the risks of treading water

Franny started losing it around the time the kitchen began filling up with boxes. The occasional pile of books or suitcase packed with sweaters hadn’t really caught her attention, but by the time the boxes – originally used to deliver medical supplies to my dad’s office, now questionably being repurposed by us for throw pillows and kitchen equipment and, most alarmingly, food items –  started piling up, the puppy started getting a little freaked out.

WTF, assholes?

The bewildered looks soon escalated into ill-timed barking fits and a puddle of questionable origin on the futon (later determined to be the remnants of an ice cube she was chewing.) I was annoyed, especially because by that point we were claiming the futon as our primary sleeping location, but I couldn’t really blame her. After all, I wasn’t doing much better.

There was that breakdown in Wawa, followed by the temporary relief afforded by the fact that we were physically leaving our apartment, packing up, saying goodbye. But the problem is, we haven’t landed anywhere new yet. The same forces that made it possible for me to eat chicken taquitos and chocolate chip cookies without having to do the dishes also mean that we’re totally unsettled, bouncing around from suburban spot to suburban spot with only a few bags in tow. And the truth is, our little trio hasn’t been taking that well to this state of limbo.

We’re throwing tantrums. We’re erupting into late-night fights and then fleeing to our childhood bedrooms to mope. We’re forgetting that we’re potty-trained. (That one’s all Dave, obviously.) It hasn’t been pretty.

Part of it, maybe, is that we’re back under our parents’ roofs, reverting to some adolescent behavior, one could argue. But I think more than trying to situate ourselves in our current locations, we’re focused on what’s going to happen when we have to leave. We’re worried about moving and residency and career changes. We’re overwhelmed, uptight, on edge. More than anything, we just can’t be sure what it’s going to be like. How is it going to feel to live in Manhattan? To pay $5 for a bottle of shaving cream? To work somewhere new? To work all the time? To have patients’ lives in our hands? To have to go 12 hours without peeing?

12 hours? You've got to be kidding me.

The scale of our concerns vary, to be sure, but they’re all valid. Transitions are rough for everyone, whether you’re a brand-new doctor navigating the ICU or a jaded journalist swapping your cozy apartment and pajamas for international headquarters and high-heels, or a 9-month old puppy without a mommy to walk you at lunchtime.

It’s scary.

While Dave is the one whose transition will make him most capable of physically hurting other people, and I’m the one who’s arguably the most lost when it comes to this kickoff to the next three years, and, um, life, I think my heart most goes out to the member of our clan with the mop of strawberry blonde hair atop her head. And it’s not just because she’s going to have to downgrade to 660 square feet or suffer bladder pain at the hands of parents who can’t afford a dog walker. It’s really because she has no idea what’s ahead, can’t possibly consider the potential upsides that might await her after the craziness of this month-long transition process subsides. And me? Despite all my self-doubt and second-guessing, I’m lucky enough to be privy to the knowledge that good things just might be on the way.


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