John and I have been in Little Rock now for three years as of June 15. It’s hard to believe John had just finished sixth grade when we moved here; now he has finished his freshman year of high school. Catherine was 18 when we left Texas; now she’s 21. I was still in my mid forties; now I’m not.
Paul and I have moved to different cities or states eight times in almost 30 years of marriage (the kids came along for the ride beginning in 1994). Our average stay per move used to be around two and a half years, but that is closer to four years now. Living in Belton for six years and Little Rock (the first time) for five years bumped up our average.
Mentally adjusting to a new location has usually taken me anywhere from six months to two years. This time, however, I’ve been in denial for nearly the entire three years. I would tell anyone who asked (or who didn’t ask) that I planned for us to move back to Texas as soon as the ink on John’s high school diploma was dry. I had big plans to move to the great city of Waco and buy a condo downtown. Seriously, Waco has everything I need: taquerias, Belk, paddleboards to rent downtown, quirky shops, and proximity to family and friends.
A week or so before our third anniversary here, however, I had an epiphany. It dawned on me that Paul might want to retire at Blue Cross, which would keep us in Little Rock another ten to fifteen years. If my life were a comic strip, a light bulb would have appeared over my head. I finally got up the nerve to ask The Actuary if working at Arkansas Blue Cross until retirement was his plan, and he confirmed my suspicion.
I wasn’t surprised or angry, and I realized that I have moved from denial to acceptance. Not resignation but genuine (for the most part) acceptance. I’ve had some bouts of anger, bargaining, and depression, but denial has been my main coping strategy this time around.
To quote (and take slightly out of context) Philipians 4:11, “…for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Chuy’s down the street didn’t hurt (thanks, God).
Happy third anniversary, Little Rock. I think I’ll stay here awhile.