Saturday, April 8, 2017

Preparing to be a nomad

We put 5 more boxes in his storage unit in the basement of the building, and he fingered the chicken wire that separates his space from his neighbor's:  it has come loose from the staples that moor it to the flimsy wooden framework. Well, he had warned me that I shouldn't keep anything I really care about in there.  And I won't be.  He's put my art on his walls, the art that is not replaceable, and he'll be using my TV and air purifier once I finally move for good.  I figure I have about 10 boxes left to pack up and deliver:  1 of shoes, 3 of books, 2 of dishes, and the rest of clothes and odds and ends. Belongings that I care about are going with B to her IL basement, along with Grandpa's old slant-topped blonde wood desk.  Those belongings are basically paper:  legal docs, photos, travel journals.  The violin and some music will be with me, and that's the only thing I own of value, other than the electronics:  ipad, PC, iphone, and J's camera, which technically I don't own, and which I'm still debating about bringing with me.  The idea is to travel light, after all.

As I packed up the current batch of boxes, I wondered at myself.  Why am I storing this stuff?  Most of it has been in cupboards, unpacked boxes, and closets, unused since I moved to Ranchos de Taos a year ago.  If I haven't missed it in the last year, what's the point of keeping it?  I'm guessing it's a mix of reasons.  In the last 5 years I've already weeded out things that I am missing now, and I can't bear to pare down 58 years of a life any further.  It appears that I'm nesting now that I no longer have a nest, now that my life as a nomad is 5 weeks minus one day away.  My last day of paid work is May 11, and I'll leave Taos that night, to leave my car in ABQ with G while I go north for the sister trip.  Then back to pick up the car and drive west for my summer in CA and the start of my....adventure?  escape? self-indulgence?  Depending on the day and hour, it can be any or all of these for me.

Today I glanced through a blog by a young German man who spent three years traveling:  his was a true adventure, funded by many years in a high-power job.  I wonder what he's doing now.  There doesn't seem to be much since he finished the blog in 2011 and wrote a book based on the blog in 2013.  I wonder what I'll do with my nomadic time, and where I'll end up, and what I'll do then?  It's too early to retire, really, except that it's too late to start a new career.  I can't muster enthusiasm for much of anything but what I'm doing now:  eating, reading, knitting, and packing, and, the odd job interview aside, no one seems to muster much enthusiasm for me.  Am I both too old and too young?

No, I'm just too tired.

In some ways, drawing out the packing process is a good thing.  It's emotionally exhausting to find homes for this collection of objects, some useful, some sentimental, most neither.  It's best to do it in stages. But, what I really should be doing is exploring my current home, fitting in the last visits to favorite places, checking out the places I never got around to visiting: the murals at the Plaza, Fossil Hill, Millicent Rogers Museum, DH Lawrence Ranch, trails on Taos Mountain, Pot Creek, and, of course, Ra Paulette's Caves over by Ojo.  Not to mention a last visit to Ojo Caliente itself.  I doubt I'll do any of it ,though.  In addition to the incremental boxing up of my life, I still have a job, and I'm still taking classes.  Finishing those commitments is a self-respect-worthy thing.  Not only should I do it, I want to do it.

Still, I get tired just thinking about what I haven't done.  The weight of opportunities missed and days wasted is crushing at times.  But of course, there's more than that, and, looking over at G, I realize that my time has not been misspent.  I've had his growing friendship for 4 years, as well as the friendship of many other people, and I am now picking myself up and exploring options for my third act.  Five years ago at this time I was preparing for the move to ABQ, and the move happened on my birthday weekend.  I spent the ensuing five years recovering from the various losses, losses that were physical, emotional, and fiscal. This year, on my 58th birthday, I'll be playing with dogs, and enjoying Sonoma County.

There's not much to complain about.

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