Letting it all go
I did it. I finally have the gypsy caravan I have been talking about for years; I have joined the "tiny house nation," hashtagvanlife, living life on the road. So what happened?!?
2020 was the hardest year of my life. It has been the hardest year in many people's lives, I am not special in this. For me it was not directly related to illness, death, isolation, natural disaster, injustice, loss of job and income that have impacted our communities globally. It was the natural evolution of the dissolution of everything I thought I had, thought I was, thought I should, thought was real.
I woke up one morning in late October knowing that I was going to sell the house. I had fixed it up inside and out: painted, finished the stairwell that had remained under construction for sixteen years, built a labyrinth in the front garden, prettied up my courtyard entrance, remodeled the bathroom myself, although that project took six months to complete (we all learned to brush our teeth in the bathtub!), and more! It looked colorful and beautiful. And still the house needed major repairs. I did not have the strength or the dollars to fix the rest of it. I tried refinancing, renting, toyed with Airbnb, and none of it made sense. I struggled with mortgage and taxes, and my desire to honor the work my partner Paul had done on it and at the same time to make it my home. Truth is, it wasn't my home, it was too big, I couldn't take care of it, and I didn't want to.
I fought with depression most of the year. When covid hit, I was not able to see my dear friends from the east coast. I took a deep dive into the shadows of my 65 years and got trapped under the waters of despair. I found I could surface and catch a breath before getting sucked under again by driving, driving fast. So I drove up and down the west coast - San Diego, Portland, Los Angeles, Shasta, up and down, back and forth. At speeds above 80 mph I have to focus so intently, emotion dissipates. I did realize mid-year what I was doing, that I was running from depression, and that I probably needed to change the way I was dealing with it. By the middle of October, I had processed, understood and resolved so much of my gnarly 38-year relationship with my partner that had been a "driving" source of my depression. In the two years since he passed away, I have had a lot of solitude, and relish the quiet I have been blessed with. It has silenced all those voices of judgment, criticism, fear.
I decided to sell the house on a Monday and contacted a realtor friend. On the Friday of that week, a guy walked into her office and said "I'm looking for a coastside fixer-upper." We all knew he was the one! He made the perfect offer, we never went to market, never had to have inspections, didn't have to repair or paint or fix anything. I was done, and so happy to have handed off my home of thirty years to someone who loves it, loves the area, and will take the house to the next level with inspiration and care. Synchronicity!
And no regrets. This was absolutely the right decision. I have not had one moment of doubt about my path. I have no clear idea about where I'm going, although some scenes are beginning to emerge on the edges of my awareness, kind of like the way a polaroid photograph develops. I have thrown out, given away, donated, disappeared tons of...absolutely useless stuff that I can't even remember now. I have worked so conscientiously for decades to recycle, reuse and reduce, and in the end I made 28 trips to the dump and had 3 huge truckloads hauled off as trash. Ugh! My footprint is so much smaller now. I'm living in the van and there is not an inch of extra space for anything non-essential. Crystals are essential. Tarot cards are essential. Hats are essential. Dog food is essential. Everything else has to earn its place in my duffle and my dinghy, or it makes me completely crazy! Well, there are those who say I am completely crazy to do this, but they might as well keep their opinions to themselves. This is a Fool moment, stepping off the edge into the unknown with complete faith that all is as it should and must be. And I am thrilled!
I'm on Instagram OMG - Meta Orear as thegrooveisinthevan if you want to follow the story. I'm stumbling through the technology with the help of my daughter. Your patience is appreciated! Work is all by phone. I can FaceTime and Zoom if anybody absolutely has to see me. My schedule is not set yet so contacting me by text message or email are the best ways to reach me.
And my apologies to all of you who have in fact tried to reach me in the past year and I haven't responded. In depression and overwhelm, there is a gap between reading a message and replying to it that so many texts and emails fell into. I'm going back now to pick up the ones I can find.
As I say farewell to my home of thirty years, and to the many friends I have made throughout those years, my wish, hope, prayer, intention, expectation is that we may all find happiness and adventure as we coddiwomple through life.
Over and out.