I confess. While I love my heart home of Tennessee, I also adore the North, particularly Maine, Vermont and Michigan. Why? I have no idea. I’ve never lived in such a place where you have to fight or submit to the weather. I’ve never even been there. But the forests I’ve seen photos of make me faint of heart. I just want to pick up and move, yesterday. And, I’d probably run with my tail tucked twixt my legs shortly thereafter. I mean, I’m a Southern-born woman. The most snow I’ve ever seen was on a long ago trip to Canada (which I fell in love with, incidentally). The most snow I’ve ever lived with was a cumulative 19″ in a week. Yet something about snow, woods, and water just makes me all ga-ga. Is it the romantic in me, imagining cozy woodstove fires and cuddling with a lap throw? Or maybe I should attribute it to my Scottish and Viking lineage, I just don’t know. I have about .000001 percent of knowledge how to live in such a climate. But my goodness, I still long to try it. Everyone that I’ve talked to that has lived in it, for the most part, tells me I’m crazy. There are a few that I’ve known that loved it even after living in it. I’ve found affordable properties everywhere but Vermont. Things I could own outright in five years or less. It makes me CRAZY I tell you. Just crazy. The adventuress in me wants to just go for it. The pragmatist in me keeps hollering “Whoa Nelly!” very loudly. As usual, I am torn between the two segments of my brain – the wild thing and the responsible thing. I am trying desperately to be responsible. But I have to tell you, that the vistas draw me like no other thing. I fell head over heels with Colorado, Montana and Wyoming when I traveled there as well. I am simply not made for congested city living, despite all of the amenities that they offer. The easy access to the grocery store, the library, the arts – all wonderful. But the wilder side of rural living is simply just a siren song to me. Every day I sit here in this tiny apartment in the city makes me absolutely miserable. I count check marks from my to-do task list off one by one as the days tick by ever so slowly. It sometimes feels like Chinese water torture, waiting this ‘responsible’ thing out. But it has to be done. And I hate it. But every time that I exercise my restraint makes the future joy more delicious (or at least, that’s my hope!). Every choice to go slowly and with mindfulness, I hope will pay off in spades. Right now is not the time that I really fear. That time is in the future, when the last bill payment is made. I freely admit that patience and fact-gathering are not at the top of the list of my attributes. More likely I am the girl that you’d show up at the door with a tent in the back and say “What are you doing for the rest of the weekend, wanna go camping?” and I’d be out the door with a ‘Hell yeah’ in about fifteen minutes (I gotta pack SOME things, you know?) Really, I know I should have outgrown this bent in me probably about at least ten years ago, if not before. It’s not that I am not happy once settled in a place that provides what I need around me, quite the contrary. It is when I am NOT there that I get this incredibly irrepressible urge to just GO. And come on, if this was beckoning to you, would it not be difficult also?
I know, I know. “Good things come to those that wait.” But I’m not getting any younger. My delays in fulfillment are not directly attributed to any wrong thing I have done. My husband died. I was laid off. I’ve struggled to get back to where life has some semblance of purpose, of forward movement. I’ve even managed to find happiness and joy even when all by myself, although I am most happy and enlivened in a partnership; even that has eluded me. I’ve modified my approach to living and spending. I’ve tapped in to my practical, logical side – annoying wench that she is. She stands in the way often of perceived joy. She holds me back when I want to fling myself into something. Most days, I really can’t stand her. Killjoy. But I know that she is smarter than the impulsive, lively, impish child-like me that lives alongside of her and grouses at giving up any ground to that plodding, planning part. It is difficult, oh so difficult, to juggle these pieces of me. THAT me wants to be here…
Never mind that I’d have to haul water (but there are creeks on this seven acres!), or be snowed in and unable to drive out of this place probably oh, four months or more of the year. Or, that I’d probably never have another date, ever, lol! And what would I do for a living to pay even the basic bills of living if my debt were paid off? There are no jobs there. Can I take my job with me? Mayyyyybe. But getting back to the home office would be a far cry from up in the North than it would from Tennessee. And so ’round and round it goes in my head. It’s like a badminton game in there, I promise you. Remember those commercials long ago with the little devil and little angel on opposite shoulders? That’s my brain. Right now, I’ve duct-taped the mouth of my impulsive side for a while. I’ll let her out when I am in the woods next month, running amok and camping, traipsing around taking photographs and letting my imagination run wild. I have to let her out from time to time, in judicious measures. If I don’t, she comes busting out in very inappropriate ways that I just don’t want to deal with, particularly the aftermath. What is so humorous about this side of me is that if you asked anyone but my very closest friends, they don’t know her. Oh, my husbands did. My best friends, yep. But most people? Nah. She’s not all bad, and has some definite place in my life. I just have to sit on her most of the time, along with her minor variations. I let her out once, nearly full-bore, last year. I’m still paying the price for that, and it was a heavy one. So for now, she stays in a locked up place, pacing, and I toss her a bone from time to time. I let her dance, I let her surf the ‘net, I let her dream of a partner in the future, I let her run free in the woods of my mind – then she goes back inside, under wraps. A friend recently told me I was one of the most disciplined people she had met, one that could knuckle down and do what was needed, based upon my own self-examination. That was quite a compliment to someone who feels often that at any moment her restraint might break free. I try hard. I have no place in which to let that side of me go and run. I have no safe place – I had it briefly and then I lost it. Now, I must be my own safe place. And it is I that must tame the wild thing. Kind of like trussing a chicken – anything to keep her quiet. Once I am home again in the woods, all of that can be undone, and she can run free once again. Till then…well, that’s what imagination is for, right?
Be well. Use your imagination often. Loosen your mind and let it run free. Then carry on, with that secret smile 🙂