10,000 miles in seven weeks has brought me to my new life.
Leaving our 3,700 square foot home to our new 45-foot boat in Florida brings many unexpected challenges and joy. Giving up the safety-net job of teaching was the first step, then it was putting all of my life into the back of my Dodge Avenger. (That’s when I realized that everything in my life was truly temporary!) I also realized that picking and choosing items to keep in life and those to let go of can be emotional, yet freeing.
Things to Keep
Some things were easy to keep. The things that make life a little more comfortable, as well as things that brought me joy. It was the memories of friends I had made in the past 25 years living in Nevada. They were there for me for a reason or a season, though only a few were for longer. The memories of those that made me laugh or listened to my sorrows will always hold a special place in my heart. The memories of having groups of friends where monthly get-togethers were fun diversions, to watching their children grow making us feel a little older and wiser. Also, the beauty of Lake Tahoe and the places that brought me happiness. I often visit those places in my mind when I need a pick me up.
Things I Got Rid Of
Some things were harder to throw away. Picking and choosing things that make your life better, also means saying goodbye to things you once thought you needed. I let go of an 18-year-old marriage to find my true self and worth. Although it was the best thing for me, I had to weigh and measure each step, since it would significantly impact our daughter. Through that process, I also learned just to let go! I let go of the belief that I had to control each aspect of my life and just be present. When that happened, it was so much easier to let go of the things that didn't serve me; guilt, lack of self-worth, and approval of others.
I said goodbye to people who didn’t support me or believe in me, as well as the ones that drained me of my purpose. This wasn’t easy for me since I always believed in giving everyone a second chance. However, when you realize someone is coming from a place of anger, jealousy, or even worse, indifference, then it’s in your best interest to walk away.
I said goodbye to a job that was draining me of my passion and energy, realizing that you can’t fix a broken system by yourself. That would take time, and it was affecting my health, so when I finally dared to leave teaching, I did it with purpose.
Joy of Receiving
I have received so many unexpected gifts during this journey. They came in so many packages. Some were from wonderful people getting things for my daughter's first year in college. Their thoughtfulness and love will always be remembered. Several gifts were of monetary value that was so appreciated. I had left a very stable job and career to pursue my writing. The timing of it meant I would not be receiving my retirement, although I had taught for over 25 years. I wouldn't be able to receive that for 12 more years, so I was a little concerned about how I was going to make ends meet! Goodbye gifts, 'so that you have some gas money!' or 'here's a Starbucks gift card, if you get sleepy on the road trip!' Every gift came at a time when I needed that reassurance that I was making the right decision.
A dear family friend came over the day Paige and I were leaving to drive the 3,300 miles, and he gave us each an envelope with a beautiful prayer and money. We all cried at the unexpected generosity. It turned out to be the exact amount I needed for gas to get us across the States. I hugged him through my grateful tears.
Weeks into getting the boat ready for living aboard, Rich and I and decided to take a drive and get to know our surroundings. We decided to have lunch in Sarasota and walk around. As we did some window shopping, we walked into a store that friends of ours talked about often. We met the owner and spoke about our new move. By the end of our visit, I was offered a part-time job! Yes, when you let go of control, life will open all opportunities!
My Journey Unfolds
It has only been two and a half months since we arrived, and every day brings us reminders of why we chose to move. I am so grateful to my sweetheart for believing in me. The immense support and love I receive from him is indeed the wind beneath my wings to soar on this journey. Although I know I could do things on my own, I am in sincere gratitude to share it with him. Until next time...