That pretty much sums up today in a nutshell. And it's been so nice. I've spent most of the day doing absolutely nothing of any importance and I have really needed it more than I knew. I started out the day by doing my now-required pilgrimage to the Washington square to look at the Goodwill store for cheap paperback books. It was a gorgeous morning and the sun was out so that was a great therapeutic substitute for my light box. Sadly, there were no books that I deemed worthy of even 88 cents, which is pretty sad because just about any book is worth at least that (except for anything post Owen Meany John Irving - ew! He's really lost it--or at least lost me, it's hard to tell which.)
I also hit the public library to see if it had improved any since we lived here -- an no, it really hadn't. They had increased the size of their DVD collection - to a whole 3 shelves! But overall, I was reminded at why, when we lived here, I had a reciprocal library card to the Iowa City Public Library and drove 30 minutes to go to the library.
And that reaction was pretty much typical of all my reactions to being back in Washington. Although it's infinitely easier to come and visit here now that we no longer own property here, it still feels very much like we dodged a bullet by leaving when we did. The town is simply too conservative for us. Not like Ames is a liberal bastion (that would be Iowa City) but it's a pretty good fit for now. Heidi always talks about wanting to move some place like a little seaside cottage in England or something like that, and while that, admittedly, is attractive, it's also completely unrealistic at this point in time. Although it is fun to dream, no?
I also walked past our old house this afternoon, and I found myself wondering when I would walk past it and not feel like it's my house with strangers living in it. I saw a lot of the things we did to it - like the fall mums that we planted in full bloom, the clothesline in the backyard, the place to hang the garden hose and I felt a little twinge of, not really regret, but mostly what was a simpler time. It certainly was cheaper to live in Washington, but the cost to my psyche was overwhelming. I told Heidi, in typical four fashion, that living in Washington any longer would have killed my soul (no drama, once again!) and while that's not entirely true, like most exaggerations, there's a kernel of truth at the core of it that rings true.
You can't really look back on decisions you've made in your life -- well, you can, I guess, but it doesn't really do you a whole lot of good unless you're going to draw some kind of life lesson or conclusion from the things you've done or experienced. I've made a lot of mistakes in my life and I try not to dwell on them. However, there are invariably those nights where I'm feeling especially melancholy or introspective that the parade of "Dan screw-ups" marches by and I have to look at them, almost relive them in many ways. Those are hard times - and I'm not always certain what to do with them.
Learn from them, I guess. And don't repeat them. After all, you should never have to learn the hard way twice.