It is Thursday, December 1st, 2022, 11:10 A.M. Mountain Standard Time. I’m sitting at the table in our rented condo in Peoria, Arizona. While I feel abundantly grateful to be here, I also feel in great need of familiar ground. A need to recombobulate.
We left home exactly ten days ago driving Indiana to Denver to Estes Park to Denver to Phoenix, just shy of 2,050 miles and 30.5 hours on the road. I have slept in 5 different bedrooms in the span of those 10 nights, which, along with my total lack of sense of direction, keeps me turning the wrong way when I step out of the bathroom. My Fitbit finally caught up with all the time zone changes yesterday.
Even though the adventure of a journey is the gateway to experiencing the beauty and grandeur of nature, we’re ultimately nesters and were ready to land here in our semi, semi-permanent home. I like this place already. And yes, it’s the people. After less than 48 hours, we’ve met the neighbors on each side of us, two others on our street, and attended Wednesday, 4:00 Cocktails by the Pool, where we met lots of people who live in our little section of this vast community. It’s where BF met someone who knew someone who was looking for a long-distance biker buddy, which is why I’m alone right now and he’s off on a bike ride for the first time since we left home.
Considering myself one who’s typically up for an adventure, I’m always surprised how I long for familiarity. I’m still opening 3 drawers to find my hairbrush. I’m aware of the living room clock ticking and the buzz of the lights. I was cautious about setting off for a walk alone this morning for fear I might never find my way back. We went to sign up for our recreation center I.D. cards and halfway through the process, I wasn’t sure if we were applying to use the exercise facilities or work for the FBI. As we left one building, which was not the one where we were supposed to be, I saw women leaving with their yoga mats and I longed to be a few weeks down the road when I’d be walking out of class chatting with the others instead of walking into the parking lot wondering where the heck that other building was.
I’m thinking today about adventure vs. familiarity and how each are necessary. About how much of my joy depends upon community. A community where people circle up around a driveway and chat. A community located where my son can call on a random Wednesday and ask if we want to meet for dinner and we can have a regularly scheduled Nana Day. About a citrus tree with fruit ripened by day after day of winter sunshine. About the ease of not having to set a GPS to find the grocery store and having instinct place my hand on the correct cabinet handle when I go searching for the cereal.
Life without novelty and adventure doesn’t work for me, and yet adventure without familiarity, community, home, and family doesn’t either. Perhaps it’s not Adventure vs. Familiarity, but Adventure Appreciates Familiarity?