What is it that finally pushes one past their comfort zone and off the beaten track, that smoothly paved road that leads us through our sane, or comfortably insane, lives to that unknown destination that lies waiting for us in the end? What is that thing that all of a sudden puts a curve in that path, so that for some of us it feels more desirable to step off the shoulder and bush-whack through the dense brambles of risk not knowing what lay beyond, past the prickles of fear that tear away at us and up the steep, rocky slope of self-doubt that challenges our courage? What makes one choose that?
For me, I had a pretty comfy life…a good job that provided me with a pension, medical and dental benefits, sick time and holiday time; a lovely modern three bedroom townhouse, albeit with a mortgage; and nice things to decorate it with. But, as I sat alone in my townhouse with my arms folded on the back of my loveseat and chin propped up on the back of my hand, I gazed out my living room window, through the gently falling snowflakes and fixated on the flashes of light projected by hidden TV screens on the other side of pulled blinds. I realized then something was missing.
A single woman in her middle years ought to be hanging tightly onto her mortgage and her good job to secure her future, her retirement. She should be adding to her furniture collection not wondering how it would feel to get rid of it, but to me it was all meaningless. It was just…stuff.
It all started at the end of a journey actually. It was a journey that set in motion something inside me that would continue to grow like the momentum a wheel accumulates after it’s been given a gentle push over the crest of a hill. It was the Camino de Santiago that gave me that push, an 800 kilometer pilgrimage beginning on the French side of the Pyrenees mountain range and ending in the capital city of the Galician region of Spain, Santiago de Compostela. The journey, I discovered along the way, was about letting go…letting go of some of my belongings, but most importantly letting go of the emotional things that were no longer positively influencing my life. It was difficult to return home from that journey and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure I have. The wheel keeps rolling through my mind.
It was January when I started veering for the shoulder of the road. I had dragged all the cardboard boxes and other stray things out of the storage closet under the stairs, so I could stuff my Christmas tree back in for another year. As I stood there looking down at the things scattered on the previously barren rec-room floor, I wondered to myself why I keep it all…the extra computer monitor, the drawing tablet I never use, the old printer with no ink, the bag of shabby stuffed animals I had hauled around with me since I was a little girl and the box of dusty trophies just to name a few. It was then that the purging began and as the wheel rolled faster I wondered why I was even keeping the big townhouse with the mortgage that weighed me down so that I needed to supplement my income with side-jobs or room-mates. I may never get another room-mate like Lisa, a student and kindred spirit who lived with me for a year-and-a-half before she moved in with her boyfriend at the end of November.
So, I called a realtor, listed the townhouse and sold it three weeks later in a slow market…the Law of Attraction maybe? A friend of mine told me that if I started packing right away, the forward energy would make it sell faster. She was right. I moved my sentimental belongings into my parent’s crawlspace on Vancouver Island, purged the things I didn’t want, sold anything valuable I could replace later and eventually moved myself plus a few furniture items into a friend’s basement bedroom.
My last day of work is August 1st and then I will begin a new journey, or a continuation of the one I am on, but instead of the smoothly paved road that has been my life for many years, I’ll be bush-whacking through the brambles of my unknown, past the prickles of my fears and scrambling up the slope of my self-doubt and I will journal about it along the way…here.
There is a story about why I named my blog, My Meseta. It all came about on the Camino. For many who have walked the Camino, they will understand what I mean when I say the journey was a metaphor for life. I described it in one of my Camino journals in more detail. There was the birth of my journey, growth as I battled physical and emotional aches and pains along the way, a sense of youth as I experienced a new part of the world, the joy and challenge of adolescence as I developed important Camino relationships, a mid-life crisis where I re-evaluated and contemplated my life along the never-ending Spanish plateau or Meseta and, lastly, the end of the road or my Camino death. But was it a death or, more so, a beginning?
Sometimes in my mind I’m still walking the expansive Meseta along that straight and sometimes meandering medieval road as it weaves between the wrinkles in the blanket of endless dry grasslands. As I sat on the loveseat looking out at my world, as I stood observing my stuff scattered all over my rec-room floor, as I plug away at work and even as I sit in my friend’s basement on my computer, I still feel like I’m there…contemplating my life, figuring out what it is that truly makes me tick, what I’m capable of…who I am.
My plans are to eventually move to Vancouver Island to live closer to my parents and to offer support to my son if he chooses to attend UVIC, but between now and then I am leaving the smooth straight road that was once my life and I am waving goodbye and see you in a while as I part the brambles ready to experience ‘My Meseta’, or my mid-life contemplation, to find the core of who I am, accept the changes I am going through, to discover my courage and to be present in the moment.
For now…the journey is home.