It’s been 15 days since I drove away from my house. I’m going to my fourth pet sitting gig tomorrow. We’ve been back to work for 4 days—the students arrive on Monday. Today a friend asked me how it feels to leave work and not be going home to my own house. That doesn’t bother me at all. Somehow when I drove away, I really drove away. I was ready to move on to the next stage.
I was asked to fill out a form today listing my hobbies. Hobbies? OMG—I’ve left all of my hobbies! No more gardens, no more flowers, no more bouquet making! No more sitting on my back porch during rain storms. No more neighbors to wave to as they drive or walk by. I had to pause. Is that all OK with me? I decided yes, it was. However, my table mates had to prompt me for other “hobbies.” Do you like to read? Yes. Do you like to walk? Yes. Do you like traveling to California to see your family? Yes. Are these hobbies? Well, not really, but they do take up some time.
Months ago when I was told about another person who takes on pet-sitting gigs (although he has his own home), we met and he asked me what I wanted to accomplish/do with my new-found time while on this nomadic adventure. My response was immediate: I said that I wanted to feel what it feels like to have nothing to do and no to-do list. After only two weeks, I am feeling that and it feels completely foreign and slightly uncomfortable. I was a single Mom and then a single homeowner of a large property for 26 years. There was ALWAYS a huge to-do list. Tonight as my dog sittee and I went for our walk, I felt adrift. While I feel very comfortable in the changing of my physical surroundings, I realized that I don’t feel comfortable without a purpose.
For many years, I was a die-hard political volunteer, working on different political campaigns. When I needed to get my house ready for sale, I pulled back from a lot of political and social activities. And now I kinda feel like I’m just floating in space. Only the family that I’m temporarily replacing knows where I am. I am connected to the rest of the world by only 10 digits. I realize that some of my purpose was anchored in a specific place on this earth and/or goal in life. I realize that I need to find a new internal space—one that is not rooted in familiar nature and unswerving purpose, but nature as it is found everywhere. My next purpose is still elusive. It will come. Trust that.
I’ve spent the last 5 days in wooded acreage on Eagle Creek Reservoir. It’s been absolutely perfect. My pretend reason to be here was taking care of these three little doggies who needed cared for while their family vacationed. I found out that the real reason I was here was to provide for me a smooth transition back to real life. The house where I raised my daughters for 26 years wasn’t as hard to leave as the gardens that I designed from ground up. In the end it wasn’t hard to leave them either…as I was really just ready to move on to the next phase of my life, leaving behind the beloved, quiet solitude of the neighborhood.
This marvelous place has this fantastic koi pond and waterfall right outside ‘my’ door. I’ve heard owls and pileated woodpeckers. I soaked in the hot tub and ate dinner on the secluded patio as the setting sun turned the clouds pink above the tall trees. I kayaked on the reservoir with a dear friend today. I enjoyed my canine (and feline) companions and shared my bed with two or three of them each night. I’ve had a minute to exhale, enjoy nature at its finest and get ready to go to my next house tomorrow. On Tuesday, I return to work as a School Social Worker with Indianapolis Public Schools, working in an elementary school. It’s been quite a 6-week summer break for me. If I had to write an essay, it would be all about transitions. I’ve had a few lately.
My first 24 hours as a nomad have been perfunctory and silly and amazing. When I drove away from the closing, I did not feel anything different: not happy, not sad, not excited, not determined. I was just ready for some Thai food. As I analyzed it, I guessed that the journey had been so long and painful that the climax wasn’t as important as the journey itself.
I ordered and picked up some Thai food.
When I got to my first doggie’s house, which was just a weekend stay at a friend’s house, I immediately found my Achilles heel. I hadn’t come over first to get all the instructions, but just relied on verbal and written instructions. I immediately realized that decision had been a mistake as I couldn’t access the internet or turn on the TV (remotes were all too complicated). When I texted the owner the password she had provided for me, she saw that she had written it one period wrong. So I finally got onto the internet. [I mean…I couldn’t live my first adventurous weekend without the internet!!]
During my first night, I had exactly one foot to sleep on in the bed, as Roxie slept horizontally on the rest of the bed–which I was fine with! The next day, I visited my upcoming #3 gig doggie’s house and learned her nuances and quirks (I think we will get along just fine!). I had lots of errands to run, tying up many loose ends and I found myself one block from my former home before I realized what I had done–mindlessly driving back ‘home’. At exactly 24 hours after I left my home for the last time yesterday, I got an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion: I literally felt like I was melting into the car seat. When I got ‘home’ I slept for two solid hours on the couch. It seemed like something inside my body or psyche had to reset. I awoke refreshed and ready to roll.
I figured out how to get onto Netflix with the Wii system (STANDING OVATION PLEASE!) and watched Grace and Frankie while catching up with news on the internet. [I never did get to watch any television for the weekend.] When I set my sandwich down to go back into the kitchen for something, Roxie helped herself to the top half. First dog-sitting lesson learned. HA.
And now I’m outside watching the most fascinating sunset and awesome lightening storm. And then this spectacular double rainbow appeared with some lightening bolts meandering through it. I’m going to take all of this as a sign that there will be some tumultuous times, but that I’ve made the right decisions and this nomadic life will bring me the adventures and the challenges that I hope for. Time will reveal that to us all.
It all fits!! Here I go on to my next phase of life. I am officially a nomad.