Tomorrow marks the end of an era for me.
For the majority of my adult life, I have lived alone. Notwithstanding a brief period of marital “bliss” at the beginning of the 2000’s; sharing a two-bedroom apartment with Dave Donohue for a year and a half in Saratoga Springs after my “bliss” fell apart; moving in with my ex-fiance in Connecticut for a few months in the beginning of 2010; to living with Vicki in Chesapeake, VA while we were decommissioning the Philadelphia; I’ve had my own place and my own space.
That’s coming to an end tomorrow. I will be turning in my keys and saying goodbye to the River Park apartment complex here in Council Bluffs which I have called home for just about four years. I’ll be moving in with my girlfriend, Sommer, while we are preparing to move to Portland, OR. We decided together that it would make things much easier when the actual move comes, and to determine if we can tolerate each other. She is the best girlfriend to offer to share her space with me, as she values her space as much as I. We have had discussions about how we both need our own space, and whatever place we move into in Portland will be sure to have enough room for the two of us, our hobbies, and of course, our three cats.
For the longest time, I was approaching this move like I had any other move: there is a sequence of steps that have to happen, and moving is simply moving though those steps until you close the front door for the last time and turn in the keys. This time, however, has been different. I've been dragging my feet, dilly-dallying, getting involved with unnecessary projects when I should be focusing on moving. I didn't even realize I was doing it until tonight. It was an epiphany. I have so much experience doing this; what the hell is going on? I’ve moved so many times in my lifetime; I’ve never lived anywhere for more than four years. I grew up as the oldest son of an Air Force member; my dad was in the Air Force the entire time I was growing up. He retired from the Air Force the same year I graduated from high school in 1998, and of course we immediately moved from Tucson, AZ to St. Louis. Then I was in the Navy for twelve and a half years, so no end to the moving there. I am grateful that I have lived in so many different places; I know that I am adaptable and flexible in ways that many other people can only dream of. The downside to this is that I don’t have real roots anywhere. Aside from the fact that my immediate family still lives in the St. Louis area and my mom’s family lives in Hawaii, I don’t have any other real roots. I don’t have lifelong friends from childhood. I don’t know what it’s like to grow up with the same group of people. Much of my growing up, I was the outcast; I was a nerd and was picked on a lot. The natural defense mechanism for me was to not form strong attachments to people and things. I have two guys that I would call my best friends, and I met them in the Navy (Bill and Tommy), and there are two guys here in Omaha that are good friends (Shane and Brandon). I of course make friends at work and I have liked the vast majority of people that I have worked with, but nothing like childhood friends. I tend to not form strong attachments because it makes it easier to move on.
That’s changed with Sommer. I have found someone that gets me. I want to be with her and get to know her. I know that she want to be with me, and I’m so looking forward to forming a strong attachment with her. She cares for me like I didn’t think I deserved and she makes me feel special. She lets me be me, but she also is a catalyst for me to improve myself. I want to be better for her. She’s the best and I can’t wait to see what our future adventures will bring.
If that means that this eternal bachelor has to turn in the keys to his solitary existence, then I gladly throw them in the face of the apartment manager. Actually, it will just be a gentle handover, but you get the idea.