I was just in NYC. I didn't like it much. Two days there, and I find myself slipping back into the same habits as before. I stop saying hello to people, never smile at anyone. I keep to myself.
How did I not notice this when we lived here?
We carried some of this New York as we drove south for what may well be the last time. It might not; it might. The first day was hellish. Imagine this. Noah and I in the front bickering for at least three of the seven hour drive our first day. Did I say bickering? No, fighting. Straight out, no purpose fighting. We brought back past grievances and hurled accusations. There was shouting, crying and long stretches of silence following statements like “Whatever.” Or “This conversation is over.” And begin again.
I considered jumping out of the car and just running. Where? To what? No idea. I just wanted to get away from just sitting there with all that negative energy (yes).
This, thankfully, was infinitely better than our first drive to Atlanta after the first time we left NY.
Amazing how things have changed and yet the same patterns are always there. Traveling is exciting at the beginning. Everything is always new. Now, after almost two years, constant change has become our norm.
I've learned a lot since we left NY. Learned how to adapt to whatever situation arises. Learned to let go of the things we can’t carry with us. And I feel like I’ve moved closer toward the type of person I’d ultimately like to be.
Clearly, we humans like our patterns. In NY, I took the same roads to the subway each day, most times forgetting myself and suddenly finding myself ast my destination. While the streets were the same, when pressed, I couldn’t have told you which actual route I took. Did I go up Henry? Or Clinton? I didn’t remember.
Now I can't remember which road we took each of the six times we've driven this route (3 times round trip).
They say children need boundaries, stability and routine in order to feel secure. When Lila tantrums because we want her to go to bed or buy her a new doll, and we refuse to budge because of the tantrum, she seems happier when we hold true to those edges. A new toy won’t make her happier, but knowing she is safe within defined borders does. The tantrums are horrible and often occur when stuck in traffic on a highway somewhere. I’m talking screaming unintelligibly at the top of her lungs, kicking the back of my seat, heartwrenching cries too. But after, after things all calm down, Lila will then repeat happily, “I was screaming so I couldn’t have chocolate.”
I think we say that children need boundaries, though, because we so desperately need them ourselves. We just don’t have someone forming them, often arbitrarily, for us.
I suspect that once again it is all about finding balance. Routine is comfortable and necessary, but it can also become too binding. Complete freedom is wonderful too albeit extremely rare.
So back to the car driving down Interstate 81 -- or is it 81, 84, 85 or 95?. We're in one place but moving. We fought all day one, but day two the cloud lifted and we calmed down, figured things out.
Because when all is said and done, what else are we going to do but work it out?