It’s hard to start again. I’m not sorry I’m doing it, and it’s hard.

I’m back in a part of the country that feels deeply familiar, and I’m a stranger here. I built a life on the opposite coast but that life imploded, and there were ways that I never really felt I belonged there anyway. I was always aware that my roots never found hospitable ground to take hold in. Now my roots are starting to trust that they’ve come home, at the same time as I’m feeling ungrounded.

So, while I miss aspects of it, it’s not that I want my old life back, though I am grateful for much of it. I have been enriched by the friendships and connections made over those decades. I was talking with one of those old friends this afternoon, telling her about needing community and wanting to find a part time job so I can be around people. “I’ve started the application for Target,” I told her. “Target?” she said. “I don’t see you at Target.” I don’t actually either. Hence, the incomplete application. (Any suggestions?)

I’ve been here a few days shy of two months. My apartment is pretty well set up. The pictures are on the walls. I’ve made one friend in the building, and there are a couple more possibles. I’ve managed to find medical practices that are willing to take new patients. As a rule, I walk a couple of miles a day, in a park or on a trail by the Mohawk River, mostly by myself but sometimes with my new friend. The holidays are coming and my oldest friend’s daughter has invited me to spend them with her and her family, two and a half hours south of here. Once again, I am grateful for the friendship and the connection. I know that things are going well and recognize that it takes time to build a life.

And I am lonely. In addition to time, it takes a lot of energy to keep putting oneself out there. I can’t always do it, just like I can’t always write. I know both things are good for me. So I sat myself down here tonight and wrote to you. Two birds with one proverbial stone.

Photo by Ruth Neuwald Falcon


  1. Dear Ruth, thank you for writing to us! And thank you for the beautiful evocative photo, big grey clouds, luminous horizon. I imagine your roots will feel much sturdier and locally connected by a year from now, but in the meantime, may you feel good nourishment from all of your non-local friends “rooting for” your happiness.

    Your post reminds me of this song, which I think I meant to send you months ago (but I am not sure if I ever did?)

    Wishing you a sweet and warmhearted Thanksgiving, love, Christy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fabulous photo, Ruth! Idea….do they have a museum there that could train you to be a docent? My friend Donna is training at SAM. She has met a huge variety of folks in the class which will last for a year. She’s 78. I know it’s hard, very hard and you seem to keep stepping in a “good for you” direction. Left, right, left, right. The band is marching behind you.

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  3. I feel lonely all the time and I live with 3 dogs, a cat, and my partner of 19 yrs. I envy your courage and drive to start again. I may be a constant malcontent, about which I poke fun at myself, saying the grass is always greener may just be my unfortunate norm. What I mean is, I’m excited still for your new start. You’ve got this. Also, if there’s a food co-op near you, see if you can work there. Or Trader Joe’s!

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  4. Beloved, I felt the same sense of not fully belonging in Austin all the years I’ve been there as you felt in the west coast. It is why I am trying Taos, NM, where putting roots is easier for me. But, yes, it is quite difficult to create a community in our age/stage in life. Keep at it.
    Think about possibly finding a couple places to volunteer once a week, rather than a new job in a place like Target. I am doing it here and I find it helpful. Two days each week in which I have a specific reason to get out of the house, be of service, and be with other people.
    I salute your courage and determination, my friend.

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  5. Thank you Ruth. I can hardly imagine how difficult this transition has been, especially when you’re doing it alone. May the eternal presence surround you!

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  6. You are doing GREAT. Two months is a miniscule amount of time when starting anew. I know. I started anew 2 years ago and only recently do I feel fully settled in my new life. Be gentle with yourself, my friend.

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  7. Dear Ruth,
    I so respect your honesty and authenticity! You’ve made a number of significant changes, and, as you say, it’s hard to start over, particularly when you’ve done it repeatedly. May you find what feels right for you, as you continue to re-establish roots on the east coast.
    Our hearts are with you, and although it can feel lonely at times, I hope our love feels comforting. Sending you my very best wishes along with hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Ruth, I am so happy to see your post. I wanted to craft a perfect response. Alas, it is not perfect at all, but here it is:

    It takes time to nurture and rebuild soil for new roots to grow. You have made a lot of progress of setting up your new habitat with pictures on the walls, etc. That is the first start in rebuilding the soil for new roots to take hold. You have a new friend in the building and have established medical services.

    Target is an interesting idea. I, too, didn’t see you there either. After a while, though, I thought – well, why not give it a try. It would be a way to be around people. And who knows, you could end up writing a book about your insight into Target……..grin.

    With your writing and filming skill, I wonder if tutoring is a possibility? Just a thought.

    It does take a lot of energy to keep putting oneself out there. I know you will find your way in good time. Your friends love you and enjoy keeping in touch. Go forth and you will be a blessing.


    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for your openness about your process. I find your writing inspiring!
    There is no one-size-fits-all solution to any challenge. Keep being honest with yourself, and spend time listening to your kol d’mam’daka (still, small voice). Lean into any step that feels good, or any whispered idea that refuses to be ignored, and you will continue to build a life which you can fully inhabit.
    Happy Everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hello Ruth,
    I just want you to send light and peace. I am sorry to hear you are going through transition at this time in life. I have made a transition myself. I have retired from the hospital in February and have moved to Tucson, AZ. Part of transition is being in a relationship for the first in 20 years. I have reconnected with the with a woman I dated 50 years ago. . Putting down roots in new place is exciting and challenging. I have taken a job as a vocational job coach.working with people with disabilities..Your writing is such an inspiration. You have always been a inspiration to me. Your are strong woman and have good heart. I know you will grow stronger
    Keith Steinlein

    Liked by 1 person

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