There was always St. Louis, my husband said the other day, as we were reflecting on our upcoming home. Though we’ve only lived here for the past almost eight years, we’ve spent a good chunk of our marriage here. We got married here, had a baby naming here, spent summers and spring breaks here. The kids learned to ride bicycles and drive here. And they embarked on their adult lives from here.
Leaving is hard. Change is hard, even when the change is your choice. Because we are creatures of comfort, and the unknown is well…unknown. And we don’t like the unknown. We like things we can count on. Predictable patterns. Reliable friends. A weather app that is actually a predictor of actual weather in real time. (I have an issue with weather apps.)
But that need for 100% certainty is somewhat limiting. It can keep us at home and safe with the known, instead of venturing out and risking. It can keep us stuck in old paradigms and structures—doing the same old thing with the same old people—even if we are bored and uninspired.
Risk the unknown.
But risk is scary. But so is boredom. And limitation. And fear. In truth—we are bigger than the fear and the doubt and the guilt and the shame. We are beings of unlimited potential. So if this is true, what does living fully look like to you?
In a recent edition of The Marginalian, Maria Popova shares various quotes from the correspondence of artist Georgia O’Keeffe with her friend and agent-manager, Anita Pollitzer. Though different in many ways, they shared a true passion for life. O’Keeffe writes: Your letters are certainly like drinks of fine cold spring water on a hot day — They have a spark of the kind of fire in them that makes life worthwhile. — That nervous energy that makes people like you and I want to go after everything in the world — bump our heads on all the hard walls and scratch our hands on all the briars — but it makes living great…
Amongst the bumps and falls and hard patches and losses, I think living should be great. I think it can be great. If we tap into our hearts and souls and we listen to that voice, waiting to be heard. It doesn’t mean that we chuck the house and the husband and head off into the hinterland to discover ourselves. It means opening our hearts and maybe risking a bit of familiarity to live fully.
I leave St. Louis in a few days. Yes, it will always be here, but shortly my home will be elsewhere. Scary. Also exciting.