Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Confusion, Finally  §

© 2011 Aron Hsiao

After weeks of “the process of moving,” we have finally “finished” our move. That is to say that we are actually sleeping in a new place where we will be sleeping for the foreseeable future, and that we have completed all of the manic tasks of carrying heavy items about, installing, renovating, purchasing, and any major cleaning that was to be done. What remains is minor cleaning and unpacking, along with the “long term” projects that always go along with dwelling—cleaning the rain gutters and so on.

— § —

We are living in a house. After four years in an apartment with my wife and more or less continuous apartment living since 2003 before that, living in a house is a decidedly novel sensation. In many ways, I feel as though I have suddenly “grown up” by virtue of having a building for which we, and only we, are responsible—even if that building doesn’t actually belong to us.

— § —

It has been the longest, most difficult move of my life. We started packing the second week of July. It is now nearing the end of the first week of September. That is a long time to be in limbo, liminal, unfinished, uncertain, unsettled. For a decent chunk of it, we were apart, even. Then, for another chunk (the most recent week) we have been effectively isolated as we each carried out days-long series of individual tasks related to making the place livable.

— § —

Have we done the right thing?

— § —

I saw a photo on Facebook of daughter and daddy at the park—our park—the one where she played every single day, with all of her friends, and where her mommy and daddy tagged along—and for a moment I thought I would die with regret at all of these changes.

— § —

Have we done the selfless thing, sacrificing everything we had in New York to bring her to a better life and to her grandparents and family?

— § —

Then, I pulled myself together and confusion returned. It’s difficult to evaluate the change when it’s so complete, so total. Every facet of life has changed, down to the most minute detail—down to the very metaphysics of being. The sky is a different size and hue, the days a different duration, the moments of the day meaning different things. It’s another planet entirely. We are interstellar travelers, homeless amongst forgotten stars. Or rather, homesteading in a galaxy long, long ago and far, far away.

— § —

Or have we done a selfish thing, telling ourselves that we were making big sacrifices for her when in fact she has been made to sacrifice for our well being?

— § —

I haven’t managed work time very well. The difficulty had something to do with the condition of the destination when we arrived (each via separate means of transport, at separate times). There was a lot to be done before we could dwell here; the place was in something approaching disrepair. Certainly there were hundreds of dollars in purchases to be made at various and sundry home improvement stores and many hours (days, in fact) spent with tools and in filth applying blood, sweat, and tears to this project of “making it livable.”

— § —

Is there even any way to tell, to decide? I simply can’t see the forest for the trees right now. There is a lot to love. There is a lot of upheaval. There is a lot of exhaustion. There is a lot of work to make up

— § —

Aside from all the rest, I can’t avoid the nagging imagination of my lifestyle to come, as soon as I manage to achieve it: working full-time, meaning having less time with my daughter than I have ever had thus far in her short life. The one thing that made the adjunct life worthwhile was all of the time that I was able to spend being a father. That will soon be gone.

— § —

What I can say is that I am in love with the patio, the windchimes, the prices, and the smiles that she puts on for the family that now seems to be everywhere around us. I am, at the same time, utterly and despondently lost without the park, the routine, and the teaching career.

— § —

Time will tell.

Two paths diverged in a wood?

How about we clear-cut the wood, flew to another continent, took up new identities, and had our appearances altered?

There is nothing here of our old selves. The furniture that arrived in the truck is more us than we are right now.

The new us is waiting to emerge.

— § —

All I want is to see her smile a lot and to know that she is okay and that she gets quality time with both mommy and daddy. The rest is so much bullshit.

— § —

In short, the news of the day is that the manic part is mostly over and we can now settle in to the long-term confusion that always follows radical life change.

We are home. Sort of. As is always the case in life.