what’s next?

It’s been a long time, and I’m trying to remember how this blog thing works. Um…I put words, yes? Right. Let’s see how I do with that.

It’s been three weeks since I got here, and I’m starting to feel like I’m home. The first ten days or so were a blur of holiday celebrations, family, friends, meeting people, exhausted sleep and disorientation. After that was a period of sort of shell-shocked looking at all the new things in my life. But around the middle of last week I started to feel like I had a routine going and some idea of what I need to do to start building my new life and take care of myself and let the wheels grip again.

I’ve lived alone for a long time, and to my delight and gratitude I’m finding that I love sharing this transitional phase of my life with these two people who mean the world to me. They’re incredibly generous to share their home and life with me, without any idea of how long they’ll be stuck with me; and we do have so much fun together. I’ve started to look for an apartment, but it looks like that process might take some time; I’m not anxious about it, though. Typically, I’m a really impatient person (cue pause for my loved ones to smile as they read this), but the past year has given me a tolerance for uncertainty that I’ve never had before. I’ve been living in some level of flux for several months now, and I almost feel like I’m getting good at it. It’s not something I want to do forever, but it’s good for me to exercise those flexibility and portability muscles.

There are three excellent pieces of wisdom that are serving me well right now. The first was a farewell from a friend in Chicago: “It’s going to be great, but it might take a minute.” The second was from one of my oldest and dearest friends, when I wrote to her just after Christmas that I was alternating between panic and joy on a minute-by-minute basis: “I know those feelings of panicky joy. Lean into them. Being off kilter can be quite amazing.” And the last was not directly a piece of advice, but something profoundly useful that came up in conversation: “I love being the stupidest person in the room. The newest employee, the worst musician. There’s no pressure and everything to learn.” I am, right now, the stupidest person in the room in almost every sense. New place, new life, no job and no home, a totally new awareness of my roles and possibilities. The feeling that I have everything to learn, and no one except myself to impress, is very freeing. (That being said, I still have fairly high standards for impressing myself and I have to keep working at it. But my point, I hope, is clear.)

Two days ago, Shana and I went and got my jewelry supplies out of my shipping container. She loves me. She spent hours clearing a space for me to work in her studio. Last night I made several new designs with vintage glass. I think my entire being breathed a sigh of relief. It’s been over a month since I made anything new, and many months since I made anything with glass. I’ve been itching to get back to it, and it felt so great to hold my work in my hands again. I look forward to being back to full time designing soon; look for new pieces to appear at both Leaves of Glass and urban legend in the next week.

In other news, surprising to no one, Portland is beautiful. The natural landscape is very similar to what I grew up with in Vermont, but on a larger scale. Taller trees, and real  mountains. Seriously, very large mountains. We drove to Seattle last week to see the King Tut exhibit, and I got my first in-person look at Mount St. Helens. I wasn’t expecting to see it, and it’s a breathtakingly iconic sight. I lost my head for a little while, thinking about the history of that mountain and its unmistakable shape. I was practically on tiptoe in the front seat of the car and Shana said, “You can’t take your eyes off it, can you?” No, I can’t. That’s going to stay with me for a while. I feel like I should be taking more pictures, but I’m too gobstruck half the time to think of pictures. I’m just soaking it all up.

There are so many new things to absorb and think about, and I’ve not been doing a very good job keeping up with anything online. My blog, my shops and my social networking are all a bit of a shambles, but I’ll start surfacing more often now, I think. Things are returning to a whole new kind of normal. I’m leaning into my off-kilter. I’m happy. Wish me luck, and I’ll keep you posted.

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