I have a beautiful family and a lovely life, but my home-life is no longer fulfilling at this stage in my life...I'm not content to hang around the house so much because I am very eager to resume traveling throughout the United States so I can see some places I've always longed to visit!
One thing that I've realized this past year is that my own sense of independence is stronger than ever. No matter what we go through in life, if we have a tendency to be independent, we will probably die with this same trait firmly intact.
An area I've neglected is to pursue my own hobbies and my own individual interests. I believe there are three areas that we should honor for ourselves to live a balanced life:
#1 Always try to be involved in a hobby or a pursuit that is social in nature, to put you in touch with others who share true passion for what you love to do, and
#2 Try to find time to maintain a hobby or pursuit that allows for solo-quality-time, possibly with quiet meaning to yourself. This should be something that doesn't necessarily require anyone else's input or interference. It's just for you! This could be scrapbooking, embroidery, fishing, reading and it could require an outing, such as sitting on a beach with that book!
#3 I believe there should always be things you love to do in your home because that is your safe-haven and your personal retreat.
For me, I've forgotten to do either #1 or #2 or #3 because I've become moored and stagnant while being too concerned about the people around me being supported so they can pursue their own hobbies and interests. I think it's great that others have their interests, but I have come to realize that my own are just as important. The time I require to pursue my own interests will not be sacrificed any longer just so I can attempt to be present for "shared" moments at home. At this time in my life, sharing at home has taken on a different meaning and is not exactly meeting my personal needs. I've ignored life outside the house for too long and that's my fault.
Therefore, for me, I need some quality time away from home, on my own, so that I may fully absorb and savor each new experience. My own mother understood this concept, but I guess I'm slow to figure these things out! Also, I need to be true to myself and honor my need to socialize more often so that my home life is not overly dominate in my life and so I can do things that will bring me different joy that is independent of "home." There's a big world out there folks! I am needing a see a bit more of it!
One thing I am determined to learn, as a nice thing to do at home, is to start canning. I've been wanting to do this for years and years. Long ago, my mother knew I desperately wanted to learn how to can food items, so she purchased me most of the supplies I'd need, a couple of books on canning and I never found the time to pursue my desire to learn this valuable craft. I don't want anyone to take over and do it for me or to crowd my space with trying to orchestrate it, I just want to get into the kitchen, make my own mistakes and my own messes and finally end up with my own peach preserves! Of course, with all the introspection I've done over the past few months, I've asked myself "Why have I waited all this time to do what I've wanted to do?"
Some people might say that it takes money and that's a good reason to put it off; however, money is being spent in the areas of other people's hobbies on a consistent basis as my own desired hobby is consistently put on the backburner. I'm no longer intimidated by the process of canning, I've been reading a lot of blog buddy's writings on the topic, and I'm ready to give it a try!
In fact, to honor my dedication toward getting started with canning, I purchased this box of pectin while grocery shopping the other day. It's approximately a $2.00 investment toward the day I have lots of canned peaches to share with others! I walked out of the grocery store with this little box meaning a lot to me.
|Hobby for me to do at home for enjoyment.|
As for my list that has #1 as a hobby or activity which involves getting away and socializing, well, that's a BIGGIE for me and I'm very excited about it! Over the next couple of months, I'll be researching to buy myself a car that will be perfect for me to drive long distances. I am looking for a reliable, comfortable, economical car that would be suitable for me to drive on long road trips.
The first road trips will be separate visits to see my daughters on my own --- this way I can stay for a 3-4 days and not be in a rush to travel here or there. All throughout my first daughter's years at Texas A&M at College Station, I made many, many trips to see her on my own. Many times I'd make the trip in one day. There was never concern about my ability to do it when it was needed. Sometimes, I'd drive Heather's little sister to College Station so they could spend time together. I'd drive all the way there to literally turn right around after dropping Stefie off and I'd drive back home again. So, I know that driving the right vehicle that helps my reconstructed spine not be pressured is a possibility.
Driving the Dodge truck seems to make my short legs hang too much which pulls on my back, so that's not going to work for me any longer. I need a car that fits me like a glove. I've heard the Toyota Corolla is great as is the Ford Escort. The bottom line is...I'm looking for the car that works best with my body for it to be able to endure long trips.
Then, I have several places that have been on my bucket list of locations to see. Since my early 20's, I have yearned to go to Maine so I could simply sit on a wharf while eating crab. I want to see Maine up close and personal. I want to see the architecture of the area and to think about the history of the area. Then, I'll find a hotspot and dig into a delicious lobster roll.
Another trip I'd like to make this year is a deep-sea fishing adventure, probably with one of my best-friends, Julia ---- she's just as adventurous as I am. We two have had too much fun together. There's no doubt that whether we caught anything or not, we'd have a riot of a good time!
Going for a return visit to Florida is high on my list, I've only been once in my lifetime. I saw those white beaches for the first time at 30 years of age and to this day the memory makes me hold my breath, so I'm ready to go back, but not for the Disney adventure.
Of course, one of the trips I'd love to take is to go see my family in California; I have LOTS of family in the Sunshine State. Some of my family is getting pretty old and might not be around much longer for this to even be a choice. I might have to see if my youngest daughter wants to accompany me for this trip, she enjoys California.
I want to see Montana...maybe splurge and stay at a Dude Ranch.
Another place on my bucket list, in no particular order, as of yet, is to see at least ONE of our Great Lakes. I've taken a river ride down the Rhine in Germany, but I've never seen one of America's Great Lakes! I want to put my hand into a Great Lake and swish it around or put my foot into the water and hope it's not gobbled by a weird creature.
There are several places that I'd like to go visit and if I just take off in my reliable car for about a week at a time, I could travel with minimal expense. With proper planning that leaves room for adaptation, the costs will be reduced. Heck, I'd even be willing to sleep at state parks by utilizing an easy to pop-up, one-person tent that I've been researching. After all, I am an out-of-doors kind of gal.
With an ice-chest, peanut butter and jelly, a loaf of bread and a jug of water, I'd be getting to see my long-awaited sight-seeing destinations on a budget. Since I have an independent streak that's beyond a mile wide, I'm making my tentative plans for the first couple of trips that I will be making after seeing my daughters. Of course, any trip I make, I'll plan on stopping to see any family or friends who are on my route. These are my socializing trips...to laugh, to savor, to enjoy some awesome moments with a few people who are as eager to visit and to share life with me as I am to share with it with them. I'm sure I'll meet a few complete strangers who will probably feel like old friends, that always seems to happen to me on trips. I might end up whale-watching with some old adventurous lady from Europe and that would be fine with me!
I have no interest in seeing tourist trap types of locations, but more off-the-beaten path kinds of places. Well, except for a few diners that look amazing on the Food Network....I might try a few of those. Regardless, I'll never stop anywhere that is a chain restaurant. If I'm not eating a sandwich on the road, I'll be stopping at a local hot spot and absorb as much of the local culture as I can while I'm there visiting and chowing down. Of course, I'll keep my camera, notebook and pen nearby to take notes for my next blog entry in an effort to journal my trip.
I might have to upgrade my camera for certain trips that will require a better land shots, but my current camera is good for any trips that will include water.
There is something VERY freeing about not feeling tied down any longer. This is a new phase of life for me. Everything seems to be different, but in a good way. With my girls being grown and gone, I am very accustomed to being alone and without someone here to really talk with, but I have my friends and family, so it doesn't bother me HOWEVER it makes me fully realize that there is nothing holding me back from taking the trips I'd LOVE to take. Besides, the beautiful gift the Lord has given me at a young age was to not be afraid of being alone, so I might as well go places that are enjoyable, thrilling, relaxing, different and that can make this life even more worthwhile than sitting at home so often.
Until recently, I never understood why women would take independent trips. These days, I understand it completely and am embracing the concept whole-heartily. I now think it's important, for women, especially, to maintain a significant level of independence while honoring things THEY feel are important and special, separate from their roles as wife, mother, daughter, etc., A woman should have independent moments where they are not relegated to the passenger seat...women should always do their best to honor their own dreams and desires and interests, whether you are at home or on the road.
Sometimes, as women, we find ourselves getting older and are joyful about our kids being grown, then we realize that there is MUCH left in life for us to enjoy as a separate identity from our family role. For me, an activity I enjoy is to use my writing with my blog to journal life's moments...while being focused on ultimately getting relocated to the acreage, but I realize that I need to take these solo-road-trip-detours; I don't imagine this need will abate. I imagine this will be something I'll keep doing for the remainder of my life, to find a place I long to visit and to quit making excuses...just GO. I am a grown woman; I don't need permission; I don't need an escort; and I share so much with my friends and many family members that I'll have even more to offer after experiencing more on my own.
I believe my girls would be excited for me; they know how much of my life I've dedicated to others; I think they'd be thrilled that I still have my SAME adventurous nature tugging at me to keep exploring until my body can no longer move forward. If I get tired, I'll stay put for a couple of days...no pressure will come from myself, only leisure and enjoying each moment as it arrives. There's no doubt, I have an increasing sense of excitement building deep within me. But, it will be good to make my first travels as the weather cools a bit. Plus, I have to get my own car. I think I deserve my own car at this point in my life! Stefie is driving our second vehicle while in college, as is my commitment to her and my way of helping her get through college without the HUGE concern of a vehicle. But, that leaves me needing a vehicle. This is a priority that is important to me and will not be addressed unless I make it my own priority, so I am going to honor myself and focus on finding the right vehicle for myself.
As for my upcoming travels...I'll pack light, use a local washateria when needed to freshen my clothes, and I'll keep ice in the ice-chest to keep my need to buy food at a minimum. Things here on the home-front won't fall apart without me, it seems that I am here to feed the chickens, to let the dogs out for breaks and to clean the entire house, but since I served long days in Grand Jury, I know they will be fine in Deputy Dave's hands during the time periods I'm pursuing my own interests. Lord knows I've done my part of holding down the fort for extended combined time-frames, I'm sure things will be just as fine with me gone as well. I've been on the sitting at home end of the spectrum, now it appears that I will be the one getting out into the world more often while someone else house-sits.
|Old ways of living are my former chains. Finding myself|
and remembering my own sense of independence is FREEING!
No matter where I go, I'll be sure to bring my computer, my camera and to share the travels. If I get lost a few times along the way, I'm sure it'll only add interest to my outing. Planning my trips will bring me great satisfaction and since I've NEVER been afraid of being adventurous, I'm more happy about this direction of my life than I can express. I guess that little one-person camper I scoffed at during the Houston-RV-Show doesn't look so silly any longer!
For some, this is no big deal because they've been doing these kinds of things their entire life...such as making sure they keep seeing the world while there is time to see it. This is something I am COMPELLED to do. If anyone has ever felt compelled to follow their heart, then they understand what I'm talking about. I don't feel as if I can wait much longer to do the things I want to do in life...Why keep waiting? I'm no longer content to put things off as I grow another year older; it's time to take charge of my life again. I don't know how I ever became content with being in the passenger seat and I don't know if I will ever be fully content to be there again!
I think not.