It’s been a long and internally argumentative couple of months. The worst darn arguments are the ones with myself – I can never win no matter what side I take 🙂
After the measly return on the SUV sale, I had to sit down and do some real soul-searching. Being mechanically inept, there is no way I could save enough money to acquire a solid mechanical RV that I would also have reasonable space to live in. Oh yes, it’s possible that if I spent every non-working waking moment that I might happen upon “the” deal online somewhere. As an experienced dream-chaser, I realize that activity could consume the next few months of my life and then at the end I may still not have what I needed vehicle-wise and cash-wise. My nine-month plan is now a two to three year plan, in order to pay off debt, set aside a reserve and be able to afford to pay cash for a decent and mechanically sound RV that I will be confident about when I finally do get to drive off into the wild blue yonder.
I’m still paying the mortgage on my farm, my primary residence, and that won’t end until sometime early next year. So I sat down and made plan number 4,289. If I have to be here in the Sunshine State, and I have some things to accomplish while I am here, where did I want to live while doing it? What could I afford now that would also help me accomplish my goals of RV living a few years down the road? Off I went in search of low-cost Nirvana, and, with any luck, I have found it. A little studio with all utilities in a sleepy, artsy, bike and dog friendly old-style beach town. Yes, it’s a bit long of a drive to work, but it is manageable in the little new gas sipping vehicle. It’s close to the library, parks, and should my budget allow for it, several restaurants and sea-side pubs. There’s a nice public beach with showers and picnic tables, and even a couple of playgrounds for the grandkids to use if they mosey on down with their parents. I did some figgerin’ and with a few good sales of excess ‘stuff’ I could afford to live while I wait for the farm sale.
This decision entailed heading back to the farm to orchestrate the fund raiser. I took the first real vacation I’ve taken in some while (layoffs really don’t count because you’re too wrapped up in finding another job to really enjoy them!) My little farm welcomed me in and of course, broke my heart. There is just no way to give up what you thought would be your ‘forever’ home without losing a little piece of yourself. Thanks to some infinitely thoughtful neighbors, the property is mowed regularly and she sat there on the curve of the road looking as beautiful as she did the day I first fell in love with her. I confess, I spent the first two days crying and railing against the inequity of it all. I had a small pity party. Then I got to work. I culled the big things that I would no longer need with my change of lifestyle, be it studio living or RV living. I sold all of my ‘farm’ accoutrements and got a fair dollar for them. Then I went through the house and focused on furniture that I no longer needed nor could haul back down in a Honda Fit. I sold two bedroom suits, end tables, and an armoire. Then back to the outside, where I sold my dog kennel and some power tools. After those irreversible deeds were done came the fun part of ‘what do I NEED’ to cram in the Honda? That turned out to be simpler than I thought. But boy, do I have a lot of sh!t!! I still have a half of a basement to go through before the sale concludes, not to mention the remaining furniture and housewares. There is still a lot of work to do, but I’ll be returning to work remotely from the farm in late fall, and will remain until the closing so there will be cold evenings and brisk mornings in which to get that accomplished if all things follow suit as I hope they will.
Since my husband died, it seems my life has been comprised of a lot of loss on top of loss. Sometimes I feel like one of those boxing clowns from my childhood, made of plastic that had a sand weighted bottom, and when you whopped it a good one, it laid nearly to the ground but would slowly return to upright position. If the whallop is a good one, it takes me a little longer to return to the upright position. But so far, thankfully, I’ve always returned upright.
This week, as the buyers examine the property and my home, I have a ball of emotions rattling around inside of me, threatening to choke me. Pride about the beauty of my little farmstead. Failure to complete what I started. Sadness to let yet one more thing that connected me and my husband go. Anger that my job changed its stance after six years on remote workers causing me to face this dilemma. Fear about starting all over, yet again. Jealousy that others have the time and money to do with the property what I could not do. And yes, even a tiny bit of relief that all of that care-taking and fretting about repairs and maintenance won’t rest solely on my sometime incompetent shoulders. When tears have managed to overwhelm me at various times, I’ve tried to think of all of the people on this planet that never even had a home, and to be thankful that I had a little piece of pure joy to live on. I’ve tried to remember how many people have not had a job in months, or in some cases, over a year and to be thankful that I’ve been allowed to romp across the country, trying on places for size, and still be gainfully employed most of the time. I think of all of the people stuck in urban blight that have never smelled newly mown hay, never watched deer in their yard at a hundred paces, never watched a family of young turkeys pass through the morning sunlight, never had barred owls hunt in their lawn, never seen the rise of thousands of fireflies into the sky at dusk – all memories that I have that only time can steal from my internal camera.
And the conclusion that I have come to is this: When you have a lot, there is a lot at risk. I’ve had an awful lot over my lifetime – love, health, wealth, intense happiness, healthy children and grandchildren, but most of all – great personal satisfaction. So I choose to be thankful of what I did and do have, and try to press on.
To quote an aging songwriter…”There I go. Turn the page.”