Torn….part two

I had a few other things I wanted to talk about in my last post, but as I was writing it the other day I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and just really wanted to get what I had written out there, and published. There are a few other things that have pushing and pulling at me lately, too.

But first, I do want to say thank you to everyone who read my last post and especially, thank you to those of you who left your thoughts, both on the blog and on facebook and in text messages. They really help and give me new perspectives to think about, and a couple even brought tears to my eyes, so thank you. I really mean it.

Mother Nature does some amazing work. This photo doesn’t even do the sunset from this evening, justice.

One of the things I love about where I live are the amazing vistas. Vistas that you don’t see the likes of on the east coast because the topography is just so different. But you also get those vistas because towns are few and far in between. National park areas or recreational areas are kind of spread out, out here. And for me, I have to admit, it’s taking some adjusting, and not necessarily in a good way. I lived on the east coast for my entire life, and there, you don’t have to drive 75 miles to get from one small town to another small town. I have to travel about 120 miles to get to the nearest decent-sized city. In Massachusetts, where I lived until last year, that kind of drive would have taken you almost completely from the easternmost side of the state to the western side of the state. Seriously. It would have. I remember well driving the MA turnpike and seeing the signs saying about “Boston – 156 miles.”

Can I be honest? I love the desert vistas, but I miss trees. When I wrote an earlier post on reflection about my time driving to home from my family in Clarkdale, AZ, I posted a picture of a gorgeous spot I found on the drive through Oak Creek. I felt comfortable there because it reminded of the woods you see back east. A friend commented that in my list of spontaneous words that came to mind as I sat there was the word “green.” She might have been onto something.

the amazing sky over Lone Rock (picture unedited to show true colors)

At times when I lived back east, I wished for more quiet. Now that I have that quiet, in spades, I wish for more stuff to be going on, or at least, for the opportunity to have  more stuff going on. I like the simplicity of a small town – I don’t have lots of options for entertainment, so that saves me money, but god, it would be nice to have that option at the same time to go see a museum or an event or even a farmer’s market!! Really! It would be nice to have more than one option for Thai food, or more places where I could get vegan friendly food (we have two supermarkets and one of them is found in the Super Walmart.)

Things were definitely, DEFINITELY more expensive in Boston. Rent was more expensive (although the town where I live might surprise you – ahem, my apartment is $800/month), but then again the salaries were higher, or at least mine was. Vet bills were more expensive, but then again, I had the comfort of knowing that if something happened suddenly with the furballs, it was a quick uber ride or zip car rental to get me to the emergency vet. It didn’t take over two hours to drive there if the local vet’s office was closed. And that, trust me, is super scary. Taking Bonkers to the vet about 3 weeks before he died because he couldn’t poop was super scary. I had flashbacks of the night I drove Sebastian to that same vet, all the way in St. George (only 75 miles away at that time), only to arrive there and find out he had died on the way. I never want to go through something like that, again. Any parent, fur or otherwise hates to see their kid not feeling well. The fact that my kid just happened to meow to me instead of speak English, and that he had fur didn’t make it any less stressful. Parents and kids come in all shapes and sizes.

For the past few days, I’ve had this yearning to simplify my life again. Go through the clothes and really break them down even further to what is only necessary. If I was living in a Class B or a van, what would I then find to be necessary? Would I only keep about two weeks worth of clothes, or even less?

Part of me knows that to live in something so small would end up being difficult, and it would remove a lot of the creature comforts that I like about living in an apartment. Since I moved out of the RV and into the studio, I have absolutely loved being able to step into a normal size bathroom, with a normal sized shower and if I want to stand in there and let the water splash over me for a few seconds after I have washed and shampooed myself, I can do so. I know that I won’t run out of hot water within a matter of seconds. In the RV, I worried about using up too much propane in the process, and to do that meant wasting money. (Don’t get me wrong, I still take quick showers, but there is a certain luxury to knowing you could stay in there for a bit longer if you wanted to.)   RVs are notoriously poorly insulated and so I really do appreciate the thickness of the apartment walls, and how well they keep this place cool even in 100 degree heat as we have experienced the past few days. Rvs are much smaller, and thus, my animals would have much less room to roam. And I think you all know how important my furballs and their happiness and safety is to me.  Having had two of them get out from my apartment scared me shitless while they were gone and  I couldn’t find them, or get them back. Living in an RV or a Class B, I might be terrified of their escaping every time I opened the door. I couldn’t have a baby gate right inside the door as an added barrier to escaping, as I do now in the apartment.

Living in an RV again – it would force me to live even more simply, but then again, it comes with its own challenges, not to mention the fear of something breaking down and then my responsibility of having to repair it. It allows one to travel and see more sights, but it also means having to start over a lot. Starting over in new places and meeting new places, hoping again to find a community of like minded people and possibly facing the disappointment of not finding it.  My sister in law said to me the other day something to the effect that maybe there is no “one” place for me, but a lot of “this will do for now” places. She’s pretty intuitive, so maybe she’s right. I don’t know, time will tell.  But I think, for now, the RV idea is out. It’s tempting because of the romantic simplicity aspect that comes with it, but I also know it’s definitely not an easy life in the way of creature comforts.

One last thing that has me torn some days, and I have written about this a lot in the past, is whether or not to take an anti-depressant to help my anxiety. I know that it definitely helps to “level” things out, but I also want to just free my body of artificial materials like medications, as much as I can. I do take an allergy medication, and that I pretty much know I need to take (it’s over the counter so it isn’t expensive), because of the pets and pollen (yes, we get some in the desert) and dust, and well, basically fresh air, lol. I don’t want to feel like I need a crutch, and in truth, most days, I don’t. I don’t want to second guess my reactions to stressful situations. So  I seesaw back and forth. Currently, I’ve not taken it in a few weeks.

Have you ever noticed how many commercials there are on tv for various drugs, including ones that are for combating side effects of chemotherapy? Why is that, don’t you think? Is it because the pharmaceutical field wants to have us buy medications we might not need? Don’t get me wrong, I definitely needed to take prozac at one point in my life, and for that, I consider it a miracle drug, but now I question if I still need it. Many days, I ask that question and find myself saying, “nope, you don’t.”

A friend shared the following with me the other day and it was like the author was talking to me, or in my mind! I thought a lot of you might find it helpful too: What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do (by Emma While).

I’m going to leave you with a link to a post I just read titled, “If you Don’t Know What to Do With Your Life, Read This” of which the final two lines are so perfect (wish I could have come up with them, but the author, Michelle Kennedy Hogan, deserves all the credit.

“At the end of your life, you won’t regret trying things and failing, but you will regret not ever trying at all.

Close that laptop and go get your life.”

And with that,  I thank you for reading, as always. Hope you enjoyed the sunset pictures – they don’t do that actual sky justice.


12 thoughts on “Torn….part two

  • Terri, it sounds like you, like most of us, continue to take stock of what we want. One day you may decide to move on, maybe even back to a large city on the East Coast. There’s nothing wrong with changing your mind and especially having the freedom to do it. Many people do not have that luxury. I think having that as a possibility should be freeing, and of course it will create some anxiety, but think of it as having the luxury of changing your circumstances as they suit you and when they suit you. I think you “worry” (as we all do from time to time) about making another change and possibly you think that you are letting yourself down or others? Or others will say “I told you so.” Who cares – reframe how you look at the possibilities. I don’t know, but I seem to hear that when I read your posts that if you make a change you admitting defeat. I say go for it if that’s what you want when you want. There is nothing wrong with changing one’s mind. My husband and I have sold our big house and I am going to live in a Park Model on the lake (400 sq. ft.) since he travels all the time. We plan to build on some land about 30 min. from there…my adventure begins. I am anxious, excited, happy, scared…but I’m going for it! And if it doesn’t suit me I’ll make another change. I think you have been very brave and should be patting yourself on the back for your resourcefulness and abilities to make such a huge change. As they say “You go girl!”

    • Carol, I think I have realized that when my lease is up next year, I will be making a change, just not sure yet of what that will be. I am going to be visiting family a few hours from here, closer to Sedona, next weekend and plan on making some more trips to see them and do reconnaisance on that and other areas. The good thing is, now being where I am, I can, rather than just relying on internet research like I did when back in Boston.

      When it’s all said and done, I am glad I made the change, as I felt like I was just going through the motions when I lived back in Boston. I was so afraid to take big chances then, the idea of moving from one city to the next in a year or under would never have occurred to me. And certainly not when I was married as my spouse was so tied to that area with family.

      I am very glad for you and excited at your big changes coming up! That’s awesome! Looking at it and other things as a possibility is a great outlook, thank you. And thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!

    • Geneva, I know you know the truth of that comment so well, with your own circumstances. It can just be difficult to accept at times, I think.

  • Terri – So much honesty, so much rawness and uncertainty. I cherish your openness and ability to look at yourself and make decisions that turn everything upside down. Much as my own life has changed, I know I couldn’t do what you’ve done. It sometimes feels that you’re on a pendulum swinging from side to side, one extreme to another, not certain of where you want or need to end up.

    I also think, to be blunt, that you’re not giving yourself enough time with one change before deciding you need something else. Identifying things that don’t meet expectations, needs, or wants isn’t the same as decision making based on those issues. Of course, if something completely doesn’t work, it makes no sense to stay in it just because you signed a piece of paper. Health and safety are priority, for you and your furbabies. I’m excited by your openness but worried that you make sure you have a safety net, especially living on your own away from family.

    Be kind to yourself and give yourself time to work through priorities. I completed an ideal job description once that included questions such as – what’s the weather like? what’s the commute like? what do you wear to work? do you work with people/data/things/nature? what is your work space like? Sounds like you know some of these already. Sometimes you only know what you do want when you live without it for awhile.

    Know that you are a strong, brave woman with the courage to ask hard questions and take huge steps to make your dreams real. I look forward to following your journey into what’s next.

    • Thanks, Anne. My friend Dan also thinks I should take a few months to just sit and do what I am doing (he didn’t put it in those words but he wants me to take a breath(er) before I start researching. I think you have a good point of identifying the things that don’t meet expectations or needs or wants. And yes, the safety net thing is important to me, for sure. I need to have it to not feel stressed. Working on having it now. Anne, thanks. Reading through your comment the first (and second and third time) I felt like you were giving me a hug from afar. Thank you. I miss seeing you.

  • Hi Terri,

    I do love the desert and was a little shocked by that, but like you love to see greenery and trees! Maybe we should be more mobile and live in different places for a period of time. Once you leave a place then you remember how much you miss certain things. With everything there is a sacrifice to be made, we each have to find out what we are willing to do. And honestly sometimes you don’t know what all those things are until you actually just do it. And as we age we view things differently as well.

    Like others have said YOU are very brave for taking those different leaps and just going for it. Many people don’t even take the first step, but YOU made a decision and followed through.
    Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t go back to some kind of RV. You did live in one and grew from that experience and have helped others from it.

    Thanks for posting those two links, really enjoyed reading them 🙂 The I don’t know what to do, gave me a good laugh at the beginning.

    Take care, hope you have a great weekend!


    • Tina, so glad this post made you laugh with its links. I know, I felt the same way when I read that one title. And like you, i am definitely looking at things in life differently than I did ten or twenty years ago. The things that mattered then just don’t anymore.
      You make a very good point – there is always a sacrifice to be made. I guess right now I am just trying to figure out what sacrifices I want to make and can live with.

      Thank you for saying that about my being brave. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like I have been.

  • Terri,

    Like you, I haven’t found one place where I want to be all the time. I have found two general areas that I like at different times of the year.

    I don’t like the desert. The Rocky Mountains are pretty to see, but I would miss green trees and waterfalls.

    I stay in different parts of the NC Mountains until November when it starts getting cold and the beautiful fall leaves are gone. Then I head to the Florida beaches. Then about April or May when it starts getting hot in FL and I know the trees in the mountains are green, I’m ready to head to the mountains. I like hiking and waterfalls.

    Your sister-in-law is probably right. There may not be any one place that’s right for you all the time. I know there is no one place that I want to be all the time. When you’re looking for your perfect place, think about whether it would be perfect for only part of the year.

    Moving every six months complicates things. I know that living full time in a motorhome makes it easy for me, but a lot of people (including non-retired people) do it who don’t live in RVs. I’m sure a lot more people would like to live in two places, but unlike you, they don’t want to take a chance on doing something different.

    Terri, consider living in two places as one of your options. It might be just what you need to be happy.

    • I actually wanted to talk to you, Jerry, about living in the NC mountains – I will email you privately about that. I have also considered that if I were to move back to the east coast. I am pretty far away from a lot of my family being out here, except for my brother and sis in law and they plan on being nomadic again in the next year or so, if not before then.

      Do those non-retired folks who live in two places have workplace-independent (i.e. online) types of employment?

  • Hi Terri, it’s been awhile. I’ve just been living an extraordinary life and it seems, forgot how to use a computer .LOL! Anyway, I wanted to share a few insights that I have gleaned from living in quite a number of places during my 51 years on this spectacular planet. Family is the most important thing in this life — just think about how important your furballs are to you and, you to them. I suggest settling within a days drive or closer to your mom. Just my opinion though. Buy a small fixer-upper. I did. I bought a 750 sq. ft. home for 18,000. cash. I have had loads of fun renovating and making it my own. I homesteaded it and my yearly taxes are less than 200 dollars. I am close to family and anywhere I want to travel is a plane flight, or day or two drive. I am debt free, close to a vet, my 7 cats have plenty of room to roam. I think a person can truly find happiness by listening to what their heart is truly telling them. It sounds like you may be an east coast gal. Go there. If you can afford 800.00 a month rent, you can find a small cottage somewhere that needs TLC and plant some roots and stretch your limbs to the sky. Grow a garden, ride your bike and run trails, laugh, love, and cuddle your furry family and see your human family more, as well. I had been running away from home from the time I was sixteen and hitchhiked out to LA. I have lived in California, Florida, Houston, Galveston (twice), and now I am home where I belong. Search as long as you need to, I did. It made me who I am and, I have lots of stories to tell. I am always hoping the very best for you and can’t wait to hear from you when you finally find “your place” and curl up by a crackling fireplace and begin your blog with something akin to, “Everybody, I’m home.” Love and hugs to you, traveler of the road not taken.

    • DAvid, I am so happy to hear from you! You have no idea! I was wondering how you were doing, and will send you a private email as well. I have been going back and forth in my mind lately about how far away I can take being away from those I love. Right now, it’s far and I am missing them a lot. I have a lease until April of next year and things may be changing at my current job, I need to find out the details and then make plans from there.

      But yes, my family, furry ones included, as well as my best friend and my MA family, are the most important thing in the world to me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.