If you are like the millions, including myself, you may have seen the last episode of “This is Us.” I was in the midst of moving, hopefully for the last time (ok maybe not the last time, but hopefully not for many, many years). I have moved seven times in the last ten years and I am ready to put down roots. Life also decided to throw me a few additional challenges that involve my aging family, and these losses caused me to reflect even deeper on the journey of life. I was exhausted, which makes me fragile and for weeks I was off the train and onto the struggle bus.
When my life is out of balance moods can swing pretty wild and my brain feels like riding a roller coaster in a storm. I knew it was not a good idea to watch the finale, but I did anyway. My husband Pablo was sitting out on the deck contemplating life with a cigar and a bourbon. He came in two hours later to find me in a puddle of mess. Typical.
“This is Us” has moved me since the very beginning even though I thought it looked sappy and initially was reluctant to start watching. However, it drew me in with weekly stories that twine the characters like a hand-knitted scarf. It’s a beautiful story about being human from beginning to end, and in between.
I love any story (film or print) that creates characters that allow me to get out of my head and into their heart and shoes. Pablo is an intellectual man and an avid reader of history and classics. I also love to read (I prefer psychological thrillers), but honestly a good movie or program can carry me away as easily as a good book. At first, I was ashamed of my passion for television and film, but that’s ridiculous unless I confess to my past habits of watching the Bachelor. It was my Monday mindless routine. Entertaining and hilarious. I don’t think their intention was to make people laugh but it’s so ridiculous you can’t take it seriously.
The “This is Us” finale was a brilliant ending and a good reminder that we are just passing through this life. We don’t get to stay. Each person and place we encounter is a stop on the train that barrels through time. It gets quicker towards the end and memories whirl like photographs caught in a twister. That was exactly the reminder that I needed at this precise moment in my life. Grab a drink and get your ticket ready. The captain could arrive at any time to remind you that you are approaching your next stop.
My train just stopped in Bellevue Kentucky, and it’s a lovely place. Pablo and I had spent the last sixteen months in a cyclone as we transitioned from Cape Girardeau, Missouri back home to the Cincinnati area. Home had been Newport, Kentucky before we met, and he whisked me away with a ring and a promise. We lived in “Cape” for five years and I was a reluctant visitor. The pandemic lock-up had me longing for home. After some heavy maneuvering with jobs, we decided to make the transition back to Cincinnati a priority.
The journey home was long and uncertain. Now that the train has stopped, and we have safely arrived at our destination, the fatigue, and realization of how hard it’s been hit me like a truck. That’s how I have always reacted to major life changes. I charge through like the bull that I am until I reach the other side, and only then do I collapse. It’s a temporary place, but it’s part of the ride. Once I rest and build my nest, I will be ready to devour this new adventure like a sizzling steak from Jeff Ruby’s Precinct. It’s so good to be home.
Bellevue is a small, river community nestled between Newport and Dayton, Kentucky, and we sit a block from the Ohio river with a breathtaking view of Cincinnati. The area is familiar, inviting, and diverse. I have never felt more at home. It is a lively town with teenagers playing basketball in the riverside park, children skateboarding, and young neighbors throwing a football in the street while enjoying beers on Memorial Day weekend. New neighbors beside us are watching a movie on their patio and I listen closely trying to catch what they are watching. They also just settled in from their move and decided to take time to stop and smell the roses before unpacking another box. Me, on the other hand, plowed through it all in two weeks creating an illusion that starts to resemble home.
We have begun to form a rhythm for our new life, pausing for power naps in between settling in. Several days after our arrival we endured some severe Midwest storms. I grew up in Ohio and I know the power of our storms and had witnessed damaging tornadoes when I was younger. I dropped to my knees and begged the universe to spare our home on Van Voast Avenue. I simply couldn’t bare it if our home was ripped out of our hands before we even had an opportunity to unpack. Fortunately, we were spared another day.
We live in uncertain times. This is not new. History demonstrates our resilience to survive, but when you are smack dab in the middle of so many massive changes in life it can feel like you have been swallowed into a black hole.
Inflation, pandemic, political tension, hate, cancel culture, divide and uncertainty makes life hard. Finding peace in the middle of chaos is difficult, but not impossible. That’s why home is so important to me. It is a sanctuary of beauty and peace. A place where I feel safe and loved and can shelter from the negativity. I can’t change the world, but I can control how I think and how I behave. In our home, we invite love, open-mindedness, and discussion. We don’t dwell on the problems of the world, but we contribute to solutions, whenever we can. We don’t avoid reality, but we accept truths. We don’t hate, we love. I am so grateful we found our little piece of paradise.
That’s my story? I would love to hear yours. Where and how do you find peace in your life?