A New Kind of December

Lying poolside in December and basking in 79 degree sunlight is truly a dream come true. After a lifetime of cold, snowy winters, I decided that I wanted to turn in my sherpa lined boots for flip flops.


Sandman SnowmanAs a kid, I loved sled-riding, building snow forts, and ice skating. The frigid temperatures never bothered me and snow days off from school were the icing on the cake!

Fast forward 30+ years and things have certainly changed. The only winter sports I engage in now involve clearing snow from my car and successfully traversing icy sidewalks and parking lots with the hope of not falling down.

I didn’t believe it would ever happen, until my son and daughter-in-law moved to Florida two years ago. When my daughter joined them this past summer, what had seemed unlikely suddenly became a possibility.

Aside from wanting milder winters and more sunshine, there were other things pushing me to move:

  • I  finally earned a college degree and was eager to find employment that would reward that effort both personally and financially. Good jobs in small towns aren’t plentiful, so I would have to consider moving anyway.
  • I spent the last three years helping mom care for my dad who had dementia. He passed away last March, but my mom has grown increasingly dependent on others, in addition to suffering several falls. As the child living the closest, I would (once again) be the main caretaker. This would force me to remain in my current job, for the foreseeable future, without any chance of personal growth.
  • The relationship with my significant other was comfortable in some ways, but after nine years I needed a commitment for more than a dating relationship. Because he was dealing with issues of his own, I believed our future was limited.

So, I side-stepped all my fears and left. I’m currently job searching and am being somewhat particular about which ads I answer. I want my choice of prospective employers to be the right one. I’m enjoying the time off with blogging and other projects that I never found time to do. Lately, I feel guilty about not applying to more positions.

My mom is living with my brother and his wife, which is a much safer situation for her, since he works from home. Because I came to Florida she had to give up her house and move, which she’s not happy about. More guilt.

Within two days of telling my significant other that I was leaving to seek new opportunities, he began the process of change that I had been hoping for. Always loving and supportive, he encouraged me to “spread my wings,” but is hoping that I will return to share a new and improved life with him. Yep, you guessed it…even more guilt.

Lying under this palm tree I’m thinking about how happy I am on one level, yet feeling guilty for the above mentioned reasons. Then it struck me:

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. ~ Anatole France

I’ve apparently got some self-reflection and work ahead.

My Life in Boxes

Moving is a lot of work, but packing up your worldly goods and transporting them from point A to point B is fairly straightforward. I wish that had been the case in my situation. My move from PA to FL involved a few “extra” steps:

politifact-photos-Moving_boxes

  • Packing to be ready for the movers on August 28th
  • Coordinating the arrival and unloading of my belongings at the destination on September 1st
  • Designating certain boxes to be first on the truck, so they could be last off the truck, so that I would have easier access to them once they were put in storage
  • Leaving cleaning supplies, vacuum, lights, some tools, and an assortment of other items needed to clean up the apartment until September 2nd, when I had to turn in the keys
  • Moving those items to a friend’s house until my final departure on October 20th
  • Leaving enough clothes, toiletries, computer, and other items needed for day-to-day living until my final departure on October 20th

Of course, there was a lot of other things going on during this time that made it even more chaotic.

  • I had just returned from FL on August 2nd after spending two weeks getting my daughter situated. She accepted a position in Orlando and we had to get her a car and an apartment, so that she was ready to start work on July 27th.
  • My mother had about two doctor appointments each week, from September 1st until the time I left.
  • I was frantically trying to get instructions in place for the person who would take over my job. I was already working a reduced schedule so that I could take mom to her appointments.
  • I was dealing with many emotions during this whole time: guilt, fear, sadness, and excitement to name a few

I spent three weeks packing a two bedroom apartment and at one point it felt like I would NEVER get every single thing packed. I had moved eight years prior and left a lot of stuff behind, but had acquired a few new things along the way. I couldn’t fathom what it must be like to pack an entire house, complete with attic and basement. I couldn’t do it.

Right now me and my belongings are in limbo. I’m living temporarily with my son and daughter-in-law, who graciously invited me to stay with them while I job search. Because this is a new start, I really want to make good decisions. I want to hold out for a job that is truly meaningful. Which job that is, I’m not sure.

Job Search GIF

My son came in from work the other day and asked me if I was keeping busy. I responded, “Oh, yes. I’m busy trying to find myself.”

He reminded me that I’m 54 years old and if I haven’t found myself yet, I probably never will.

But I remain hopeful.

 

 

Coffee Date

If we were having coffee right now…I’d ask your opinion about the tragic events in Paris and why the media gave no attention to a similar tragedy in Beirut. I’d want to know your thoughts about what the United States and other civilized countries in the world should do to fight these terrorists. I’d ask you if you ever worry about being a target when you’re in a public place or get on an airplane, because I do.

If we were having coffee right now…I’d talk about my job search and how I’m having a hard time deciding which jobs to apply to. Because I’m an “older” candidate with a work history, I want to be somewhat discriminating. I want to do something that I truly enjoy and is meaningful. I went back to school as an adult, so that I would be eligible for better jobs, but money isn’t the only criteria. I’m afraid I’ll apply and be hired for the wrong position and miss out on the right position. Good grief, how can I decide?

If we were having coffee right now…I’d want to know if you ever went on a cruise and, if so, do you recommend it as a great vacation? I’d also want to know if you’ve ever been to the Caribbean and, if so, which island you’d recommend. Same for Europe.

If we were having coffee right now…I’d want to know what you’re currently reading, who your favorite Th is, and if you feel movies ever do their books justice. Being an avid reader, I enjoy hearing about a good read. Same for movies; what have you seen lately that you can recommend?

If we were having coffee right now…I’d talk about all the projects I’d like to tackle:  organizing family photos, creating two scrapbooks, trying my hand at homemade cards, painting some furniture, and teaching myself some new skills through online resources.

If we were having coffee right now…I’d tell you that I started Couch Potato to 5K (again), but this time I’m hopeful that I can finish it, since I can run on my beloved beach and I have more spare time. I’d talk about how I want to join a gym, so that I can do weight training, as well. Then I’d ask your thoughts on gym memberships and see if I can convince you to join with me.

If we were having coffee right now…I’d ask about your life and family. I’d ask what important things you have going on and any special events coming up. Then I’d treat you to another coffee (or danish) because you’ve been such a great listener!