Sunday, May 05, 2013

Looking Back, Living Forward

In the time my blog has been idle since late February, you could say I've been busy. March and April are always busy months for a high school choir director - preparing and performing in various festivals/competitions/assessments and getting ready for end of year concerts and commencement. It's enough to keep any sane person's plate full. I, however, decided to turn March and April into a freaking buffet.  

March 8, the Frau and I picked up our periodic discussion of downsizing, the headaches of home maintenance - we own an older home with "character" and the character is starting to cost us - and the amount of drive time I have to work (about 45-50 minutes). Usually, the discussion drifts to exploring where we want to ultimately retire, with me looking for employment in those areas, and us making one final move to a warm climate and a maintenance free and downsized home. Different stars were in alignment on March 8, though, and we went into search mode.  The morning of March 9 we sat down in our respective recliners with our Mac Books and started searching for town homes and luxury apartments closer to my school.  We visited some of these that afternoon and the following day, and on the evening of March 10, signed a lease on a luxury apartment 15 minutes from my school.  We put the house on the market on March 11, took possession of the apartment on March 18 and spent my spring break moving, sold the house two weeks later, and close the sale a week from tomorrow. Throw in a garage sale and numerous car trips full of the dregs that just seem to grow when one is moving out, and you could say we had multiple "full plates" over the past few weeks.

Yes, things have been crazy, but we are about to finally settle into some sort of normalcy, love our new place, and both of us are looking forward to more time together, more time writing, and less windshield time for me. Which leads me to the focus of this, and possibly the next few postings. Moving and downsizing resulted in me looking back at lots of "treasures" - not all of which needed to be saved, but which certainly brought back many fond people memories - and lots of "I told you so" moments.

"I told you so" #1: I have always been a photo hound, and in the days of print film I spent hundreds of dollars on hundreds of pictures everywhere I traveled. My mother would always comment, "there are no people in this picture!" I scoffed at her and marveled at the artistry of my photos of major landmarks all over Europe. As I went through tubs of loose pictures and unopened photo albums, I discovered that the majority of the pictures I wanted to save had (yes, Mom, you were right again) people in them. Its the people that made those memories and landmarks special for me.

"I told you so" #2: The Frau has been telling me for years that I need to go through and sort all my old photos and I might find some of the ones I've been searching for through the years.  Two years ago, when my oldest friend, Robert, and I both turned 50, I wanted to put together a Shutterfly book of the experiences we have shared since we were in 4th grade, into junior high and high school, college, and a few European travel trips.  Our parents were good friends, as well, and I had no doubt I would come up with plenty of fodder for the book.  Robert's birthday came and went with no such book, because I simply couldn't find but  4-5 pictures of us. I could recall specific pictures, but I couldn't locate them. During the whirlwind that has been the past two months, Robert lost his mom. Only days before the funeral I had finally found the missing pictures (and more that I had forgotten I had) in the process of packing and moving. I was able to put the book together - two years late, but probably at a much more appreciated time. The book, you see, was framed by a picture of the birthday card we had been sending back and forth, with extra notes stapled inside, since 1974. We got the idea from his mom who had done something similar with a close friend of hers for many, many years. 

Regardless the chaos and frenetic nature of the past few weeks, the journey through forgotten photos has been a welcome calm of reflection, even while the rest of my life is moving forward in an exciting new direction.

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