You walk, I'll fly.

The first thing I wanted to do when I got down here was something small: I wanted to go to the beach, and walk until I didn’t feel like walking anymore.  I’ve lived in three coastal states, including this one, and have never taken the opportunity to walk the beach until I was finished. I’ve taken long walks on the beach, and short walks on the beach, but my return has always been a matter of external circumstance. Either I had a child waiting, or a companion who was ready to go, or an appointment, or dinner was waiting, or something else. This time, I wanted the end of my walk to happen when I became inclined to be somewhere else as a matter of my own pleasure.

And so, yesterday, I set out by myself on a wildly windy day that sandblasted my calves. I left my favorite sandals near a rock next to the boardwalk, reasoning that they were only sandals and I could replace them if lost. (They were there when I returned hours later, of course, and the wind had half filled them with sand.) I walked in the water, and out of the water, and alongside terns and oystercatchers. The beach was almost completely empty, both because it was so windy and because this beach is rarely crowded even during the best weather.

This was a pretty powerful thing for me, probably because it symbolized all of the things I’ve long felt were off limits to me, and my conscious decision to remove those limits. I think people need to do the things that are powerful for them.  Most of the things we say we’ve “never been able to do” are actually things we’ve never felt able to do for one reason or another. When you decide to do something you’ve never felt able to do, but have always wanted to do, something happens: you figure out very quickly how you really want to live your life, because the energy and effort it takes to do that has a way of forcing priorities. Envying the lives of others takes less energy, but there’s not much joy to it. So I think I’ll make my own instead.


7 thoughts on “My way

  1. Jen, Your comments above along with those of Jon Katz and Mary Muncil are moving me closer to a life long dream. To have a farm. Not a big, income producing farm. Just a few acres with some animals (alpacas I hope!) and a modest garden. Maybe a bee hive and of course some chickens. I’ll probably have to keep my part-time job. IAnd it’s still a ways off in the future. One obstacle is getting my husband on board (he is softening just a bit). And finding a place we can afford not too far from Charlotte.
    I’m at a point in my life where my “American dream” isn’t a bigger house (to much to clean and maintain) or a fancier car (ditto) or fine clothes. It’s digging in the dirt, wearing jeans and tee shirts, smelling fresh hay and getting it in my hair….oh, and the animals. I know it will be hard work – or at least different kind of work.
    There is still alot of research for me to do. And visiting some nearby alpaca farms. My daughter’s mother-in-law is very interested in alpacas, too, (She and I are good friends as well as co-mothers-in-law). But she gets her nails done and is out of town a lot. So I don’t know how much she’d really jump in.
    Anyway. At least your words and Jon’s and Mary’s have me thinking it may be possible. I’ll be 60 in four years and that seems like a milestone to me. I swear, I still feel like I’m 30 something (well, more aches and pains). Okay, now I’m rambling, so I’ll quit.
    Your photos sure do make me want to wander the backwaters of FL!

  2. Alpacas are wonderful! And my understanding is they’re pretty do-able. I talked to a woman last fall who saved her 150 year old family farm by raising alpacas. She says they aren’t that difficult, as livestock goes. I hope you imagine yourself right into the life you want, Donna. Keep us posted!

  3. It’s not outdoor-nature, so much as human nature, but this post says a bit I’ve tried to explain to other people about why I go to boxing/bootcamp 3 days a week at 5:30 in the morning. I push myself there. And then my trainer pushes me even farther. Which shows me that I can push myself even farther than that and the limits I thought I had were all in my head. They were only as real as I made them. If those limits – *physical* limits – weren’t legitimate, then what other limits have I imagined that I can effectively tamper down. When I start my day by blowing my own mind (using my body as the tool), I feel limitless for most of the day. I expand. The ground is only beneath me because I choose for it to be there, not because I am limited to the earth.

    And then about 3:00pm – I need a nap, ’cause seriously – I got up at 4:45 to meet the trainer. A girl gets tired.

  4. As I was rambling to Dave about alpacas the other night, he said, “Well, I’m open.” My little heart started fluttering and my mind started racing. Haha! After all, Dave was the one who held the week old cria when we were in Vermont. (see my fb pictures) We’re going to visit an alpaca farm this coming Saturday. And I found out that you can have small livestock in our county as long as you have enough space and permit. So, the search for a few acres is on.

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