Sometimes You Have to Leave
One month. It’s been one month away from my family and friends. One month away from my job and fabulous coworkers. One month away from my garden. One month away from my house. One month away from every crazy side project I’ve ever even imagined. One month away from what was comfortable and good. But really good.
I’m not sad I left. I don’t regret my decision. In fact, I think I left because I felt too comfortable. It was almost as if I knew I needed to be shaken and challenged. But I am afraid. I’m afraid of what I might lose…maybe even what I am losing even right now if I’m not careful and intentional in this new place.
Because I didn’t just leave stuff. I left a lifestyle that I had slowly been nurturing. Carefully and intentionally. I left not just a house, but a home. A home that was full of life and parties and warmth and hospitality and memories. It was a place where I on purpose made things and built things and grew things and thought about things–a place where I could be as much a producer as I was a consumer. I worked hard to build that lifestyle into my world. And even though it sometimes felt crowded, it was a place that was rarely empty (and felt creepy when it was).
But the Tradeoff Isn’t Always Easy
Now I’m sitting in a one-bedroom apartment on the second floor of a building. I have windows but no balcony. I have no land. I have little space. I have no roommates. In almost every way, I am currently only a consumer, and it feels wrong. I need for it to change, but my greatest fear is that it won’t. And not only that it won’t but that I’ll get comfortable. That I’ll regress. Already, I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to not think about yard work on a Saturday morning. It’s glorious, but it’s the sort of joy a child feels when he’s just gotten out of cleaning his room. It’s an immature joy. Empty and unfulfilling.
I feel like I’m already regressing in some ways. But some of that’s to do with my limited community. And that’s not a knock. I love all of my new friends and acquaintances, but I need to build in space for depth and productivity before I lose all of my mind and all of my passion and creativity. I need to connect with makers, writers, creators, thinkers, and farmers. And I need to ferment something ASAP, just for the sake of watching stuff grow.
You know, watching stuff grow is one of those magical things that help maintain our sense of wonder.
Even though I got rid of half my belongings when I moved, I made a point of bringing every last mason jar. Because mason jars to me represent productivity and care and love and time and resourcefulness. And while it’s true that we can sometimes spend a ridiculous amount of money on the tools we think we need to make things from scratch, it’s also true that the experience of it changes us. It changes us in a way that is important for the soul. So important that a life can feel a little bit empty when it’s gone.
Holding On to What Matters
Creative and industrious productivity is one of those good gifts that gives us just a glimpse of what God meant when he looked on his creation and called it “good.” I don’t want to lose it. I don’t want to lose the drive and the passion and the capacity for creating. But I feel like it’s slipping away already. I have this sense that whatever parts of it I can reclaim or rebuild will look different here, limited by a lack of resources and space, a parking problem, and a 10 pm noise restriction. Maybe again I’ll need to rethink what productivity and hospitality look like in my new world.
But I’m determined to try to figure it out.