I moved to Memphis seven years ago. I moved here with the intention of starting a new life away from the long winters of Northwest Indiana and solving some marital problems that seemed impossible to solve. I was right about the marital problems. They were impossible to resolve, but I did get a chance at a brand new life in the earthy, soul-driven town of Memphis where musical greats learned to sing their sorrows and joys rooted in the South. After my divorce was final, I considered moving somewhere else because I really had nothing anchoring me here, but I decided to bloom where I was planted and bought a house.
I know how to move. I’ve bought and sold six houses, and I now live in the seventh. Four of those homes were bought by me alone. I can’t tell you how many apartments I’ve lived in or temporary living situations where I lived with a friend. Somehow I escaped moving in with a man. If it was that serious, I usually married them, and they always moved in with me. I’m a bit of a nomad, and I knew it as a girl. I wanted to split from my small town community and live all over. I wanted to have a career and lovers and all kinds of fun. And, I did that. I’ve lived on all coasts of this country and in almost every region. I’ve only missed living in the Southwest. California or Arizona doesn’t draw me. I like things a little smaller, cooler and less glitzy. I like Memphis for that reason.
I didn’t start my love affair with Memphis until I made the decision to stay here. I always kept a wall up just in case I got the urge to move. My Myers-Briggs personality type is ENFP. I live by my urges, and I like change. I hang onto things like relationships longer than I should, and that has impacted some decisions for me. But, I love adventure. I decided to bloom in Memphis, and I have. I have done more personal work and learned more about myself here than anywhere else I’ve ever been. That’s a credit to this community. When I was going through the worst pain of my divorce – only a year after I got here – I already had a solid community. That’s unusual. I have learned in all of my moves that there is a pattern to getting rooted. It takes 6 months for the adrenalin to wear off. Usually at 6 months, I start to question my decision and miss my old friends. At about a year, I’m just beginning to plant the seeds of long-term friendship. At 3 years, I’m settled. It takes awhile, but that was not the pattern with Memphis. It may have been due to my awakening or it may have been the people of Memphis. It doesn’t matter. It’s the way it was.
For the last year, I’ve been feeling the beginning of the itch again. I describe it as a feeling that a door is closing. It’s subtle, but I can feel it in my heart and bones. I considered moving when I left my last job, but my new job happened so fast that I just didn’t do it. The truth is, the door wasn’t closing at that time. I was in a groove. In 2000, I considered moving to Austin TX. I take that back. I did more than consider. I put my condo on the market in St. Joe, starting applying to the University of Texas for graduate school and started getting my mind ready. As soon as my condo sold, I was going. I read Medicine Cards to think about my life and for some guidance from the unknown powers that be. It’s more play than it is serious, but I still like to use them. It makes me think, and funny things happen when I use them. I kept pulling the card that signified the Ant. I pulled it several times in succession. It was frustrating because the Ant is about Patience. Ants can do wonderful and marvelous things for their small size, but it takes time, and it takes community. I listened. One day one of my direct reports walked into my office and said, “Boss, we’ve got a problem.” “What is it?” I asked. “Well, your office is infiltrated with ants,” he said. Crap, I thought. I’m obviously going to have to wait on this. The fact is, it never happened. The house didn’t sell, I met my ex, and the rest, as they say, is history.
When we moved to Memphis, we considered Austin as an option. But all roads kept leading to Memphis. When I get the itch, I do what I can to make things happen, but I know if I’m blocked, it’s not supposed to happen, and I don’t fight it. If I have to fight or kick and scream to make something work, I’m not in collusion with God. Lately, I’ve been interested in Austin again. I have a couple of friends there. That makes it attractive. I’m not attracted to the heat, but I am attracted to the lifestyle. It suits me. Austin is filled with weird, open-minded, active people. I’ve also been a little attracted to moving home, but it’s not as strong a draw. I know that some kind of change is percolating. I feel it in my bones. It may be that I’ll just have some changes in lifestyle in Memphis. It may be that I’ll eventually move. Right now, it’s just an interesting phenomenon that I’m starting to think about moving again. I said I would never leave here. I committed. I refinanced my house this spring. But, God and my soul don’t follow nevers and shoulds. If it’s supposed to happen, something will fall in my lap. Or, I may just all of a sudden become really comfortable with taking a risk. If it’s meant to be, my house will sell, the job will open, and the pieces will fall into place. If it’s not, it won’t. And, I won’t argue with either one because it doesn’t make any sense to. I’ll adjust myself to reality and go with the flow. I do have a problem with ants in my house now. Hmmmmmm ……
My philosophy on moving reminds me of Kenny Rogers’ song The Gambler. When I looked up the song, a listener on You Tube commented that it took him 20 years to figure out that this song was not about gambling at all. I think life is a bit of a gamble. Do you want to play and risk losing, or do you want to sit back, hold your cards and watch? I’ve always been a player. It’s that ENFP in me. I’ve said before that it stands for Endless New F*cking Possibilities. I’m scanning the horizon.
Excerpt from The Gambler:
You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.
Now Ev’ry gambler knows that the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away and knowing what to keep.
‘Cause ev’ry hand’s a winner and ev’ry hand’s a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.”