Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Do you ever reach a phase of your life when you suddenly feel as if everything is up in the air? When you feel as if you're at a crossroads, that new possibilities are opening up, that changes are in the air and your life may be on the edge of a new beginning? It includes feelings of uncertainty and anxiety, but along with it, a sense of excitement.

I feel that way right now. I think it's partly because my job situation at the Big Corporation is about to change fairly drastically in mid-summer, and while I know I will still have the same general job, it will be in a new location and there are a lot of unknowns. It could be different and more interesting. Or it could be the same old thing. I won't know until it happens.

Another factor is, I'll be turning 55 in September, and although I probably can't afford to retire yet, it is making me think about what I want to do next. Once I hit that magic number, I am at least entitled to collect my pension, whether I choose to or not, and this opens up more flexibility in what I might be able to do. I feel as if this is it; if I don't do something new now, it will soon be too late.

Another piece of it is this idea of buying a place in the Adirondacks. Although the plan is for it to be a weekend getaway,and a place we can go for summer vacations, I feel as if it could be more than that.

I am envisioning it as an escape, and as a result am developing an obsession with finding that cabin we're looking for. Now that we've decided to buy something up there, it makes me want to just leave my job, leave my town, and move there permanently, escape from everything.

Perhaps it's some kind of midlife crisis. I feel as if there are too many responsibilities here, too many worries and too much stress. I think I've started to think of this imaginary cabin as the solution to all of it.

If we could just go there and never come back, we could live a peaceful and quiet life in the mountains. We'd awaken at dawn to the sound of thousands of songbirds in the dense woods surrounding the cabin. We'd sit in front of a glowing fire at night and actually talk instead of watching TV. In the winter the snow would pile up outside the windows and it wouldn't matter because we wouldn't have to dig out and go to work the next day.

So then I start fantasizing about this whole idea of completely changing our lifestyle...we'll take up hiking and snowshoeing and cross-country skiing! I'll grow my hair long and wear it in one long gray braid, and never have to buy new clothes again. And we'll actually cook every day and eat healthy food and take up yoga and raise our own vegetables and herbs. I'll learn how to play the guitar! Maybe we'll even live "off the grid"!

But then reality hits me. Of course we can't do that, and really wouldn't even want to, since our families and friends are here in New Jersey. And how can we afford to own this new property if we don't stay at our jobs at least until the mortgage is paid? And I'd have to have the Internet! How could I live off the grid?

Sigh. Why does reality have to be such a party-pooper?

But still...I get the urge for going...

With that I'll leave you with this great video of a very young Joni Mitchell, singing "Urge for Going" back in 1966. I tried to embed it but it didn't work for some reason, so just click on this link!

Urge for Going


Fran said...

As someone only a few years younger than you, who is in the midst of changing her life dramatically (with no clear sense of the results just yet other than my resounding happiness... that counts, right?) I say dig deeper.

Change invites us and is in general a most terrifying come on.

And the most rewarding one I think.

We all have to have some practicality to our plans, or so we think anyway.

In general too much practicality is overrated.

I send you good thoughts on your way. And I hope you buy that place - that way I will get to meet you!

Unknown said...

To quote the song sung by Bloody Mary in South Pacific: “If you ain’t got no dream, how you gonna have a dream come ture.”

Anonymous said...

Wake up at dawn - who are you kidding!!!!

And besides, you can't leave me


Mauigirl said...

Fran, I was thinking of you when I contemplated that change in lifestyle (at least the moving/leaving part; I don't think you're planning on growing your hair into a long braid and raising herbs). When we were in Hawaii we met several people who had moved there years earlier - had visited and said "This is it, I want to live here!"...sold all they had and just moved.

I always am amazed at the ability of some people to just cast aside their previous life and make a major change like that. DH and I are kind of sticks in the mud that way - love to travel but move? Not so much! He lived in his apartment for 12 years until we met and bought our house - which we've now lived in for 21 years. And, I'm still living in the same county I was born in! I keep saying to him "Don't let me die in New Jersey!" (As Humphrey Bogart said in Casablanca, "Why not? It's a good spot for it.")

Thanks for the encouragement...as things continue to evolve we may just make that change. And even if we don't move permanently, I look forward to meeting you even if we are only vacationing up your way!

Nick, I love that quote, thanks for reminding me of it! I haven't seen South Pacific for forever - love that show. (It was one of the first "grown up" movies I saw when I was about 9 years old - I remember telling my parents, "That was the best movie I ever saw!")

Friend #2, I'm surprised you didn't also add "Go cross-country skiing, hiking and snowshoeing? Who are you kidding?" LOL! I did say it was a fantasy... One of the places we are looking at has a cottage and a main house on the property. You can live up there too! We can start a commune!

Cosa Nostradamus said...

"Do you ever reach a phase of your life when you suddenly feel as if everything is up in the air? When you feel as if you're at a crossroads, that new possibilities are opening up, that changes are in the air and your life may be on the edge of a new beginning? It includes feelings of uncertainty and anxiety, but along with it, a sense of excitement."

Well, yeah, sure. But if a half-bottle of Bourbon doesn't make those feelings go away, there's still the other half.

Actually, I've succumbed to those feelings about twelve times now. Just wanted to see if I was the same person on the other side. Turns out, wherever you go, there you are! Feh!

Anyway, you're too, uh, mature to start hippying now. Past a certain age, squatting on the floor for hours, hand-rolling & smoking herbal cigarettes, a swatting imaginary interplanetary insectoids while singing along with Gracie Slick is just not an option. You just don't have the knees for it any more. If you don't believe me, try hitch-hiking up there with nothing but an Army surplus poncho, a bayonet and a Yoo-Hoo in less than six hours without getting ticketed, groped or eaten by bears. I was never able to do it in less than nine hours, and forget the other stuff, even at 15.

As to the Adirondacks, two words: Bears. BEARS!!!!

Instead, sell the house, fly to Amsterdam, buy a car, and drive around Europe till you find a place you want to live, and charge all your old friends and relatives to come and stay with you. Simple, hunh?

Whatever you do, do it while you can still get out of your chair. We share a birth-year & month, so I know what I'm talking about. [groan] Time to hit the road again. Or, I could just spend the afternoon in Starbucks, re-re-reading Kerouac. And then there's that half-bottle of Bourbon...

And I owe it all to Joni.

Randal Graves said...

We all feel like this at some point. The downside, perhaps, of being complex creatures. Who wouldn't love to cut loose, cut ties and just get away from all the quotidian bullshit. But within those days are things that we love. The struggle to reconcile the two is neverending.

And if whatever happens, you aren't satisfied, just buy a sports car. ;-)

Sue J said...

Hmmmm. I vote for a place on Cape Cod!

Dorothy said...

Such a beautiful dream, please don't ever give it up. You never know. And me I buy lottery tickets every week for a dollar and my dream.... I'm convinced I'm going to win and have that second home and no financial worries. Away every weekend to relax and recharge with my grandchildren and my daughter.

wishing you the same
Lovely post.

Dorothy from grammology
remember to call gram

Larry said...

I can totally relate to what you are saying. Three years ago I took a new job that has me going all over the country, and I have spent the majority of time in Colorado which is great,and now my hometown is a distant memory I never want to revisit.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

"that changes are in the air and your life may be on the edge of a new beginning?"
Sure did! Our first night in our house, I was lying awake thinking about it all, when this horrible, frightening thought hit me, and I rolled over and shook my wife awake: "Did you know we gotta take care of all this stuff now? We ARE the Landlord!" We both spent the rest of the night playing "what if." It's funny now, but there was nothing funny about the fear of the unknown....

"Another factor is, I'll be turning 55 in September,"
Don't believe it, Hon.:) The counter starts cheating when we go over 40!:) You're likely only 42, if that.:P

Rhea said...

Your dream of mountain living is a wonderful one. I like that. I would love to move to a wooded area and live in an A-frame house with incredibly high ceilings and lots of big windows. But then reality hits...

Utah Savage said...

When I was younger I dreamed and leapt into the void. It always was a charmed life until I leapt into relationships with men. These were the hard times. I was never good at being a wife or lover that was totally responsible for domestic work, and hated the bickering about enforcing the sharing of shit work. So now I live alone in a small paradise of my own making. Sadly it is in Utah, but my little corner of it is lovely. Sadly my vote in every Presidential election counts for nothing. But I guess, you can't have everything. Now at 63 my leaping into the void days are over and I am settled down unless McCain wins this one and I will then sell my place and become an expatriate.

Mauigirl said...

Cosa, you are so right, the one thing you can't escape from is yourself! And I know I'm past my hippie days...I wouldn't want to go back quite that far. But I would like to be like an aging hippie, LOL! I have to say I like the Amsterdam idea too. There are so many great places in Europe! I'll think about doing the expatriate thing if McCain wins, as Utah Savage says!

Randal, who says I can't move to the Adirondacks AND get a sports car? ;-) But you're right, there are many things about my everyday life that I do indeed love.

Sue, believe me, we had been looking at Cape Cod. The kind of place we would have wanted (small 2-BR cottage) are as hard to find as hen's teeth - they've all been torn down for trophy homes! And even the few that are left are so expensive! The places in the Adirondacks we're looking at are all under $150k. Some are even under $100k! Plus we wanted a place that would be within 3-4 hours of home so we could go up on a weekend and not be exhausted. The Cape takes us 6 hours minimum. But we'd still be going there twice a year no matter what!

Dorothy, I hope you win that lottery and all your dreams come true!

Larry, that's great that you took that job and are enjoying the travel and time in Colorado!

Future, I can imagine you would relate a lot to this idea since you just moved to your new home! And thanks, I like the idea of only being 42, I think I'll stick to that.

Rhea, you sound as if you are on the same wavelength as I am! But at least you moved away from New Jersey to Boston so you've taken one step more than I have!

Utah, at least you can say you've made your leaps! And I'm with you - if the Republicans win again I may just leave the country. New Zealand always appealed to me...

Cosa Nostradamus said...

I should maybe bite my tongue here, since some of us have been through this once already, but the only way Obama doesn't become President now is if somebody shoots him. That's the only way Nixon became Crook In Chief. So, two words, brother Barack: Duck! DUCK!!!

If he does get shot, we all should do what we should have done in '63, or '68, or 2004 or 2001 or 2000: Revolt. What kind of people allow their country to be taken over by assassination, election fraud, or a virtual military coup? Like the Chinese, the Russians, the Germans, and everybody else, we get the government we deserve. To get a better one, we have to deserve a better one. To deserve a better one, we have to be willing to fight for it, and fight to keep it. If democracy dies --keeps dying in this country, it won't be because crypto-nazi boogie men made it happen. It'll be because the rest of us let it happen.

If you're going to run away, what's wrong with the Jersey Shore? Nice and quiet in the Winter. Some of the small towns north or south of Ocean County are nice even in Summer. Only an hour or two from North Jersey. I used to take the county roads through horse country down there, avoid the traffic even in July. Ten degrees warmer in the winter, ten degrees cooler in the summer than up north. Same climate as N. Carolina. Number 3 retirement area in the US. And then you don't have to give up real pizza and subs. SUBS, Mauigirl! There's sumpin' worth fighting for!

Cosa Nostradamus said...

Sorry, forgot to recommend this, by another woman going through a change of life on the outskirts of Manhattan. Excellent writing:

Mauigirl said...

Cosa, you have a point about the pizza and subs. I have to admit the pizza in the Adirondacks that we had so far has not been up to Jersey standards. Actually we just visited a small town in Monmouth County, NJ (not too far from the shore) that I never knew existed - it's as if it's from another era. So there are definitely a lot of nice locations in my fair state. The Jersey Shore is too crowded in the summer but off season, you are right, it's lovely.

Thanks for the link to the blog (as if I need another blog to read, LOL! I can't keep up with them now!). I'll take some time to read it while we're away!

KGMom said...

Well, I was just going to say--yes--to your first question.
But then I thought--no, I have never had a mid-life crisis. Hmmm--since I am 63 now, does that mean I will have a senior-life crisis?
Actually, on a serious note, my big company decided 6 years ago, that they didn't need my department. I hadn't planned to retire right then, but sorta had to. So I went back to college teaching--part time, and it's the best thing that ever happened to me!

Suzi Riot said...

To me, the dream is almost always better than the reality. But I'm an angry, depressive cynic so that probably is not the healthiest view to take! Mr. Riot and I are always talking about how we'd love to move to the mountains of British Columbia and live off the grid and have dozens of rescued puppies. That may not be the reality we ultimately have, but I think the reality can at least involve elements of that dream. So think of what you really want and what you really need and go for it!

enigma4ever said...

I put you on my Round Up for today...Hope that is okay....

Cosa Nostradamus said...

I hate to say it, but NJ is ground-zero for pizza, pasta & subs. Head out in any direction and you'll see the quality diminish to Blimpies & Pizza Hut levels after 100 miles or so. Even without the poor old Sicilian grannies cooking in the back, any more. My kingdom for a cannoli!

On the other hand, I hear the moose is (are?) to die for Upstate. Esp. the chocolate.

pissed off patricia said...

I felt like that a couple of years ago and decided the first thing I needed to do was get rid of a lot of stuff. I've been working on my project and there is such a feeling of accomplishment each time another load goes to the thrift shop. I find it feels good to know I don't need the stuff and don't have to rely on any of it. Every less thing in this house is one less thing I have to tend to and deal with. So when the time comes for us to make a move or a change we'll have less crap to drag around.

Mauigirl said...

KGMom, you didn't have to have a midlife crisis, your company did it for you! But you did start a whole new life so you didn't need to have a crisis! ;-) That's great that your second career has been so rewarding. I'm hoping to have a similar experience at some point.

Suzi, I love your and Mr. Riot's dream. Actually rescued puppies (or pit bulls!) probably figures in mine too. I was also thinking if we had enough land we might start our own dog rescue! You're right, though, the dream doesn't always live up to expectations. I don't know if you're a Star Trek fan, but those who are will remember Mr. Spock's famous words: "Sometimes having is not so satisfying as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."

Enigma, thanks! I appreciate it!

Cosa, I know - it is hard to find better Italian food than here in New Jersey. The only places that come close are North Beach in San Francisco and the North End of Boston. (I'm sure Little Italy in NYC is probably in that list but we don't tend to go there much since there is so much good Italian right here in New Jersey).

POP, I know what you mean - cleaning out the house - or remodeling or moving furniture around - is sometimes a good substitute for actually taking off! In fact, we just got rid of our old drapes and put up lighter, airier window treatments, reupholstered some furniture, and are planning on redoing our bathroom. So these things do help! Oh, and we cleaned out our attic! There is definitely a trend going on here in the Maui household.

enigma4ever said...

a restless time....I hear you...I am so sorry that you are going through this..but Change is knocking on your door- some of it is indeed beyond your control...but some is within your reach...and maybe that is what it is about....if you can find a way to do both...make changes at work AND start making a change...for YOU...like the cabin or going back to school and learning something new...or volunteering at something you love...

the cabin sounds lovely...and soothing..

Alot of people are thinking about leaving if Repugs still have a strangelhold- you are not alone....

you will get through this....you will find what is next..

Distributorcap said...

you hit a nerve...... these 12 hour days to pay a mortgage ...

and these dreams --- and when you pass certain points (like 50) --- you wonder a lot...

a lot

a lot of a lot

thanks for a great read

kuanyin333 said...

I'm in the same state of mind as you...and that's why I've been spending so much time excavating our STUFF, getting rid of so much of it, and paring down...and definitely feeling there is something blowing in the wind. I've barely been blogging or painting or writing...all I want to do is prepare for something!

Mauigirl said...

DCap, I know what you mean - it really does have something to do with reaching a certain age, I'm sure, when you start to reevaluate your life and try to figure out what is really important.

Kuanyin, I know what you mean - that cleaning out thing helps - and yes, it makes it harder to concentrate on blogging!