Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Long Explore

We're big fans of A.A. Milne around here, at least as far as his portrayal of Winnie-the-Pooh. No Disney books for us, thank you very much, not about Pooh Corner, anyway. They can't touch Milne's humor and dialogue. One of my favorite phrases that he uses in the book is when the characters go on "a long explore." There's something about that phrase that encompasses the whole experience of wandering- the new discoveries, the excitement of the unknown, the totality of the experience, not just the act of tromping around in the woods, but a long walk with purpose.

When my husband decided to go back to school at the age of 30, I knew this is what we were in for. A long explore. While many of my friends were settling down into the homes they'd be in for the long haul, thinking about the next ten years of schooling for their kids, committing to things past a year at a time, we have continued on with the art of transitioning into our 30's. These last three and a half years in NC have been amazing, but we knew when we got here they were just the first leg of the long explore. That somewhere on the horizon would be another move, most likely to a place with which we were unfamiliar. So, like good explorers, we set up camp, ate, drank and were merry, but always in the back of our minds wondering when it would be time to break camp and move on.

That time is now.

Just a few weeks ago my husband received an offer for a postdoctoral position in Wisconsin. The Midwest. This woman has never lived further than 2 hours west of the Atlantic ocean.  I have never lived in a land-locked state. I have never seen a Great Lake. My husband has never really experienced below-freezing temps and doesn't know the joys of ice-skating. My son thinks a big snowfall is when you can't see the grass anymore. Oh, he has no idea.

So, we are busy around here. Busy getting our house ready for the market, sifting through possible living scenarios out in Wisconsin, harassing colleagues out there to give me the 411 on life in Madison, living life as much as usual while we're still here and praying hard for our adoption to go through before we move so we don't have to start over with our paperwork. Basically, all the preparations one needs for the next leg of the journey, besides the goodbyes. They can wait a few more months. 

And if it's one thing this leg has taught me it's that no time is too short a time to be worth it, as long as you're willing to live in the now. I can be confident in moving to this next place because I've seen how good we can have it in such a short span of time. We are moving on having made lasting friendships, having found things we loved to do that we never expected and stronger as a family for the time we've spent here.

So, as much as it'll be hard to say goodbye this summer (and I have had the Boyz II Men song on said subject repeating in my head for days now), this place has left it's mark on us. A mark so clear that we're hoping that when the final leg of the long explore comes, it'll lead us right back here for the permanent settlement.

Until we know though, we're going to live each day here with just as much buy-in as we did a month ago even as we prepare to get back on the road. And we'll do the same in Wisconsin until it's time to pick up camp that one, likely, final time for a while.

After all, there's still much to be discovered in this life and a long explore has been just what we needed.

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