Waste not want not vs. Carpe Diem
We’re now three quarters of the way through 2019. As we enter August, I’m entering my sixth month in Nashville. In some ways, it feels longer, but in most ways, it doesn’t feel like I’ve been here almost half a year. I feel like I’m still setting up, still getting my bearings.
After work yesterday, I voted in my first election as a Tennessee resident. After that I had a follow up dental appointment. I have a dentist now. I have an eye doctor. Jake has a vet. I have a library card. Roots are starting to grow and take hold, but I don’t feel like they’re that deep yet. I’m trying to trust the stability of the ones that are there and branch out just a little. It’s difficult. I err on the side of caution in many ways. While that’s often good, like when I’m driving, I work to avoid operating from a place of fear. Yesterday, for instance, my dentist appointment finished at the same time as Dean got out of work. We were within blocks of each other, both of us downtown. I asked him the night before if he wanted to try one of the rooftop bar happy hours. We hadn’t done that yet. We had not gone anywhere in downtown Nashville on our own, just to check it out.
In some ways, I recognize that I’m still operating from a place of scarcity. We have been through a lot this year and we had a ton of challenges right after moving. (Which was a huge move, done much more quickly than we had planned.) Much of my reticence is justifiable. We are both employed at this point (although, I am not up to where I was in Chicago, I knew that it would take years to build up that base again) and yet, I still only buy boxed wine because it’s much cheaper than buying it in a bottle and I feel that alcohol is one of those ‘luxury’ expenses that I should save on. I haven’t bought new clothes since the fire, and everything I bought then was donation based. I can’t remember the last time I bought new shoes.
Not that any of this is unusual. We decided to move years before we actually did it, and I began saving then. I’ve been in a ‘no spending’ mode for a long, long time. It has been difficult watching that cushion deflate, since we moved, even though this is the reason we filled it to begin with. It’s something that I have little internal battles with myself over constantly. There is the cautious little mini-me that is ready to deny myself today in order to have a better tomorrow, and then there’s the spirited, slightly hedonistic mini-me that knows that life is tenuous and that we are only ever guaranteed the present moment, so enjoy it and live!
I registered for a writer’s conference in Kentucky that will take place in mid September. The workshop looked amazing, everyone I showed it to said that I should take advantage of it, so yesterday, I finally registered. Not only did I register for the conference, I paid extra to attend a fiction writing workshop, attend a mixer and get one on one feedback on my writing. I hesitated on spending more, and finally told myself that if I were going, I should take full advantage and do everything that I wanted to do. (I haven’t booked the hotel yet, I’ll wait for a different credit card cycle for that, I am still me.) This may seem like a small thing to many people, but it’s big to me.
I want to avoid regretting things that didn’t do. When I was younger, I had this idea that at a certain point in life, I would 'have it all figured out' or 'be settled and established' but I’m beginning to realize that this never truly happens. Not in the way I had thought back then at least. And it’s wonderful! There is no ‘too old for this’ really. I can continue to try new things and learn and grow, if I let myself. I want to keep writing. I want to get better as I write. I want to grow. So I am going to try this. I’m taking a little risk that it will be worth it and I’m excited!
If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that my grandma passed away recently. For whatever reason, she had this idea of me as this fun, energetic person that was always having an adventure. I want to be that person that Grandma saw. A few weeks after her passing, I got a letter in the mail from her insurance company, notifying me that she had left me something. It was unexpectedly generous and I cried. A lot. I think that she would love it if she knew that I was using some of her gift to go to this conference. And I love thinking that she’s still helping me to grow.