Lani: The Wait

I get tense before a big transition. We’re moving in about six weeks, and I’m really looking forward to it. Once I can take action, I’ll be good. But in the meantime, I’m just… waiting… and I’m not good at that.

I remember the last few weeks before leaving New York for Ohio, after The Event which put the last nail in the coffin of my marriage so I knew I wouldn’t ever be coming back, but before the kids finished school and we actually left. That was about four weeks, and I hated every one of them. There was nothing to do but sit there and worry about what might go wrong, and in a situation in which I was leaving my husband, my home and my life to start fresh in my best friend’s attic with no job, no money and two kids to take care of… well, that was a thousand times worse than this. Right now, I’ve got security, and everything that matters to me, I’m taking with me. Nothing else in my life is changing except my location, and I’m going to a place where I have friends and a history and a future.

Still. I’m tense.

Life changes on occasion. Sometimes because of us, sometimes despite us, sometimes immediately and sometimes at a painful, glacial pace. But it changes, and for me, it’s changing once again. I like change, I really do, but I like it better when it happens now. Waiting is not my strong suit.

So, what do I do? Do I find peace with waiting, or do I endlessly research the best way to pack, the best pediatricians in Syracuse, taking what action I can until I can finally start taping up boxes? Do I accept that I hate waiting and spend my time obsessing, or should I try to remedy this flaw in my personality and find my zen?

What would you do?

35 thoughts on “Lani: The Wait

  1. One thing that’s worrying me is that you’re apparently posting blogs at what must be the middle of the night in Ohio, surely. So I’d definitely work on getting as much sleep as possible, if I were you.

    Don’t have any magic answers, alas. I think it’s perfectly natural to find this limbo time really difficult – you want to embark on your new story, and you can’t just yet. I think I’d try to focus on accepting how you feel, and not making yourself wrong for it. And then on doing whatever feels, right now today, as if it would help you feel at peace with yourself. I like lists, myself.

    I hate suspense (I always read the ending first), and find it hard to cope with excitement. It’s safe to be out of control, might be a good affirmation?

  2. Steph says:

    Maybe your zen IS the obsessing. I’d do whatever will help you make the time pass faster… I hate waiting… 🙂

  3. Kieran says:

    If it were happening to me–a six-week wait–I’d try to make it into a mini-vacation and go to the movies and read a lot. I’ve had to move quite often as a Navy wife, and there’s a lot of downtime in between going from point A to point B. And then once you get to point B, life revs up really fast.

    So maybe take this time to spoil yourself before all the annoyances involved in moving descend upon you. Make margaritas every night. Act like it’s already summer vacation. Go to one last town that you really want to say goodbye to. Or see one more new town. Go a little wild in Ohio!!! Leave your mark.


  4. Rose says:

    I would try to think of all the things you like most about Ohio and might miss when you’re gone, and go and do them now while you’re still there. Sort of say goodbye fondly to the old before you head off to the new.

  5. I feel you – I hate that limbo time between an event and when you can actually start doing.

    If I were you, I’d do as much planning ahead as made me feel less stressed – like schools, doctors, etc – and then I’d take a long walk. A long fast walk. You are doing anything toward your move, but you are moving your body and that can’t hurt anything. It always helps me 🙂

  6. KatrinaG says:

    My response to limbo times like this is to research. I make a list of all the things I want to know about my new community (like the nearest library, indoor and outdoor pools, nearest gym, possibly nearby grocery stores, upcoming festivals to check out) or need to do before then (call to set up new cable/phone, forward mail etc.) because I know that I won’t have much of that time when I move there and I’m unpacking. It gives me some sense of accomplishment and control.

    I make a giant list and when I find out something, I write the answer and/or web info down. If it leads me to sidetrack, I also write down what I sidetracked to (like discovering that if I wanted to/afford to there was a shop I could take beginner glass making classes).

    Secondly, this is also a great time to enjoy where you are now, and visit favorite places. Like a holiday, as some mentioned above.

  7. Micki says:

    Oh, I’d go nuts, too. Moving is not one of the most stressful things in life for nothing.

    Well, OK. Assuming I wouldn’t go comatose in a corner with a bunch of medicinal DVDs, I’d start making a few lists.

    1. A list of research topics about my new city for me to turn to when I get really crazy about the waiting (or need the internet boost).

    2. Find on the internet two really good moving checklists. Choose one, or make my own by blending the two.

    3. Declutter (gosh, I’d need more than six weeks for the decluttering!)

    4. Start packing — why not? I’m sure there are non-essentials that you want to move. Books. The Thanksgiving roaster. Halloween decorations. Christmas decorations. Good time to sort through them. Winter clothes. Move the packed and labelled boxes into an empty room — the less essential, the closer to the back.

    5. Start some wish lists — clothes you don’t want to buy until you get to Syracuse, a “registry” of kitchen and bath stuff you want to buy new for your home (so you don’t have to move crap). (-: Books?

    Let the kids help you with the lists and stuff. They are probably feeling the same sort of anxiety.

    And, take pictures of your home, environs and friends. Scrapbook ’em if you really have a lot of time on your hands.

    Well, that’s what I’d PLAN to do. LOL, I don’t know what I’d really do if I had to move. Things have been accumulating here ever since the oldest was born . . . . I’d be gibbering for two days if I found out we were moving.

    I wish you a happy move!

  8. Maine Betty says:

    I would get the cat’s crates out and leave them up in their loft (for some reason I think they have a room). and put nice crunchies in there, plus soft snuggly cloths. They may or may not get comfortable with them.

    De-clutter, declutter again, then one more time.

    Do you know where you’re going, as in, do you have a house or apartment? As a kid who was moved a lot, Micki’s advice to have the girls make lists is a very good idea. It will help them think through what’s going to happen, and give you all a chance to talk about it.

    Enjoy Spring, where ever you are.

  9. I’m just like this. I love change and have moved to a new home/town/city every 2-3 years since I was 18. That’s a lot of years of moving a lot. But I hate those weeks before. I’m a doer. I have to be doing something. Makes me anxious to have to wait.

    This is where the internet comes in handy. Because I can research things all day. From docs for the kiddies, as you say, to paint colors and appliances and mapping out routes to grocery stores and packing and boxes and unpacking and organization and the list goes on. There’s nothing wrong with obsessing if it’s not hindering anything else.

    That’s the way I see it anyway. Live with the internet for a few weeks. Plan in your head. Dream big. Couldn’t hurt.

  10. Oh, I love Barbara’s idea.
    I’ve got a couple of thoughts. First off, Lani doesn’t collect clutter. She’s very compact, so she won’t have massive packing and decluttering to do. Second, if it were me I’d be on the computer obsessively researching the new place, doing furniture plans as to where I want to arrange things, etc.
    Funny, but I read “LaniL the Wait” as “The Last Waltz.” (I love the Band. And this is the Last Waltz in Ohio for Lani.
    When Jenny and I come out to get the last of Jenny’s stuff (in April) we’re dragging her to the favorite haunts. Hobby Lobby and Steak N Shake in particular — possibly Olive Garden though they’re everywhere. Our final, mutual Farewell to Ohio.
    Though we may have to club Lani and bundle her in the car to get her to come with us.

  11. toni says:

    I like the project idea. It can be one big project (a scrapbook with the kids of all their favorite Ohio haunts / memories), or a collection of smaller events. Look at it this way–you have six weeks to celebrate what you gained when you moved there. Six weeks of down time for fun–projects–and seizing those good memories. That’s a gift, Lani. No need to be tense–even the research about the new place can be a fun event. Include the girls. See what they’d like to look up about the place. Look at google images of the locale, so that it’s familiar to them before they even move. (It’ll help them with the stress because it won’t feel unknown.)

    Mostly, take the time to pamper yourself. You’re about to undertake a move, which is work on top of your regular load, so give yourself some fun now, so you’ll be rested and ready when the time comes.

    I’m all about seizing the fun, these days. Every moment. Every. Single. Moment.

  12. All of the above advice is great and useful, Lani.

    My only suggestion is to jump your husband for wild sex as often as possible while the kids are in school.


  13. stephanie says:

    i think i’d make up a story. you know, the kind you tell in your head to fall asleep. something fun or absurd. or full of color and texture. or maybe… well, it could just be about the ‘maybe’ of life. chase down a rabbit hole and see where it goes.

  14. LOL, all great suggestions. I spent the morning sorting out schools and pediatricians, faxing like it’s 1993 (btw, if you ever need to fax, check out HelloFax, it’s in the Google ecosystem and free for those of us who need to fax only when the new school year starts) and now I think I might get down to actual work, which I’ve got enough of to keep me plenty busy. Plus there’s this book I’m supposed to be writing… 🙂

    Thanks, everyone!

  15. Cindy says:

    Yep, me too. I can’t just sit and wait. So I would start looking into the best schools, the best pediatricians, the best coffee shop, the best donut shop… That way when I got there, I’d have nothing to surprise me in a bad way. And I’d be doing something now. And in the last 2-3 weeks I’d be packing. I’m an obsessive packer. Everything has to be packed and labeled, so that when I get to my new home, I can unpack quickly. I hate living out of boxes for too long.

  16. Moving is always stressful, there’s no getting around it. I moved last year, and even though I was very excited about moving close to my son, my grandbaby (who wasn’t born yet at that time), and back to the place where I grew up, it was still stressful. I worried about leaving a big house and big yard for a small condo with no yard but a fabulous view of Lake Michigan. I worried about leaving the house my kids had called home most of their lives. I worried about whether we’d sell our house or be stuck paying two mortgages. Believe me, when it comes to worrying and envisioning worse case scenarios, I have generations of worriers behind me, pushing me into panic mode.

    Waiting is definitely the hard part, although packing and unpacking come close. I hope the time will start flying for you soon. Best of luck with everything – every move takes courage, but also opens up so many opportunities. I’m excited for you!!

  17. Sorry I don’t have any awesome recommendations for you, but it looks like the others have that covered. I’d normally suggest reading or writing, but if you’re like me, it’s hard to focus on anything other than moving when you’re this close to moving day.

  18. Rouan says:

    If you’re moving to Syracuse, NY you already have a great grocery storeroom look forward to…Wegman’s. I used to live 10 minutes away from one and it was fantastic. Now I have to drive 45 minutes to get to one and that’s a big complaint for me. Also, I don’t know if there’s a Hobby Lobby in Syracuse but there is one within about a 45 minute drive east, near Utica so you’ll still have a favorite place to go shopping when the mood hits.

    Good luck with the packing and the move. By the time you’re ready to move the weather should be good so you won’t have to worry about the driving conditions.

  19. pamb says:

    Go outside & blow bubbles with the girls. (g)

    I’ve realized I can’t remember the last time I waited for something to happen. We’ve lived her 30 years. He’s had the same job for 42.

    Oh, helping Heather sell her house & move closer 9 yrs ago. They had 2 kids under 3 plus multiple jobs, so I packed for them, pushed to declutter so it would sell. (Then moved stuff to the storage unit w my Escort wagon.)

    Ern’s surgery. We waited to hear about that. We saw a lawyer for “in case” paperwork, then ignored it.

    Sounds to me like you’re handling it all very well, but here’s a laughing (((hug))) for having to wait.

    ps If you get anxious, I’d suggest building lovely pictures in your mind of you all enjoying your new life. Visualizing positives usually helps my anxieties.

  20. Totally get the hate-to-wait thing–we have to wait until the end of April to start the kitchen/downstairs renovations, and I’m itchy to get started right this minute. We haven’t even signed with a contractor yet, although we have found one we truly like. So…I like the writing suggestion and I’m crazy about Mary Stella’s suggestion to have lots of afternoon delight sex. If Hubs was retired or worked at home (a la your Hubs!), that’s exactly how I’d be spending anxious waiting time. Of course…if Hubs was retired, we wouldn’t be waiting to do this stuff…hmmmm… Chill, baby, in the words of our famous and gifted pal, nothing but good times ahead. 😉

  21. Hmm, waiting for me is the place to plan and make things move as smoothly as possible. As long as I have a plan or plans in place then I can keep moving. I’m not a big conscious worrier. I let my dreams deal with the subconscious stuff whenever possible and I refuse to deal with it in my awake state if I can.

  22. Me? I’d just wait it out. Ducking the flying tomato. Ha ha.
    Seriously, I hate waiting and it renders me almost useless. I squander the time instead of using it wisely, because I’m somehow frozen, anxious, excited about whatever it is, an event, a trip, a move. You’d think my brain would say okay, I have as much done as possible, now the wait so sit down and write and create something. But my brain won’t let me, because it knows there’s something pending and I can’t trick it. It’s like having a sore on your lip, your tongue just keeps poking at it. 😉

  23. Jill says:

    That would be my plan. Research docs, schools, neighborhoods , Google Earth, write something fun, comfort reads or can’t wait to read. Robin LaFevers’ second Assassins book is out Apr 2. Plan the trip.

  24. I would avoid change until the last possible fucking moment and end up packing my house up on easter weekend for the move. Because that’s what I’m doing. Without a babysitter or alcohol or illicit drugs either.

  25. Chris S. says:

    Waiting bites. I think that’s what I hate most about airports: they turn the last hours before your vacation from anticipation into dread. But finally you get to go up very high and very fast, so it works out.

    I really like the idea about turning your last weeks into a vacation in your area. Do all the things you’ve thought about doing. Hit that one restaurant / store / playground you’ve always wanted to try, and make some fun last memories.

  26. cleo says:

    I don’t think not liking to wait is a personality flaw – more like a trait or a quirk (just like my habit of telling my husband that I’m ready to leave before I’ve even put on my shoes is a quirk, not a flaw).

    I’d try to make my last 6 weeks into a “farewell to Ohio” tour – as others have suggested.

  27. I’ve been through periods like this a number of times (so many times, I feel tired just looking back at them), including various long-distance, international, and trans-Atlantic moves (sometimes having no job and/or no place to live at the other end, and often not knowing anyone at the other end). The build-up to it is always anxiety-producing, of course.

    Most recently, I bought a house–only about 20 miles from my apartment, but it’s in another state, I’d never owned a house before, so there were unknowns for me. And the purchase process wound up being an epic farce wherein I had to vacate my apartment and put everything in storage, then couch-surfed for more than a month as one closing date after another after another fell through. So it was a transition that went on and on and on and ON, entirely out of my control, producing much tension and anxiety. (Spoiler: we eventually DID close, and it’s all worked out fine.)

    What helps me is, in so far as possible, DOING rather than waiting. I prepare as much as I can, make all the plans I can (and lots of lists, since lists calm me down; your mileage may vary). And then focusing on carrying on my day-to-day life as much as possible.

    Can I finish my current book before the move? Or get another 100 pages of it written before the move? Can I get these 3 articles and short stories done before the move? Can I complete/eliminate all paperwork, correspondence, bookkeeping, filing, and possession-culling before then? Can I figure out (thanks to Google) where I will shop, go to the library, and mail my post at the new address or in the new city or country? And so on.

    Doing instead of waiting, in so far as I can, helps me relieves the pressure of anxiety-buildup and tension.

  28. Wow, people have such great suggestions! I should have asked for some while fretting and freezing during the lead-up to MY move! Of course, my favorite suggestion — Mary Stella’s — it outside of my purview as I have no husband or S.O. for having lots of wild sex with. But I believe in doing so whenever the opportunity permits! 😀

    Good luck! I’m feeling more and more free and happy the closer I get to my own move. (The movers have come and gone, my Seattle friend is here, the cleaner comes tomorrow, and we get on the road Saturday!)

  29. Been there, done that, and still don’t like change. For me, the not knowing kills me, but as I mature (such an ugly word), I’ve realized that I need to make peace with the downtime. Being frantic just makes me … frantic.

    The move will come. Enjoy your last days in a place that brought you love, acceptance, and a new life.

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