A Cheer to the New Year!

I can’t believe how quickly time flies! They always say that once you get to be an adult, time goes by faster each year, and now I believe it. Although, I’m not old! Just older. And the forties are the new twenties anyway! However, I did take the opportunity to have my mid-life crisis, or really more like an awakening. For those of you who haven’t been following my blog, my husband and I bought an RV this year and we’re in full planning for a U.S. tour beginning spring of 2019.

After spending most of my life playing by the rules (or at least trying to) and pursuing a good education, jobs/career, more education, but still longing for something undefined, I’ve decided to throw (some) caution to the wind. Thus the RV and the plans of seeing the U.S., together with husband, two dogs, and a cat.

As the departure day draws near, and the year is ending, I am picking up the pace on things that need to be done before we leave. If you’ve ever lived in a house more than ten years, you know just how much STUFF one could accumulate…. The house purge process has been both intimidating and majorly cathartic. Once things started moving out of the house and to good causes, I’ve started to feel relieved. There seems to be more space to think.

One of my New Year’s resolutions (be it that it happened this Spring) was to not be attached to material things. Not long after I made the resolution, as a test, I believe, my engagement ring went missing. I tried to live up to my resolution but I really should have made some fine print specifications about said resolution…. But, in the end, a ring is just a ring, right?

Thinking about things of value, I proceeded to scan old photos and take photos of things I might want to remember. Cloud storage is next on the “to do” list. We are aiming to pair down our belongings to the few essential things that we could put in storage for a year, while we travel.

The RV renovations began a while ago and they are progressing in baby steps. My husband pulled out the nasty (once) beige carpet and every single staple holding it together, not a small feat. He repaired the flooring where it needed it, and did the same with an upper cabinet that had been water damaged. I took advantage of the warm spring-like weather around Christmas time and painted a few more of the cabinets. I’m really champing at the bit to see the new flooring go in….

Although we want to be somewhat spontaneous in our travel, I’m a planner, so I started laying out points of interest and pet-friendly sites for each of the states we’ll see. It’s a bit overwhelming but once the plans are a bit more clear, I start feeling a bit more at ease.

This year’s notable happenings included: me quitting my job; my husband retiring; us buying an RV; our 10-year wedding anniversary and week-long RV trip to Miramar Beach, Florida; a trip to North Carolina with old and new friends; a birthday celebration and RV trip to the Great Smoky Mountains; a great trip to see family in Romania and introduce my country to my friends, followed by a colorful immersion into Portugal.

Year in review 2018 photo collage

So, the lessons I’ve learned this year (and I’m still learning):

  1. Be patient
    • Things may take longer than expected to come to fruition.
    • I need to be patient with myself, too.
  2. Trust the inner voice
    • Next time that nagging little voice says “this doesn’t feel right,” I’ll try to listen to it earlier, rather than getting stuck in a damaging situation, trying in vain to change some things that are not changeable.
    • I give people the benefit of the doubt, and get burned/disappointed when many don’t live up to my expectations. When the instinctual vibe fails to send a clear signal, I need to observe more, before trusting.
  3. Keep growing
    • Stagnation is death. Learning new things, career-related or otherwise, is a great way to stay sharp, and have more fun.
    • Accept that we are all ignorant in some respect, and seek to understand more.
  4. Focus on what’s important
    • Stuff is just stuff. The stuff that matters is relationships. However, not all relationships matter. I know this seems like a catch 22, but the point is that
      I need to focus my energy on the people who matter.
  5. Do what you love
    • This sounds like a self-indulgent cliché , but it is a necessity. I’m not saying be irresponsible in pursuing your passion(s), but I can attest to the soul-sucking consequences of not doing what I love enough (for too long). It doesn’t need to be a major production, but you must allow yourself to do something that satisfies your soul on a constant basis. Being unhappy makes for highly unproductive humans.

2018 has been a mixed bag. I had to make some hard choices, including quitting my job, leading to an amazing sense of relief, sanity, and happiness. Once I allowed myself to pursue what I loved and wanted to work on (aka, writing), I found new energy to get things done. I took great delight in catching up with old college friends in the process of writing a book about my alma mater. I completed an online certificate in my work field of marketing – I love learning new things. My health has been augmented by lack of stress, outdoor walks with dogs, more dancing, and having the time to cook. I’ve had time to catch up on reading for fun. It’s been the year of taking back my life, and I’m incredibly grateful for it!

2019 is promising a beautiful adventure and I’m really looking forward to it. Even if it’s a bit daunting at times, I know in my heart of hearts that the status quo is a no go. I hope you’ll follow my blog as I document our next adventure, and please keep a good thought for us as we step into the next chapter of our lives.

Looking forward to 2019

For the new year, I wish you health and joy, peace and kindness! I hope you take the time to do what you love, and to be with the people whom you love and who make you happy.

Happy New Year and Happy Trails!

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