Karen Galatz
Karen Galatz
Journalist, Columnist, Blogger

The Matzo Chronicles. What’s New? New Beginnings

A new city for my husband and me.

A new year set to begin for us all.

Still, “new” is not how I feel.

Adrift. Unmoored. Those are words to describe me right now.

Instead of downsizing, my husband and I recently purchased a large house in his childhood town. He’s as happy as a clam, driving along familiar streets, catching up with old friends.

Me? I’m afraid of car accidents as I struggle to adjust to driving at break-neck speeds along unfamiliar roadways. Do I go left? Do I go right? Come on, Siri! Speak up! Why is WiFi so spotty here? Damn it! Speak up! Lives are at stake! My life is at stake!

And right now, the new house needs lots of work. In fact, it’s getting a facelift. No, make that a total make-over! We’re re-doing the floors — hardwood in some places; new carpet in others. We’re painting too. Plus just yesterday, we discovered mold! An upstairs bathroom is leaking into the downstairs bathroom, which, requires a partial demo. Fun, huh?

For some people, re-decorating is enjoyable. A hobby. For me, it’s terrifying — like parachuting or roller skating.

Besides, I have no patience. I want things done in a flash. Second, I have no patience. Oh, I’m repeating myself. Well, you get the point.

Also, while not exactly color-blind, I am color anxious. Picking the right shade of yellow, gray, beige — or even white — causes a panic attack.

Since I’m clearly not the Queen of Redecorating, you quite logically might say, “Get a grip. Stop griping. Get out of the house, and do something useful for the greater good.”

I quite agree. That is what I should do. That is what I’d like to do. And normally that is what I would do. Unfortunately, these are not normal times. We are still living under the cloud of COVID-19, and I now live in a community where vaccination rates and mask compliance are problematic.

So, I worry. How do I go “out there,” when “out there” is risky? And if “out there” is risky, what is my next best option?

The answer: doing what I love most: spending time “in here” — in my writer-y head, putting words to paper, or at least, words-to-computer screen. Yet, even that poses a challenge. Since my office is set to be demo-ed for the new hardwood floor and a top-to-bottom painting, I cannot put my desk in place or unpack my books. Minor challenges perhaps, but they do mess with my “Zen.” And right now, I’ve got a yen for a little Zen.

But I as I write about these short-term minor domestic inconveniences, I realize how inordinately fortunate I am amid profound, catastrophic global suffering. In fact, the very act of sitting “anchored” at my desk — now parked beside the kitchen counter — has helped calm me and cancel that feeling of being “unmoored” I described at the top of this essay. I feel refreshed, ready to face the New Year with gratitude, joy, and renewed purpose.

So, contrary to what I initially thought, I am ready for new beginnings. Here’s to happy, healthy adventures as we all set forth on new roadways.

Shanah tovah u-metukah.

About the Author
Karen Galatz is the author of Muddling through Middle Age, which provides women (and men) of a certain age a light-hearted look at the perils and pleasures of growing older. An award-winning journalist, her national news credits include The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour and the Nightly Business Report. Her fiction and non-fiction writing has been published across the U.S. More of Karen's writing can be read here: muddling.me A native of New York City and Las Vegas, Karen now lives in Reno, NV with her husband, two children, and one neurotic dog named Olga, rescued from Florida’s Hurricane Erma. It all makes for a lot of geography and a lot of humor.
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