September 5, 2016

Nothing Good Follows a Person who Stays Too Still.

sitting alone still legs feet

“Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving.” ~ Albert Einstein

I’m moving.

Sometime last fall, it hit me that it was time to get moving—in all aspects of that phrase.

I’d been with the same employer for 21 years, and been living in the same house for 11. My youngest had just left for college, and I began to feel it. At first I wasn’t sure what it was, but as I listened to it—as I felt it inside me—I knew. I’ve had the feeling before, but not for a long time. Time to move.

In some important ways I was already moving. But what I was feeling in my gut was bigger. Bigger than just growing more in place. And it wasn’t that I just needed change. I could create change standing still. I’d been doing that already. No, not just change. Static change wasn’t enough. I needed to move.

A few chapters ago in my life, I moved a lot. It was youthful, frequent movement.

My post college life was a vision of movement. I moved back home for a couple months, then moved to my first job. I wrote press releases and was an assistant lacrosse coach at my alma mater. And while I was in familiar environs, it was different. I had a job. I was moving. When I moved back to start my job, everything material that was important to me fit into my 1980 Ford Pinto. A big duffle bag. A big stereo. A bike. And when I left there two years later to return home to Boston, everything near to me still fit into that car. Miraculously, the car still worked. I was 23, and I haven’t forgotten the wistful feeling of driving north on route 95, all my possessions in my hatchback, a good tape in the player, eyes open to possibility.

When my son went off to college last fall I made a promise to myself that I’d get moving again. A major life change had jolted my world and I just couldn’t envision staying much longer in my house in the woods. I knew I needed to move, and once I made the decision to move—actually, once I got moving—good things followed in my life.

It’s like that in life, good things can’t follow until you get moving. Nothing follows a person standing still. And you have to trust your gut and just run with it.


Moving out of a house I lived in with my late wife was difficult.

It was physically and mentally challenging. In the end it was liberating. At one point in the process, I put an eight-foot folding table at the bottom of my driveway. For a few days I made a morning ritual of putting things on it that I knew I didn’t want to keep but thought someone may like. Colorful little vases, kitchen utensils, old lacrosse sticks, stuff like that. I painted “Free” on the back of the plywood sign that our builder made 12 years earlier and that on the flip side had an architectural drawing of our home and the title “Bidstrup Residence.”

Everything I put on the table was taken away to a new home. Everything. I’m glad about that. I went away for a long weekend and discovered that they took the table away too. All that was left was the “Free” sign.

It hit me then. I was free.

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep.” ~ Robert Frost

Moving is part of our being. It’s healthy.

Think about it—to stay in good physical shape we need to move. How nice it is to walk through the woods or along the shoreline. As we move, our perspective shifts—literally and figuratively. A new vantage point leads to new insight and discovery. Players move on a field of play in order to open up angles for passing and shooting. The natural world is full of movement, especially as seasons change.

As I write this I’m on the Maine coast. The sunsets are coming a little earlier now. It’s late August. The water feels cooler, and I’m wearing my sweatshirt more often now. Birds are moving. Boats too. Heading south ahead of the raw weather that will come as surely as the harvest moon that will rise in a month.

I chatted with a friend on a ferry boat yesterday. We talked about moving. He’d moved 16 times in 22 years. He was smiling and had a twinkle in his eye as he was getting ready to move again.

As I enter a new life chapter, I expect it to remain full of movement. I’m looking forward to the movement and new vistas that will enter my field of view. I can’t anticipate what they will look like. I expect though that with movement, new vantage points will offer me heretofore hidden insights. Insights into life’s mystery, and the places and people that I will share my time with. As I accelerate, distinct shapes give way to the blur of my peripheral vision. My car of choice is still an old one—’93 Land Cruiser. I’ve got a few great playlists on the iPod, and my eyes are open to possibility. Moving, happily. Are you?

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” ~ Semi-Sonic, “Closing Time”



Author: Pete Bidstrup

Image: Author’s Own, zenjazzygeek/Flickr

Editor: Catherine Monkman

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