Bad Day and its Identity Shift

Yesterday’s blog was a graphic metaphor about the terrible day on Friday.

So here’s the story. My wife and I moved from our shared home of six years to a new place this past Saturday. Friday morning we had no idea we’d be moving, by Saturday we were loading suitcases in the car for new quarters, a 10 minute drive away. The circumstances were sudden and less than desirable, but irrelevant to this blog. What is relevant are the personal feelings that accompany an identity shift.

Identity shift and residence?

I’m sure that many of you would agree that where one lives is tied in with one’s identity. Some may not have as strong a link to where one lives as others, but I venture to say that everyone experiences some kind of personal connection to place.

When a person moves, his or her the point of view changes – literally. For example, I was used to getting up in the morning, getting my coffee, going on the back porch (Back Yard Revisited, Back Yard Take 2) with a good book and looking at the fig tree and the humming birds.

My identity also depends on what I do. After this sudden move, all my previous routines have been disrupted. Now, staying temporarily with other family, I have no routine. Nothing is routine yet, nor will it be for a while, most likely.

A final thought:

Although it is wonderful to be rid of the undesirable trappings of an unfortunate living situation, it will take a while for my comfort index to rise. And since the term of our new situation is indeterminate, the uncertainty index is high. We must face the prospect of moving again and, along with this, a drop in comfort level once again.

Here is a watercolor sketch of our present backyard view:

Watercolor Sketch - New Back Yard

New Back Yard
4″x6″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

6 thoughts on “Bad Day and its Identity Shift

  1. I think that home is deeply tied to place – your place of residence is home, but it wasn’t always. It only became home because of your routines, the presence of your wife and your possessions – things you can take with you and re-establish as home in a new place. This post moved me…I wish you well.

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    • Thank you so much for your comment, Chez. I imagine that you have an intimate knowledge of this subject because of your and Colin’s adventures seeing the world. My wife and I are on a kind of forced adventure, which doesn’t seem all that great at the moment. We are not that far removed from where we lived, we feel uprooted nonetheless. There are other factors involved, which are probably worse than the displacement issue. It doesn’t seem like it will get better any time soon.
      Again, Chez, so glad my post touched you and thank you for your good wishes.
      best,
      Jack

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  2. Whatever the reason for the evacuation from your home, I’m thinking of you and your wife, and glad that you have a place you can stay – and continue to paint! What you’ve written about the identity shift that comes from moving to a new place hits the nail on the head. What is part of my identity is where I live – an apartment building in NY – what I do – take care of my daughter with my husband and work from my home office – and how I see – literally: my perspective from the third floor of my building, and from my body as it heals from cancer treatment. I guess there is a good reason that the word “homesick” has the word “sick” in it. When I’m homesick, I don’t feel right in my body. It’s a physical feeling of unrest from part of me having been suddenly ripped away (or so it feels). I can also feel homesick for the period of time when things seemed simpler, like when my daughter was an infant. When homesickness is healed enough, with enough time between the actual separation and the memory of it, maybe it can become nostalgia – that longing for the time **before** the separation from the cherished place, routine, and view of the world.

    Wishing you well on this next phase.

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    • Thank you Jessica. We are indeed lucky to have a place to go. Good points about homesickness for home and earlier happy times, perhaps with friends who are no longer there. Nostalgia, I suppose is a fond remembrance of past good times; one could also have a feeling similar to nostalgia for how times could have been. In the latter case, this is otherwise known as regret or some kind of grief I imagine. A home should also be a place of safety. If one must make accommodations to feel safe – meaning, feeling free, in one’s living arrangement, the ties to that kind of home are more complicated. When that accommodation breaks down, one must address it, either by further accommodation or a schism. It is painful in either case.
      Thank you so much for your good wishes.
      Best,
      Jack

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  3. The feeling of “home” and “routine” have always been major interests to me. They are such an infusion of the private/interior and the geographical. I think this post shows that.

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  4. I am once again so sorry. I used to identify strongly with my home and routines but events have required me to re-evaluate which I am doing. Where do you think you will live?

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