For two years now, I’ve neglected my Maine Blog. Ok, who are we kidding, I outright abandoned it. It’s as if all my kids grew up and moved away and I got a new dog, and my blog became, for me, like an old sweater that no longer fit.
Actually, all those things are true, except I hardly ever wear sweaters.
Now I’m trying on something new.
Nineteen years ago, I didn’t want to move to Maine, but I generally make the best of things. I made up my mind I’d like Maine and it wasn’t hard to do. We moved to this quaint little scenic town (show me a town in Maine that isn’t quaint and little and scenic) and I fell in love with what felt like living in a by-gone era. We raised our kids, made friends, put down roots, and I even made peace with the long winters and the black flies.
Ok, maybe not the black flies.
Then a handful of years ago, things began to shift ever so slightly. Andy, our oldest, finished college and went to grad school in Arizona. Then he landed a good job out there and found the perfect girl, and married her. Her name is Rachel. They own a house and a cat and they hope to stay in Arizona forever.
As all this was happening, there came another slight shift. Molly, our youngest, went away to college in New York. She graduated a year ago and is now living in Southern California. She’s still relatively mobile (read that: skydiving and living in a van), but she knows she wants to stay somewhere out west.
Our middle child, Samantha, remained in Maine after high school, but then found a job in Arizona early last year, and moved just across town from Andy and Rachel. Another shift.
At this point, picture a comic strip where in the first frame, the kids have all moved far, far away. In the very next frame, my job that I loved also shifted, to the point that it was no longer a good fit for me. So I quit. The next frame is my own personal paradigm shift that coincided with big changes at our church, so I quit that too.
During that season of changes, I got a puppy. Not just any puppy, but a non-stop fireball of energy that, nearly two years later, is still kicking my ass. She isn’t slowing down so I’m trying to keep up. Her name is Dinah.
Cherry on top came last summer when my husband Todd told me he tentatively set a retirement date and that when he retires, he wants us to move out west. As in, out west where all the kids live? Yes.
Hallelujah, when do I pack?
Oh wait, what’s that? Retirement won’t be for another NINE YEARS?
But I was ready to go RIGHT THEN.
So maybe I snapped just a little. Maybe I cried and wished things were different. Maybe I felt very sorry for myself. I might have even burned a few bridges. Not saying I did, just that I might have.
Then lo and behold a bunch of things fell into place and I found myself driving Molly’s car to California in February of this year. She needed the car and I needed out, so there was my chance. I saw the country and stayed with a couple of friends along the way. I spent time with a friend in Colorado who has a debilitating illness, but we had laughs just like we did back in middle school. I soaked up the sun in Arizona with Andy and Rachel and Samantha. I visited with my mom in Arizona too. Dinah went with me, so there were many stops at dog parks and hiking trails.
In Southern California, I got to see my dad, and then Molly and I road tripped up the coast where I met up with my longtime writer friend. There, just a stone’s throw from the Pacific, I had a bit of a revelation about life.
I found a job and folks suggested I stay. I wanted to stay. For the first time in a long time, I had options and choices to make. And in the process of figuring out where to go next (literally), I learned things. I found healing and peace. I found answers to some of the questions in my soul. Even more questions stayed unanswered, but I also learned to sit in the uncertainty and be OK with the not knowing.
And I learned still another thing. It’s finally time for me to write the damn book. I’ve been piddling around with it for years but going west gave me a focus, a structure, and the motivation to DO IT.
Copyright © 2017 – Paulla Estes