I was grappling with divorce when I learned that 1300 miles away my mother was losing her mind. Alzheimer's disease had been stealthily stealing it from her.
As a daughter, my decision was as swift as it was inevitable. As a parent, my task was heart-wrenching. My son was in middle school. His father resided in another state. I would ask my boy in the midst of unprecedented emotional turmoil to relinquish what fragile stability remained for him: I wanted to move across the country to live closer to my parents. So much to expect of a 14-year-old, and yet, he didn't complain. We left Nebraska and relocated to North Carolina. Thus, began a decline in my already tenuous mental health that I refused to acknowledge.
As her disease progressed, I helped my father care for my mother until the two of us could no longer manage without assistance. Her final years and recent death triggered a life-altering and profound depressive episode that nearly killed me.
As I struggled to survive, I experienced a genuine epiphany.
My son was nearly finished with college. My father’s health was good. I realized I had a unique window of opportunity to break convention without adverse consequence to anyone else.
With nothing more than a vague concept of how I might succeed, I seized that opportunity. I abandoned a secure job. I sold, shredded, and shipped off twenty years' worth of stuff that I no longer wanted, and may have never needed. Essentially, I upended nearly every semblance of stability to live in a tiny, 320-square-foot home to pursue a life of travel and adventure, and better mental health. And I plan to live even smaller. Eventually. As small as a 21-foot Class B RV.
I should feel burdened by the urgency of having to devise new ways to generate income*. I don't. Having nothing left to lose is curiously liberating. So I trudge onward. Very. Slowly. I'm challenged both financially and emotionally. This new terrain is treacherous and I frequently stumble. Sometimes, it takes many long dark days before I recover. But I do. Because the prospect of successfully creating a brand new life for myself remains terribly enticing. The possibilities have sparked a nearly forgotten sense of hope. Depression and anxiety do their best to extinguish that spark; the effort to protect the dream is often discouragingly exhausting.
That hope, though. Even when it's elusive, it yields the strength of David. Though seemingly unwarranted, I'm ridiculously confident I'll find a way.
I try not to overthink. I'm truly and surprisingly content with less. I like my little place in North Carolina though, admittedly, I'm often compelled to leave. While my genuine desire to travel fuels these excursions, it's not uncommon that I'm consumed with the need to flee. But I don't know what I'm running from. Or running to.
I'll eventually find the way to my truth and healing. I intend to share the journey with you.
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