Sunday, April 12, 2015

New Beginning

Six weeks ago, I made a radical decision to abandon teaching completely and become a truck driver.

In that time, I have been selling off most of my possessions in an attempt to reduce my worldly belongings to an amount that would fit in a small storage unit. It was terrifying. At 48, I have spent my life collecting things, trying to build up the type of life and home I envisioned in my head. It never really came together the way I had hoped.

My process of elimination boils down to emotion...if I look at something and get an emotional response to it, I keep it. Photos, notes from my kids, old bottles from a friend...those I will keep. My Fiesta Ware dishes that belonged to my great-grandmother...definitely keeping those. Books on photography, wildlife, exploration...boxed up and headed to storage. But so much of what I have accumulated over the years does not elicit an emotional response. It is just stuff that has no meaning for me. It makes me wonder about how I came to accumulate all this over the years. Was I trying to fill a home or fill a void?

Paring down my life is the most freeing thing I have ever done. So many people have told me they are envious and wish they could do the same. Being single with grown children is allowing me to have this freedom. I will be able to easily move anywhere I want taking only my most precious possessions with me. Of course, who knows where I will eventually end up. New Mexico and Colorado have always been my top two destinations of where I want to live, but now that I am about to embark on a journey as a truck driver, I will finally have the opportunity to see what else is out there. The United States is full of places that might eventually become home for me.

For years I have wanted to travel, see what is out there. I have felt trapped in Oklahoma, only venturing out to the surrounding states here and there. I know some people love it here and I am happy for them. You can have it. But I'm outta here! There is just so much more to the world. New people, new vistas, new cuisines, new ways of thinking...

For the first time in my life, I feel like I am heading in the right direction. This feels right. Driving a truck was certainly never a dream of mine, but it is the vehicle (pardon the pun) for doing exactly what I want to and write. My life is going to be simplified. I will have fewer things to focus on - driving, delivering, and writing. I won't have to look at my front yard getting taller and taller dreading having to mow it. No more vacuuming the house, cleaning the tub, dusting the furniture. My home will now be the size of a small walk-in closet. I will pare down my things to only that which is necessary and will fit in the truck. And when I decide to find  a real home, I will begin with only those things that I love.

My truck driving class starts in three weeks. My hope is to be on the road with a company shortly after that. It is going to be hard saying goodbye to my kids, my family, and friends. But they know me well. They know that this is just the sort of thing that I love...traveling, being on the road, solitude. I hope it can inspire others to take a bold step, do something unexpected, give life a chance. At the end of my life I want to be able to look back and know that I was bold, courageous, and willing to take risks. I want to know that I was an inspiration to others to follow their dreams, live their lives with passion. I think if we did a little more of this, the world would be a better place.

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