September 1, 2021: Change
Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. George Bernard Shaw
I retired from my second career nearly 15 months ago. I’ve traveled. I’ve nearly caught up with work I couldn’t much get to while I had that career. I’ve camped. I’ve done nothing. And I’ve waited. That waiting brought me to a place of floundering about a change of place or not. It’s that sense of something is up about a move, but I know not what.
In 1985, I was in a similar position relative to career. Things seemed comfortable, my business seemed good, but there was that itch to change it up without wrecking it up. So, I went for a walk in the local hills and talked to “Grandfather Brush (aka GB).” There were no trees, except on private property, so a proper-looking bit of brush had to do. The question I poised to GB was what is next? The short story of that outcome—and it was successful despite major obstacles—was what I “heard” from GB was not to my liking and had zero to do with what I thought I was thinking. About 3 or 4 months later, I realized what I “heard” was exactly what I had to do. The shift began.
It would be 14 years before I retired from my first career and it would be 10 years before my new career, begun 5 years earlier, was really hopeful. Do the math and the variables if you like, but the point is that shift was not even close to being quick, much less smooth.
It’s true I’ve had other such shifts in the years before my chat with GB as well as later, despite the often silence after my questions. Perhaps I was not listening, but all those changes from then to now were good for me, though none were easy. Besides, I realized how much information was available in all that silence.
In my present situation, moving had been on my mind for years, but it was never right. Home and place are big words to me and selling my home was like giving away my life. I purchased the land some 42 years earlier and that I’ve been living on for very close to 40 years. You might say I was vested.
Nonetheless, a change in place has really been bugging me lately. I’ve begun to feel “pressured” by a sense I’m running out of time. Not that I’m knowingly terminal, but my ability to continue the stewardship of this land, this place, these rooted beings, is waning. I knew I didn’t want to wreck it up, even if changing it up was becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.
I’m not the dumbest person on the planet, but I can be almost intolerably slow sometimes. However, I’ve taken the leap and put my place on the market. If it happens to sell, I’ll likely be voluntarily homeless short of a miracle. I’ll likely travel around and see friends and stay in a motel or a state or national campground. In other words, I’ll be able to shower when I want to and to visit with friends and family as well as to be around folks who do not know my name. But I may not have a place, a spot of my own—at least for a while. I believe in miracles, but I don’t believe in doing nothing besides waiting for one.
How I got to this point involved a realization to forget about specific outcomes. In order to not wreck it up, I simply had to figure the different bottom lines and then deliberately put myself in the situation. It was about opening up to see what would come, rather than making sure the barriers to change were intact. If home sells, it sells. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But I will have learned much more than simply speculating. And in either case, I’ll have a more grounded view of what’s now and what’s ahead. Whatever happens, I will have moved off my dime.
Okay, my realization is not an act of genius to be sure. But, despite the uncertainty, despite all the work both present and looming, wonder has returned in full force—the kind of wonder that lights one up.
And if it goes badly? Somehow, I think that would involve a lot in the world going badly. If it’s just me messing up, then I’ll have to figure that out. But that’s part of business as usual, even while things are changing—even while things are needing to change.
The Bumper Sticker Corner
Two separate, but related ironies:
Everybody has something to say.
Nobody knows what’s going on.
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