There is no getting around how incredibly anxiety-provoking it is to sell a house, but I want to focus for the moment on the exhaustion brought on by the trying
on of possibilities.
The uncertainty of what next must be resolved somehow, and you do it, if you're like me, by imagining and attaching to different scenarios, one every 24 hours.
1. There's a Place for Us: It's like having a calling...there's a town, city, mountain out there with your name on it, with all the amenities you need. It leads you to websites like findyourspot.com or Who's Your City?, You take endless surveys, read 'best places' books and sites, interview friends in farflung quarters. You attach to Elsewhere. You become Place: 'I'm a mid-sized city;' 'No sales tax and a running trail circling a lake, that's me,' 'Give me a house by a creek so I can be Staycationland,' 'Walkable town with rail trail and a bus to a major metropolis will do me dandy.'
2. Open Road: Refurbish an Airstream with some solar panels, put your stuff in a Pod, and hit the road. Live small for a while (despite the crappy gas mileage, you'll likely reduce your carbon footprint, or even better, if you're DIY enough, you'll go biodiesel), give the kids an alternative tour of the U.S., forget what it's like to pay an electric bill or mow. Visit all those Facebook friends—f2f! Endless reading of blogs that link from Roadschooling.
3. Back Where You Came From: Why did we move to this house, anyway? Weren't things okay before? Can we go back? Wasn't that where we belonged? The roots myth pretends to be stable and definite, but soon reveals itself otherwise as each of your various roots presents itself as the authentic, deepest delving, original tendril.
4. Grow Where You're Planted: Let's just find a smaller version of this house, one we can afford, one we can retrofit green, let's set out on foot and check everything for sale we can find, let's not disrupt our life, our cat's routines, our friendships, our systems...let's not relive the stress to be found in Square One.
What settles over the whole of this cycling, or beneath it, as an undertow, is a kind of ennui. Normal enthusiasms, necessarily shelved for the moment, give intimations of having disappeared completely. The lists and dreamy conversations that led us to leave the city and make a new life, peremptorily cut short, it seems, are more scattered now than they were then. My husband and I find ourselves skittering along too many hypothetical paths. Or maybe the right image is of two actors madly changing costumes in a dressing room, trying to prepare to go on stage for any and all plays (some of them apocalyptic). The word 'trope,' related to the idea of turning, feels apt. We are turning, turning, turning, and right now, I feel dizzy.