Rolling the shopping cart over there to stock up has become a pleasant little ritual for me. I’m really going to miss that store, especially as regards cheap produce. Fruits and vegetables are never cheap in Alaska.
Lately everything I do have been imbued with a ridiculous poignancy:
The last time I’ll pick blackberries to make jam…
The last time I’ll walk to the hairdresser’s…
Will I have time for another meet-up with the Dogs or Dollars blogger?
It’s not that I don’t want to move. But I’ve become accustomed to coming and going – mostly going — as I please for the past three years. Cheap airfares will be a thing of the past, so I’ll likely be traveling less. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I sure will miss tickets like last summer’s Seattle-to-Philly $264 (round-trip). With prices like that I could afford to say, “Hey, Dad, got room for me for a month? Save up some farm chores and I promise to earn my keep.”
Is this the right move?
I don’t plan to get a car right away, so I’ll be walking, maybe bicycling and certainly relying on the kindness of friends. Anchorage has public transit of a sort – the People Mover, aka “the People Ager” – but the closest transit stop is about a mile and a half from my friend’s house. Not impossible, obviously, but not much fun in the winter, when footpaths will be iced-over and sometimes shared with moose.
Here in Seattle the public transit is so good that I gave my car to my daughter and son-in-law when they moved to Phoenix (asking only that they remember this when they’re picking out my nursing home).
Last week I decided that I wanted a massage, so I made the appointment, picked up my backpack and headed out. It was one of those warm, sunny days that makes you feel privileged to be alive (and that keeps you in Seattle during the raw, cloudy winters). As I walked toward the bus stop I realized how much I would miss the ability to say, “You know what? I’m going to New Seattle Massage. Right now.”
Clearly this is what the kids call a First World Problem. And no doubt some of this self-imposed sadness is a result of general anxiety: Is this move really the right thing?
Well, yes, it is. Change is good. Change is growth.
But change is also a series of elegies. While I’m looking forward to this new stage of my life, I’m also acutely conscious of what I’m giving up in order to achieve it.