by Wendy Wahman
“Comparison is the death of joy.” ― Mark Twain
We recently moved to a new city. It’s only an hour’s drive south, but it feels like we’re on another planet. The first few days, all I wanted to do was run away and never look back.
“What did we do?”
“Don’t unpack! We’ll just sell it.”
“I hate stairs.”
“Tell me again why we bought this house?”
“This was a big mistake.”
“I can’t live here.”
I went to check out my new, soon-to-be-usual, haunts. But the people weren’t my people. The gym was dated compared to my gym. The grocery store was more expensive than my grocery store. And the new neighborhood didn’t feel like my neighborhood.
“I want to go home.”
But I was home.
I just wasn’t at home.
My wise friend Trace Farrell, suggested I pretend I’d moved to a new country. “Put on your Anthropologist’s hat,” she said. “Pick up each new rock, and turn it over and over in your hands. Examine it, peer closely, take notes. Put aside judgement. Just observe.”
I love my new hat, Trace, thank you! I love it so much, I'm wearing it room to room. It keeps my head on straight while I’m working. I snug it up tight if I start comparing my work to someone else’s. In the bathroom, I try to hang on to my hat when I look in the mirror, but there’s a pretty stiff headwind blowing in there. I need a firmer chin strap.
This morning I watched a squirrel groom herself on the fence right outside the kitchen window. So close I could see the sparkle in her eyes, her fur rustling in the breeze. The air smells fresh and bright here. Mountain sweet. We’re half a mile from the Sound. Another wise friend told me it’s all the negative ions in the air. Or was that positive ions? My new pet, the Monkey Puzzle tree dazzles me. As I raked up her stickery needles, she reached out her long pointy arms and plucked at my hair. Good thing I was wearing my new hat.