Confessions of a Soon-To-Be Nomad

by Kim on April 15, 2012 · 35 comments

Countdown: 36 days until our trip begins

Suddenly we are in a time crunch- leaving in just five weeks.  How did that happen?  Like a rock tumbling downhill, it took awhile to gather speed but now we are hurdling towards departure.

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The trip felt more real months and even years ago.  Now, at five weeks away, I can’t even see it.  Like standing at the base of a redwood tree that I’ve hiked for miles to reach. When I started, I could see the complete, majestic organism. But now that I’m beside it I can only see the peeling bark, this great round trunk.  

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My emotions look like the peaks and valleys of a seismogram during an earthquake.  I’m high, I’m low, I’m steady, I’m shaky.  To deal, I’ve begun pretending that we aren’t really leaving at all. It’s the emotional equivalent of climbing into bed and pulling the blankets over my head. My co-worker joked that she would loan me her button of an ostrich with its head buried in the sand.  Make it two, I thought, one for me and one for my mother. 

Productively, I feel frozen.  I’m a planner, which means that I always know what needs to happen next, but a procrastinator, which means that I still don’t do it until the last minute.  This has lead to a state of paralysis.  My planner side screams about my to-do list and counts down the dwindling number of days I have left to complete it.  My procrastinator side sits on the couch watching marathon sessions of America’s Next Top Model- British Invasion and says, with a dismissive flip of the wrist, tomorrow, tomorrow.

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The “lasts” have started.  Last trip to Seattle to visit my sister, last Timbers game, last burrito night with the neighbors.  These are mostly sad, though “last staff meeting” is a good one.  The lasts have allowed me to view my life with fresh eyes, like a stranger visiting a place for the first time, and to really appreciate the wonderfulness of my life and all of the amazing things and people that fill it.

My last Timbers game

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There’s an irony in how hard it is to own nothing, to whittle down your possessions and your bills and even the roof over your head.  I mean, what do we do with all this stuff?  The stapler, the flower pots, the rubber spatula: It’s all good stuff, but who needs it?

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Brian made a final doctor’s appointment for a checkup, to get blood work done, and to get the overall ‘all clear’ as far as his health is concerned.  The doctor asked why he’d come in since he appeared to be a healthy guy.  Brian explained our trip. The doctor seemed intrigued and said: You’re like the people I read about.  Brian got a kick out of that.

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I am failing at the things I do to keep me feeling like myself: Long runs in the woods, journaling before bed, eating well and not drinking too much.  Even my prayers, which I have found so much clarity and relief in, have turned to just plain begging: Please keep us safe, please show me the next step, please teach me what I need to learn.

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And yet, there are glimpses of magic and small reminders in the midst of this tornado that the winds will stop and all will be calm again.  As I was sitting at my desk the other day, silently stressing out about everything, I overheard a conversation a co-worker was having on the phone with a friend.  She said: The way you live your life is the statement that you make. So live it, live it.  

Overhearing her advice was like a hand plucking me up out of my fear and holding me dangling over my own life.  As I hung there, my legs kicking at the open air, I could see again the big picture.  That life is scary and unpredictable and uncontrollable and beautiful and full of all the good and all the bad.  That the only thing we have at the end of it is how we’ve lived it.  So that’s what we’re doing.  That’s why we’re doing this.  To live it.  To live it.

 

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