Lesson No. 1, Re-Learned: Never Say Never.

It’s always an interesting development in life when a person finds themselves considering that which they’d previously believed impossible. We all perceive our paths will follow, at least loosely, an expected trail. We plan for these trails. We educate ourselves, or train or stockpile experience. But for every plan there’s a chance of the unexpected. It’s up to us to adjust with grace and fortitude. With a sense of creativity and humor. Honing that skill should probably have been our primary plan all along. 

But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. It happens to everyone. We make plans. Our plans change or get changed. For Husband and me, the latest change of plans means we’re returning to Missouri. More specifically, and the thing that brings me back to the “never say never” state of mind is that we’ll be moving to the closest thing I have to a home town. If you’d asked me twenty years ago about living there again I’d have used the “never” word. Lots of water under the bridge down south. Lots of things I wanted to put behind me. But I also said I’d never get married and never have a tattoo. So clearly, what do I know? 
When we moved to Chicago we thought…three years–or maybe five–would  be a good run. Long enough to get the feel for the place. Experience some art and some nature and to work hard and then move on. We thought probably to Wisconsin. Or maybe Minnesota. But then things began happening that altered our plans. Illness, injury, death, debt…. You know how it goes. And nine years later we’re still here. Fortunately for us, we’ve made amazing friends in Chicagoland. We’ve had amazing experiences. I have regrets, but they are not outweighed by the growth of our hearts in the face of the souls who have touched us. I am unendingly grateful. 
So now I’ve lived in our apartment for longer than I’ve ever lived in any one single location in my entire life. This is a true story. And where I used to be very efficient about packing up and relocating, I now find myself with something like a zillion books and cooking implements to load up. I am…intimidated. I have to find new homes for at least half of my house plants because there’s no way Husband will let me put those in the moving truck and not every single one of his ten thousand records. If I’m going to ask him to weed out the vinyl to which we literally do not listen, I should be willing to put some cacti and Oscarlings up for adoption. If that goes well, I’ll ask him to turn loose of those back issues of Magnet and Food & Wine. To be fair, I’ll parcel out my National Geographic. Once we get to discussing his concert tee-shirts from the early 90s things may get heated. But you know…marriage is very romantic and moving is an adventure.  
I’m concerned about packing efficiently. I’m worried about finding a new neurologist. Husband is apoplectic about finding jobs with insurance benefits. But on the other side of all that is the possibility we could have a home with dogs and cats. I have Missouri family I can tend to. I can show Husband my favorite Missouri locations. Elephant Rocks, Silver Mines, Pinecrest. And we can maybe get the ball rolling on our retirement nest egg. I could tell you more about those plans, but I don’t want to ruin anything.
I won’t say we’ll never move back to Chicago. It seems “never” is almost universally synonymous with “oh you just wait and see, missy!” I will say Spring is a good time for a change. And I believe that old saying holds as true as ever, “I’m afraid. But my faith is bigger than my fear.”
Two more months, and we’ll be Missouri-bound.

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