In a recent post I mentioned feeling restless.
It's not unusual that every so often we crave change, a new pace and new stimulation. I saw a study once that identified actual psychological reasons for the famous "seven year itch." I do not remember the specifics, but I know from experience that over time routines can stultify; stuck in a rut we live on automatic. But change stimulates. It keeps us moving and thinking, makes us more creative, and allows us to grow by looking at things in new ways.
In my life the "itch" has been a reality and the source of many of the good things I have experienced. Looking back at the big changes I made over the years, I can see a pattern of major transitions occurring roughly every five to ten years. The average of the intervals between major shifts is startlingly close to the storied seven years.
And here again I find myself, seven years after I moved to Mérida to live full time. It's been seven years and four months to be exact. For a while now I have been having recurring thoughts about making a change.
I am restless, but at the same time I really enjoy the life I've got: a pleasant, well-situated, comfortable house in a great town, close friends, low stress and freedom to do many of the things I want to do. As we age there is a lot to be said for this kind of stability. Although I feel the need to scratch the itch that calls for change, I really don't want to chuck everything and start with a blank slate, as I did on several occasions when I was younger.
So I was contemplating this problem yesterday as I cleaned out a storage area which, because it is partially open, attracts nesting doves, known here as tortolitas. Among the objects stored high on a shelf there is an old bird cage that has proven to be the platform of choice for their nests. After several years of hosting generations of these bird families, I'd decided to do something to encourage them to move elsewhere. I took the cage off the top shelf with the goal of removing the currently-vacant nest, and cleaning up the litter of twigs and grass, broken egg shells and the encrusted droppings that had built up there.
It was then I noticed off to one side the egg, apparently infertile or dead, which was left by the last pair to occupy the nest. I had noticed that instead of the normal two they raised only a single chick, which fledged last week. Apparently this egg was pushed aside when it didn't hatch. I placed the egg back in the nest and hung the cage on a hook outside while I cleaned up the area.
Instantly I noticed the possibilities of a good image, and as I arranged the scene and took photos, realized what an apt solution for my "itch" conundrum the picture suggests. It is natural for birds to escape from and to stay away from cages whenever possible. The tortolitas who built this nest purely by chance created a startling image, and gave me an idea: Instead of abandoning our "cages," we can look at them in new ways and use them for new purposes.
Although I will not leave Mérida, I have been thinking about selling my house and making some serious changes, much as I did in the past. Perhaps that's not the right tactic at this point in the game.
The challenge is to, as the timeworn saying goes, "think outside the box," or as the photo suggests, outside the cage; not to abandon it or toss "the old" out, but to find ways to utilize what we've already got to hatch new, creative perspectives. This is a concept worth consideration.