by Robin of MidLife On Wheels
Today, sitting here, feet up, in western Colorado watching the clouds move across the peaks of the San Juan mountains, listening to a new iTunes playlist is worlds away from the life I left 4 years and 4 months ago today.
Mid life .. what a deal. There are no rules for it and I guess we each have our own journey’s to take. Some of us are picking up the pieces from shattered dreams and unexpected twists of fate. Some are looking back and asking where all the time went. Some have reached the top rung of the ladders they climbed and are left wondering what’s next. Some, believe it or not, really are where they expected to be and are just soaking it all in. I guess I had expectations on where I would be and what I would be doing but for the life of me I can’t remember what they were! I think its better that way .. at least I am not disappointed!
At 40, I found myself single and not working after I left a successful venture in the non-profit world. I was looking for new horizons in the non-profit arena that didn’t pan out at the time and was restless with where I was. Finances forced me to sell my house outside of Denver. The housing market was peaking then and my house sold within two weeks to a cash buyer that was anxious to close. The problem was that I didn’t have any place to go or any desire to stay in the same city. I joked with friends that I might just have to buy an RV to live in till I decided where I wanted to live. Of course, I had never even been in an RV, didn’t know anyone who had one, never even been to one those RV shows they do every so often at the convention centers.
Having 2.5 weeks to make a major life decision for myself and my 2 dogs, I put it in high gear trying to find an apartment that would take us .. no luck .. I stopped in one of the RV places just to see what they looked like .. a lot different from a huge house.
I had a Saturday garage sale scheduled to get rid of all my excess junk, of course by Friday night all was gone but the furniture. Saturday morning a man came and asked if I was selling my furniture as he needed to furnish his new mountain cabin. Man, the pressure as I stood there and looked around at a house full of furniture and a week and a half to move it to some place that didn’t exist yet. “Sure, I’ll sell it” I faintly heard myself saying. By 1 pm, I was sitting in an empty 4 bedroom home on a lawn chair with a box as a table. They had even bought my towels and my puppy’s crate! My old dog just lay across the room and looked at me. The puppy curled up next to the lawn chair. I sat kind of dazed as I looked around and picked up the paper to find the RV section. “What the hell am I doing?”, I thought, “I must be absolutely crazy.” The older dogs glare seemed to confirm that thought.
Wow, any RV that would fit the stuff I ‘needed’ were awful big. The first one I drove a half mile and then pulled over and made the sales guy drive it back. It was quite intimidating. The next one I drove on a rural road approximately 2 miles. The third one I found somebody else to drive for me & tell me if it was okay or not. Things weren’t progressing very well on the whole RV front and was starting to think we might end up under an overpass if I didn’t figure something out soon. I did learn that my SUV could not be towed behind an RV should I find one, so on the Monday before my Thursday close I bought a Jeep that could be towed. On Tuesday, I had a RV sales guy make an offer that I couldn’t refuse for a 35′ Class A Motor home (the big kind), I drove it about a mile & had the guy park it for me. I signed the papers, left them the Jeep to make it towable and would be back for the RV after the house closed.
Reflecting on it all now … it _was_ quite crazy. I am surprised that my friends didn’t commit me. I told them I thought this might be my mid life crisis. I wasn’t married so I couldn’t get divorced. I had done the sports car thing in my 30′s. I guess I could have gone to Vegas and got married but I didn’t. As I said, I guess we all have our own unique journey’s that we need to take. Mine happened to be buying a RV I didn’t know how to drive and setting out to see the country with two dogs and a prayer it would all work out. I could never have dreamed of all the beautiful places I would see and the people I would meet or that I would be so drastically and permanently changed.