We are all familiar with the expression “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” In most ways I consider myself fairly evolved as a person, and as a woman; in tune with my many moods and my triggers. I am usually aware of how I will react to given situations or circumstances. But sometimes my reactions to things are great opportunities for learning, taking me aback, and making me aware that the subconscious does mysterious things!
Very recently, my son, 29, decided to move back to Tennessee, a place he had been avidly eager to escape less than 5 years ago. He gave up a good job, friends and family here in California to follow his heart. Not a bad thing, particularly, and not really unexpected. (Like me, my son is blessed with ADD, and makes quick decisions and choices!) What WAS unexpected was my reaction to him texting me, saying, “it’s official, I am staying in Tennessee. I love you!”
First I was angry, thinking his choice unfortunate, untimely and poorly thought-out. Then I was sad, knowing I wouldn’t get to see him often, since almost all his life, military duty and work sometimes interfering, we have lived in the same State. Not often the same state of mind, or state of confusion, but physically present in the same time zone! Then, after a good cry, I was comfortable with his choice, he is a man, after all, not a child, and whether or not I agreed with his decision, it was his to make.
Then I rearranged furniture. That was the odd, unexpected reaction. Mind you, I love to rearrange furniture, much to my husband’s dismay. In fact, it is a family curse, my Daddy used to say, “Never walk into a room in my house and sit down without looking first; my wife or one of my daughters has probably moved the furniture!” But this particular set of changes was not really on my mind. I have been driving Ed (DH) nuts with the living room re-do, because our home is very small (600 square feet) and our living room is only 10×15 or so. (In fact, now that I mention it, I need to change things in THERE again too!) ANYWAY – – – this time, it was the bedroom I decided to change. It is about the same size as the living room, with two large windows facing each other, and the whole end of the room taken up by the closet. Previously, I had the bed under one window, beneath my beautiful navy blue and cream quilt, made by my great-grandmother, which covers one of the windows. Our bed is a king-sized bed, necessary for two tall and/or large people and two dachshunds that sleep under the covers. It doesn’t fit just anywhere! Yet, without giving it a lot of thought, I made a few measurements, eyeballed the relevant wall and dove in to reposition the bed.
First, I moved two of my bookcases to flank where I was going to put my bed. Then I huffed and puffed to move the bed, until my beleaguered hubby gave in and helped. I LOVE the way it looks, cozy, intimate, even cave-like. My favorite painting – of Amish buggies, is visible to me when I am in bed, as is the blue-cream quilt. I am ordering a cordless light fixture to put between the two pictures over the bed, which belonged to my mother.
But of course, that really isn’t the point of this discourse. The true point, and value in the exercise, is my reaction to a set of circumstances (my son’s moving) that I couldn’t control, and in which I had no input anyway. I nested. I turned inward, in the sense that I reached inside myself, and found a way to change my situation, to make myself more comfortable, to feel more nurtured and centered. I needed to change something for myself, both inside and outside myself, to make myself feel as if I were in control of my life; which, of course, I am, just as my son is in charge of his life. However, in making an almost unconscious decision to move furniture around, even though it doesn’t seem at all related to the set of circumstances to which I was reacting, I made myself relax, and focus on something pleasurable and comforting. It worked. Last night, we slept in the newly moved bed, and I was contented and peaceful. Too often, I believe, we fret and worry about things that are either beyond our control, or not our problems. By removing my emotional reaction to my son’s move into a positive response, I was able to feel more capable of managing my own environment.
Will I continue to miss my son? Of course! But now I have dealt with an unusual reaction to a common enough situation, I have learned something about myself – and after 58 years it is nice to know that I can still surprise myself!