Months and months ago, when we were living in Tucson but knew we were going to move to Ithaca soon, I was feeling so overwhelmed. I told my friend that I wasn't sure it was really going to happen, that I was afraid that at any moment, the rug would be pulled out from underneath us and life would laugh and say, "just kidding!" I couldn't see how it was all going to come together: finishing/defending Jeremy's dissertation, keeping the house clean while it was on the market, tying up all the loose ends in Tucson and starting them back up temporarily in Provo, and then again more permanently in Ithaca, packing up our stuff, driving to Provo, and then driving across the country to New York to unpack and re-establish our lives.
Uh-uh. Not gonna happen, I told her. It wasn't possible.
She is a good friend, though, and she told me it would happen, somehow. She said to just concentrate on the moment that would surely come, when we were settled in and happy in our new lives in Ithaca. She said even to imagine the particulars: everything unpacked, a New York license plate on our car, Jeremy going to work, a paycheck coming in. It was my own personal finish line.
I think it's only now I've finally reached that moment that I believe her. I'm not claiming to have everything unpacked, or at least everything unpacked in the right place, but we've finished most of the dreaded "moving in" tasks that take so much effort and money (and so many terrible phone calls!). There are a lot of places that want money from you when you're establishing a household in a new place, that's what I've learned. And I still have the occasional nightmare that Jeremy didn't show up to his dissertation defense (until I remember that wait, that was me). But on the whole, we're settled in. License plates and everything.
It's nice to be that future version of myself I looked forward to becoming all those months ago. I'm glad my friend gave me the advice to look ahead and visualize the finish line, and it's one I would pass on to anyone going through a major life change. Time will always keep moving, and most everything that needs to get done is accomplished, somehow. I'm still not sure how we did it, but here we are in Ithaca, walking to the ornithology lab in a tutu and rainboots like nobody's business.
It feels good.