My friend in Pennsylvania – Neil, the one who found my beautiful, new, red car which I picked up and drove back to New York on Sunday – made a remarkable observation while I was visiting with him and his wife, Donna, over the weekend.
He said that for these few days between closing on the sale of my New York apartment and moving into my new home in Portland, Maine, on Friday are like a stepping through a science fiction time warp – moving from one world, one kind of life, into an entirely new one. It’s a clean slate, Neil noted, on which I could remake myself, if I want to, into a different person.
That’s unlikely, but it does feel like a period of limbo; being poised on the edge of a dramatic change in, fully aware of its approach and having the time, between dimensions, to take a deep breath and live neither life for a few days before stepping into the unknown.
It will be much like a literal suspension of time because I’ll be in a hotel room for three nights in Portland, and all hotel rooms are the same – innocuous pictures on the walls so not to offend anyone, the same arrangement of the same furniture – one bed, one desk, one chair - little shampoo and conditioner bottles neatly lined up in the corner of the bathroom vanity. There are never surprises in hotel rooms and nothing to identify one’s location. While you are in the room, you could be anywhere - Portland, Maine or Singapore.
Births. Marriages. Deaths. And their anniversaries. Going-away gifts when people leave. Welcome home parties when they return from being away a long time. We recognize the life-changing qualities of these events and mark points on our journey from cradle to grave with celebrations of them.
This one comes for me at a propitious moment: the 65th year of my personal life journey which is the traditional dividing line between the waning of adulthood and the onset of elderhood. How lucky I am to be celebrating that passage with what, for me, is an unexpected adventure, not something I planned for many years to do at this time in my life.
I’ve always liked surprises.