We are, literally, movin' on up (to the Hudson Valley)
We found a place! The contract is signed! And it is exactly what we were looking for. It meets all of our needs and wants; it’s within our budget and in a town we love. There are trails and a beautiful lake* just a few minutes’ walk away. It has a gas fireplace and cathedral ceilings and a burbling water fountain in the back yard**, for heaven’s sake.
*Scott wants to call the lake a “swimmin’ hole,” but I am resolutely opposed. Swimmin’ holes are swimmin’ holes, and this is a lake, and words mean things, Scott.
**When I was little I thought the ultimate in luxury and glamour was a water feature. And now I have one. I have a water feature. (Which is also not a swimmin’ hole, Scott.)
“Something is terribly wrong with it,” we thought. “Surely the inspection will divulge its awful secrets.” But then the inspector failed to find anything except for, like, a loose cabinet hinge. We’ll be moving in two months.
Because everything is going great, my brain instantly went to: Something will go awry. It has to! Nothing can go smoothly, in life. As we all know, life has its ups and downs, but mostly downs, so soon enough we’ll be plummeting back to earth, because, I don’t know.
In a search for answers about my brain, I Googled “thinking something's going to go wrong when everything is fine” and found “cherophobia,” or fear of happiness. I think it’s more a squinty-eyed distrust of happiness, but sure, I’ll bite.
“Have you ever had the feeling, when things are going exceedingly well, that something bad must be about to happen? [YES!] Perhaps you’ve heard the popular sayings, ‘what goes up, must come down,’ or ‘after happiness, there comes a fall?’”
(In my family, by the way, the saying was—and I can’t remember who said it, but I’m blaming one of my more morose grandparents—“Laughter always leads to tears.” LAUGHTER ALWAYS LEADS TO TEARS. And I wonder why I am the way I am.)
“The belief that happiness may cause, or is likely to be followed by, sadness or adverse events appears to be a pervasive belief. For instance, in a qualitative study by Uchida and Kitayama (2009), Japanese participants indicated that happiness could lead to negative consequences because it made them inattentive to their surroundings.”
Exactly! And guess what? Just last week, I fell. I was coming home from a haircut, feeling like a sexy lady — a sexy lady with a new house, no less — when I tripped on exactly nothing in the middle of the street and went flying, landing on both knees, scraping the ever-loving shit out of both of them.
DO YOU SEE NOW.
You’d think this would be enough to assuage my fear — okay, a bad thing happened, now we can get back to celebrating — only it’s not enough, in my mind, to tip the scales. “Everything was going great, and then I tripped” is not much of a story. (Like I’m a story!)
My wise friend Deanna pointed out that all this fretting is my brain trying to regain control where there is none to be had. This is life, and is therefore chaos. The chaos is currently working out for me, however, so I might as well enjoy it?
To calm myself, I have been listing everything that might be difficult about this move. We’re going to be living in a small town two hours from the city. I have to get used to driving (again). I have a teensy fear of highway driving, which I will have to overcome. Somehow. We’ve lived in Brooklyn for forever, except for that three-year run in New Jersey. Which was 15 years ago. Oh, and was also the last time I drove. What else? Lyme disease, I guess. (I’ve already purchased a tick remover!) And maybe ghosts? Probably ghosts, right?
Who am I kidding, I can’t help it, I’m excited. We’re going to live 15 minutes from my sister and brother-in-law, two of my favorite people on earth. Henry is thrilled that we’ve purchased what he’s already referring to as his “weekend getaway place.” Hazel doesn’t yet know shit about shit, but once we’re there I predict that she’s going to be in her glory. She’s going to have a backyard! We’re going to have a backyard.
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Congratulations! 🎉 My husband and I moved from Dallas to a small town two hours north about three years ago, and one of my favorite things about it is being able to drive five minutes to everywhere, no horrible traffic, and not getting lost anymore. Also, it's very quiet except for the weird sounds the owls around here make. Be prepared to possibly be visited by various wild animals! I don't know what you might have up there but around here we get a lot of raccoons, possums, owls, and occasionally mating (?) foxes that sound like they're trying to kill each other (and we live in town).
In spite of your cherophobia, I hope everything continues to go well with the purchase and moving!
Cherophobia is like what Brene Brown likes to call "foreboding joy".