Settling In Is Unsettling

Dairy nearly made me cry last night, and not because I’m lactose-intolerant.

I was at my new grocery store less than a block from my new home, and they don’t sell my favorite yogurt. There were plenty of Greek yogurt options, including my second fav, but no Fage. If my daughter and husband hadn’t been with me, I would have been reduced to a puddle of tears among the milk and cheese.

What kind of person cries over yogurt?

Yet, after the hobo life of the past two months, I desperately needed something familiar. Eight weeks in temporary housing combined with a three-day drive through the middle of the country had taken its toll. Add to that the fact that I’m leaving today for a three-day BlogHer conference and you can understand how something like a lack of yogurt could put me over the edge.

You’ve been there, right?

Let’s face it. We humans are creatures of habit. We tend to eat the same foods, visit the same restaurants and stores, and don our favorite jeans long after they develop holes. Even an A-type, distracted-by-shiny-objects freak like me likes routine. It keeps me sane.

Why? Because habits are something we can control when our world feels out of control. My life definitely feels beyond my control at the moment—and it’s scary as hell (though not quite as hot).

I’m at that terrifying moment after a major life decision when all is in chaos. You wonder if it will fall into place as you dreamed or if, as the Talking Heads proclaimed: “You may say to yourself, my god, what have I done?” (Since you probably want to listen to that song now, click here. You’re welcome.)

It wasn’t until I was crossing the mighty Mississippi River Monday morning that I realized what I had done. I felt excited and nauseous, and it wasn’t because I was driving across a crazy-long suspension bridge. Over that body of water, the full force of what I was leaving behind and what I was driving toward hit me.

Then I walked into my townhouse and the full force of dozens of unpacked boxes hit me. I couldn’t find pajamas. I had no cream for my coffee.

I don’t yet have an office chair so I’m working from the dining room table, which is covered with papers, a silverware container that doesn’t fit into the drawer and a bottle of furniture polish.

Half my clothes are in a pile on the floor because our hangers are locked in a huge trunk. I put the key somewhere safe—apparently where we will never find it.

Like much of my stuff, my old routine is nowhere to be found.

I thought that finally reaching my new Milwaukee home would leave me breathing sighs of relief. Instead, I still can’t seem to catch my breath.

So this morning, I did what I had to do. I ran.

The sneakers and headphones kind of running, not the I’m a horrible human who has left her husband and child to fend for themselves while she goes to live on a beach kind of running.

Running felt routine, a flash from my normal life. I felt like me again.

Though I got a bit disoriented on my run, eventually I found my way back home. Along the way I realized that even though I may never find places for all my kitchen gadgets, what matters remains the same.

Who we are doesn’t change based on location. And we are not defined by external factors—like the type of yogurt we eat. 

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