Awhile ago I decided to resurrect this journey with the best intentions. So much for best intentions. Let’s try this again…
After selling my shape-shifting property in the Ben Lomond hills last year without a clear exit plan, my best guess was that I would end up settling in the Midwest. Returning to my Illinois roots seemed the most likely outcome simply because the Left Coast is such an expensive place to live and at my young/old age starting over here did not seem to be feasible. I could not have anticipated my daughter and her family choosing to sell their home at around the same time, with us teaming up to purchase a property together. But buy we did…in the Ben Lomond hills: a property with almost 23 acres, one house, a dilapidated barn (ish?) structure, some out buildings of questionable heritage, several large hoop houses that had very recently housed a large marijuana operation, and one of the steepest drives one could imagine with a hairpin turn to be treated with respect even by those of us used to the mountain roads in this area. Smart.
Along with my daughter and her family, I moved into the existing house, into a room in the very heart of activity. Next to the main bathroom, which I share with my two young grandsons, age 5 and 3. Next to the living room which borders on the dining room and kitchen. Next to the beefy steel spiral staircase that booms awesomely when a small boy entranced by the loud sounds emanating from his 3 year old feet comes stomping down. Next to the front drive that is the thoroughfare for all cars and trucks and things that go into and out of the place. The heart, the beating, booming heart of the family home, is where I have been living for the past 8 months. What was the plan when we did this, you might reasonably ask? As far as I can recall, the plan was to figure it out.
The house has a truly uplifting, fabulous view from the back deck, the best feature as far as I am concerned. In keeping with my situation, I’m calling this “The Long View”. I am needing to take a long view of this situation and appreciate the small moments along with the grand visions. In some ways my life has become much “smaller”, and though this is hopefully temporary I do finding it wearying. I can no longer invite my friends over for dinner and to relax–I am, afterall, living in a home that is not mine. I accept that, (over and over), and it has been challenging. It is a constant effort for me to respect the rhythm of another family’s life while attempting to have some space of my own. My little grandsons are bundles of energy and filled with wants and needs that can never be satisfied–their lives are hives of activity in need of supervision and adult input. I’m a fan of such interaction, I swear I am! But I am also used to a pace and rhythm that includes a great deal of solitude and flexibility.
And so I step forward with this quote stuck on a pink post-it note at my desk: “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell