Packing up one’s life!

People keep telling me how brave we are. It feels weird, as we don’t feel brave. The theory of packing up our lives and having a season to rewind, repurpose, rewire our lives sounds to most people who’ve responded as a great idea… but brave.

Why brave? Are we stupid, blind, crazy? Am I missing yet another memo that everyone else appears to have?

There is little about what we’re doing that hasn’t been done before, and daily on social media, we are encouraged to do all these things. There is little about what we’re doing that we personally haven’t done before.

We spent the first year of our married life living in a campervan as illegal aliens in a foreign land with absolutely no money… pregnant!

This time we won’t live in it full time (next week we will be off in search of a possible small nest to use as a base), we will no doubt have a key to the van so we won’t need to jump start it every time we drive it. This time we should have a sink that works and we won’t need a wrench to open and close the sliding door. It will be pure luxury!

I’ve done 8 international moves, some of our belongings have circumnavigated the entire world over the last few decades. I thought there was nothing I didn’t know about selling houses & cars, culling, visas, home affairs and shipping. But I’m wrong…

We are talking about selling our safe spaces, dealing with 4 different countries at once, managing six different contexts on a regular basis and all the while juggling 17 balls at once, including new babies …and if we drop just one of them, even for a moment, they will all come crashing down. But I can do that, I’ve done it before…

But sometimes it feels like everything is going against us. As we speak Mr.S is driving to a lawyer in terrible traffic to have documents that have been just fine our entire lives, Apostillized! Autocorrect tells me that word doesn’t even exist. But I can tell you it does, and that lawyers can charge $750 for one document (we have 7 we need doing, but don’t worry, after the first one, the rest are only $350 each!!!). It’s like Certified copies on steroids and takes 2 days, and we need them yesterday. Thankfully someone who knows someone will do it for only a leg instead of both an arm and a leg, and we’re trying to be grateful while we choke.

It also turns out that there are apparently NO house buyers out there. This can’t be entirely true or literal (in the real sense of the word) of course but so far I’ve heard that story from almost everyone I know. And it’s not just buyers, it’s renters as well. They all up and left apparently.

I’m trying to remain optimistic but it’s tough when you feel well prepared for the nineteen doors that need knocking on, and you wisely expect that many of them won’t open easily. But I feel like I’ve smashed my face into just about all of them they are slammed shut so hard.

I’m trying not to let the voices in my head win and throw in the towel and do what everyone else does and just be normal for once. My husband tells me I like being different. I don’t, I can assure you I hate it. I just don’t know how to be the same as everyone else. I grew up missing all the memos everyone else got and had to work life out for myself. It’s hard to take the tarred road when you know what’s behind the fences along the side. Yes, it’s tough out there, but there are also so many mountains and streams and beaches and palm trees …. out there beyond the normal…

Anyway, sorry to have a gripe, but I promised to share the journey and it’s important not to make it look rosy when it isn’t. Right now it sucks!

(and sorry to use the same photo … Im tired…)

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

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@JPeaSmith
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Our Big News!!!

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 19.47.57It’s been too long since I’ve written, but it’s also been a bit hard. As many of you will know, I’m good at keeping a secret, but I’m not good at making something up to cover it. I’d rather say nothing than get all tied up in knots! So here is what has been happening and how it affects my books:

In the last two years or so, a handful of significant changes have happened in our lives:

TURNING 50:

Yes, we’ve both turned 50 in the last year or so (less for me, a little more for him). This marks for us both the middle of our adult years! How so you ask?

Well, in the last 18 months, we’ve each lost a relative which we hadn’t experienced in a very long time. I lost my uncle, who, at 83 is the youngest person to die in my father’s family, while Mr.S lost his last grandparent that same year at 96. There is a history of longevity on my mother’s side as well. This means that for both of us, accidents aside, our life expectancy is around 87. That means we each have about 37 years left on this crappy old earth, which is longer than the 30 odd years we have already been adults.

Now, while longevity and wellness do not mean the same thing by any means, our family members appear to fall into one of two categories; those who lived life till the end without ever “retiring” and those who retired young and then started coming apart at the seams quicker than I thought was possible. Those who lacked significant purpose have gone down fast … and yet not died for a very long time. Many of them spending their last decade or so bedridden (with their spouse bedridden in another room). And I use the word significant as there are all kinds of tiny little purposes in life that really don’t add up to very much.

This is not what we would like our endings to look like. My health issues are old news, but they’re not life-threatening, but I do need a lot more help if I’m to preserve my tendons and ligaments and therefore my whole body. We need to be very careful of me if I’m to last the distance in one piece (OK, that’s not going to happen, but for at least as much of it as possible).

WE READ THE BOOK:

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 13.18.02About 18 months ago we read this book called Half Time by Bob Buford. We spent the whole time nodding our heads and soaking a bunch of wisdom around the space of finishing work earlier rather than later, but NOT to retire. Rather, to do something more meaningful, significant, and which one can do right until the end.

Mr.S works very hard and always has, and he doesn’t have the kind of job that one can do part-time or in smaller doses. So continuing to do what he does but on a gentler level is not an option. But we don’t want to leave it too late to change gears either. And he works so hard there isn’t time to start anything new concurrently, (which is part of the Half Time premise).

But we have come to realize that for some people, there needs to be a season in the middle. That changing tack can be too swift or overwhelming. That we need a season to detox from the old before we can begin to build the new. A sabbatical as it were. A time to ground and breath and experiment and write and blog and publish and study and hide from the world….

We spent the first year of our married life in a WV van, so why not spend the beginning of our second half doing the same?

 

 

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Over the next 6 months, we will be winding down life as we know it. The house is on the market, the car should be soon too. I am off to see the kids in a few weeks to do some groundwork there and we are off to Europe next week to do more groundwork there. There are work farewells both here and the USA, and there are belongings to sort through and cull, and so the list goes on.

Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, we will find a second hand WV van to use as the shell for our new home, and I look forward to sharing the journey with you!!

But what this really means is that my husband will be back into publisher mode by then and we can start publishing again! Woohoo!!

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Where you can find and follow Jennifer:

YouTube |Blog | The Mighty | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon

@JPeaSmith