Sometimes I get so used to where I am that I forget the door is open. I accept the literal and figurative bars that trap me and don’t bother to explore other options. I get comfortable.
For several years, I’ve dreamed of living somewhere else; leaving this miserable desert. I’ve struggled to acknowledge the occasional beauty in the vast brown landscape. I’ve tried to tell myself that being sandwiched in traffic on the freeway with a million other people really isn’t that bad (okay, I know that the entire population of 1.5 million isn’t on the freeway when I am, but it sure feels like it when I’m stopped and staring at their taillights through a thick cloud of exhaust).
I’ve reminded myself that living somewhere else wasn’t an option: we had eight more years for my husband to get a full pension; my family lives here; my parents aren’t getting any younger and might need me; besides, the kids have a great school and their friends. Oh, the list of excuses could go on.
When my husband (unfairly) lost his job last year, leaving didn’t occur to us. We cut expenses and hunkered down in our comfortable place. He found another job fairly quickly – but it’s just a job. There are no benefits…no vacation, no sick time, no appreciation for a job well done, and no chance for growth.
In January, I got the crazy idea of moving to northern Arizona. The climate is more to our liking. There are seasons- not the normal “cold”, “warmer”, “hot” and “miserably hot” that we’re used to. Since then, we’ve bought a house, sold our house and are preparing for new life in a small town later this month. This is the only home we’ve lived in since we were married sixteen years ago. My parents aren’t thrilled with the idea. It’s more what they don’t say than what they do. Some friends express envy, while others look at us like we’ve lost our minds and ask, “why?” We respond, “Why not?”
I’m turning forty this year. It’s time to be free from others’ expectations. I’m shrugging off their assumptions that I’m in a mid-life crisis. I think it’s more of a mid-life realization: life’s too short to live it tomorrow. I’m claiming my life as my own. Selfish? Maybe. Maybe not.
As if moving wasn’t change enough, I carried the theme a step further by ending over two years of procrastination and indecision: I got eleven inches chopped off my hair.
I was excited to find out that my hair was long enough to donate to Locks of Love (I’ve always wanted to do it, but never had the opportunity.) Perhaps someone else will enjoy it more than I did.