As I drove back to Chicago from my Winter of living in the Winnie, I plotted out what I intended to do once I arrived back to my house:
1. Go through 4 months worth of mail.
2. Get my taxes filed as well as tax returns for my mom’s estate.
3.. Finish getting the house ready to be put up for sale.
I figured a month should be sufficient time to get that list accomplished, since I’d already done a lot of the major house prep work during the past 2 years.
After my first week in Chicago, I was feeling pretty good—both items # 1 and 2 were checked off and I had successfully met Uncle Sam’s April tax deadline!
But the past two weeks were an entirely different story. It suddenly hit me on one of Chicago’s gloomy, gray days that for the first time in my whole life I no longer had any hard-set deadlines to meet, nor any firm dates to arrive at my next destination, or even a clue where that next destination might be!
In a word, the last two weeks have been mildly terrifying!
I began sinking further and further into the comfort and familiarity of this tan recliner…absolutely paralyzed by this new untethered, unstructured life ahead of me.
Oh sure, I was keeping myself busy with catching up on some website reading, buying a few new items for the RV, and ticking off as many non-essential computer projects as I could think of. But exactly zero-zilch-nothing-nada got accomplished related to getting the house ready for sale or making any progress in the direction of my dreams.
What the heck? Time’s a wasting! The Springtime real estate market won’t be hot for long!
Every night I’d get myself pumped up to start on the house the next day, but by morning, I was beating a well-worn path right back to that recliner to suck up yet another precious day with nothing to show for it. My internal FUD voice began yelling louder and louder. You probably have one of those nagging FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, & Doubt) voices too?
FUD: “What the heck are you doing here, Lynne?”
Me: “Just looking up a few things online. I’ll be back in a jiffy!”
FUD: “You’ve been getter rather comfy in that recliner. So, tell me again, why are you wanting to get rid of it?”
Me: “Because I want to be a full-time RVer”
FUD: “Yeah, well, if you really wanted to do that don’t you think you’d be upstairs sorting through closets right from dawn until dark? Take a look around the neighborhood—do you see any other person getting rid of practically all of their possessions? No, because they’re all responsible adults out working at their full-time jobs, that’s why!”
Me: “Shut up, you stupid FUD voice!”
FUD: “Don’t you think you’ve already screwed up your life quite enough by quitting that well-paying corporate job and alienating many of your oldest friends with your irrational behavior? Have you now gone absolutely friggin’ insane to also want to sell your house and everything in it?” …
”Are you doing all this just because you haven’t met a nice young man to get married to yet?”
Me: “Grandma, is that you? I’m trying to have a conversation with FUD here!”
FUD: “So, just what is it that you’re trying so hard to run away from?”"
Well, old FUD seemed to halt me right in my tracks with that last one.
Some warmer weather arrived to Chicago this past week, and signs of Spring were finally starting to make their way to our suburban neighborhood —husbands out reviving their lawn mowers from winter slumber, wives out preparing their gardens for new colorful plants, and kids out playing and riding their new bicycles around the cul-de-sac.
What was wrong with me for not being out there doing those same things? and maybe networking with the neighbors to find a new full-time job while I was at it!!!
It’s interesting that in my whole winter in Mexico, I never once had any of these thoughts or fears. Maybe because I was always surrounded by fellow RVing full-timers and snowbirds who were already living lives prioritized by their passions rather than conventionality? Whatever it was, I seemed to feel infinitely more comfortable with them than my neighbors here in Chicago.
Today has been another gray day here in Chicago, but on this day…finally…the recliner has sat empty for most of day while I’ve started tackling the job of clearing out an upstairs closet. Coincidence that this renewed vigor is beginning the day after Easter, our annual celebration of rebirth and eternal salvation? Perhaps.
But I also got a little help from my “new life” friends and inspirational bloggers, who made me realize some powerful new things about my current journey.
Full-timer friend, Suzanne, said that during this stage of her extrication from normal suburban life, she’d constantly ask herself questions as if going to a daily ophthalmologist’s exam—“Which of these looks better? A or B? A…or…B?”
Do I want to A) stay in this house? Or B) travel around full-time in an RV? Would I like to A) go find another full-time job to pay for this house? Or B) see if one of my passions eventually leads to some modest income to sustain my travels further?
No question! I want option B!
I read a great post today from David Cain at Raptitude.com (the Frightening Thing You Learn When You Quit the 9-to-5). His experience, and those of his commenters, confirmed that what I’m going through right now is pretty normal for such a life-changing move.
And, so, it’s finally hit me that this new phase of my life is not about "running away" from a status quo “responsible adult” life, it's about running towards a fully self-directed passion-driven life!
Suzanne’s final words of wisdom told me to envision it being next January and to imagine me still sitting here paralyzed by the recliner. Whoa! Talk about an indelible motivator! I’d rather walk across Antarctica in my bare feet than sit in this house one more winter!!! So, yep, that visual got me off my butt today and finally moving forward towards my goal again!
I’m finally facing the truth of this new direction in my life—a passion-driven life is just plain scarier and less-predictable than the suburban corporate-drone life I’ve had for the past 30 years. When I make mistakes and failures, or leave tasks unfinished in the future, I’ll no longer have anyone else to blame for that…except myself!
On the flipside, though, when I succeed, it will surely be more satisfying than ever before. This quote from Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden” sums it up nicely:
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
If any readers in the Chicago area are interested in a gently used tan recliner…it’s now for sale!