I’m just now beginning chapter three. I’m not talking about a book…but my life. At the nice, young age of 56 I find myself beginning all over, trying to find and reinvent myself. The last three years have been a journey. Without going into a lot of detail, I was married for 26 years and most of those years were good. The last 6 or 7 years were not. And the very last years (including divorce) were horrible, although many more descriptive words come to mind. Along with this, as of this very year, my youngest daughter (I have three) is officially out of the house and experiencing her freshman year of college. Although I am very happy for all of my daughters, for their successes and new found experiences away from home, it has not been so great for me. These are supposed to be the best years of my life, finally having time with the spouse to do all the things you could never do before, etc, etc, etc. Yeah. Well…someone changed the route on my map without telling me and I’ve felt cheated, not to mention LOST.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross studied and wrote about the 5 stages of grief a patient goes through when learning of their terminal illness. I studied about this when I was in college years ago and never thought I could relate (or wanted to) but I have truly hit each and every one. They are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and finally (and I DO mean finally) Acceptance. My experience has been more like: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Anger, Depression, Anger, Acceptance, occasional Anger. You get what i’m saying…i’m a little angry.
Anyway, before I get too worked up about the above paragraph, let me switch gears and explain how I am finally finding a light at the end of my tunnel. I realized I had a lot of time on my hands in a now empty house with three dogs. And although I am thankful for the company of my furry companions sometimes a gal needs a little more. I found that through the divorce and the years of being very active with my girls (sometimes living my life vicariously through them…ok, MANY times) my friends had dwindled. Partly my fault as I was not as attentive to my friendships and with any divorce you lose a certain amount of friends that split one way or another. I am not a religious person and do not attend church services and have little to no organized activities anymore. My choices therefore were to either ‘find Jesus’ (pardon the expression) or join some sort of a club. Let’s see, a list of the things I like to do would include: cooking, sewing rag quilts, bicycling at the pace of a snail, and shopping for household items (such as and most recently food storage containers) that would not interest most people. Yes, I have certainly become the real joy of the party! I quickly realized that these activities don’t really have ‘clubs’ to join and certainly not at my pace anyway. Even my love life stinks as my best friend and partner of 4 years (male): 1) doesn’t live in my state and 2) is not in a position to really ‘be with me’. (i’ll let you read between the lines however you want…but no matter how you read it, it’s not good.) Do you know that company that promotes the ‘Life is Good’ stuff? Well, I just want them to someday come out with a shirt that says ‘Life is NOT ALWAYS Good’! It’s a little more realistic and yet still gives some hope for future good to come. Oh well.
Chapter one (my childhood, teen, college years) were great! No responsibility and college in the 70’s (again, you can read between the lines). Chapter two (married years and kids) were wonderful and rewarding family years and I would not change a thing. And now, Chapter three. How does a person like me make sense of this chapter of my life? Well, my inspiration came one day while looking at Craig’s List over a year ago. I just happened to look at RV’s and campers for no apparent reason except to look and I saw this thing called a pop-up tent. Hmmm. Very compact and cute. Oh…and it had a little bed and a little stove thingie! It really wasn’t very much money and I thought how much fun it might be to go camping. Now, mind you, this woman in all of her 55 years has NEVER camped! So I could only draw off of pictures in magazines or tv movies, etc. The scent of a fire and pine trees…the sounds of a running stream and birds and little scampering animals. Ohhhh…and good things cooking in a big pot on the perfect camp fire! And maybe a handsome, rugged wood chopping hunk of a man? I wanted to get this pop-up tent so badly. And then I told my girls about it and all images and sounds in my mind came to a screeching halt kind of like when a car crashes into a brick wall. That was the end of that. But somehow the camping scenario never left my mind. It just stayed put waiting for the right time to come out.
Ray Charles said, “Dreams, if they’re any good, are always a little bit crazy.” That statement says a lot about me. Stay tuned…..