Monday, September 08, 2008

Time for Change

I mentioned last week that I seem to have developed a sort of restless itch. I think I may have diagnosed it.

There is an element of fall at work -- the new school year syndrome, which always feels like it should be a fresh start.

And there's a bit of army brat-itis. When you spend your formative years completely changing your life every few years -- uprooting and moving to a new city or even a new country, starting at a new school and making new friends, it can leave you with an inner restlessness every few years, like you should be changing your life and it feels weird to be in the same place doing the same things. It gets worse for me when combined with the fall restlessness because we usually moved during the summer, and so I was often starting at an entirely new school in the fall. My life has been shockingly stagnant for a while, and I think I've reached that three years since a major change mark. I've lived in the same house for ten years (previously, I did seem to move every three years, at least). Two years after I bought this house, I had the travel bug big-time (combining job and leisure travel, I hit gold frequent flier status). The next year, I switched my bedroom and office and redecorated the downstairs bathroom. The next year, I lost my job. Two years after that, I got an agent and a book deal. The year after that, the book came out. Since then, things have been more or less the same. New books coming out is exciting, but it's not really a change, especially when mine come out at around the same time every year. So, I'm definitely due for army brat-itis.

I think the recent birthday has triggered a bit of "road not taken" reflection, where I ponder missed opportunities and things I wish I'd done, and how my life would have been different if I'd done those things.

Meanwhile, lately I seem to be hearing from a variety of different places, both fictional and in the real world, about people who are going on grand adventures, uprooting their lives and dashing off to work in foreign or far-off places or taking major trips.

Where it gets really interesting is that my life is about to change -- since the editor I'd been working with left and I'm writing different things, I will be working with different people and probably in different areas. I just don't know what that will be like yet, and I have little control over it. Meanwhile, this uncertainty means that the usual things I do to deal with the restlessness are out, as I don't know what my finances or schedule will be like, so I can't do something wacky like book a trip to Europe or start remodeling my house.

In the meantime, I guess I'll try to find ways to scratch the itch that fit my current circumstances. I think a massive house cleaning/organizing will make it feel like I've totally changed my house. I can pretend I'm moving and sort/clean accordingly. I can also try changing some habits and mixing things up a bit (like, say, getting up earlier to watch the morning news). And I can find some close-to-home adventures that don't require lots of money or a major time commitment.

This weekend's new thing: I made strawberry jam and even put some up in real canning jars. On the organizing front, I sorted through the drawers of my nightstand. I found my old "escape plan" notebook full of all my schemes for being able to quit my day job, including savings goals and writing goals and to-do lists. That made me appreciate how fortunate I really am. I'm living that dream, and that's worth even all the uncertainty. It's also made me want to get back some of that focus and drive.

In other news, as part of my ongoing television listings service, I would like to remind everyone that the season premiere of the Sarah Connor Chronicles is tonight at 7 (central time) on Fox. The new fall TV season seems to be sneaking up on me.

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