Neighbourly inspiration

Monday, June 26, 2017

I talk to our neighbour A at most once a year. We're both hermits and dread small talk so we attend street social functions sparingly, but when I see her we somehow end up musing for hours on career, family, and life.

This weekend, A organized a street garage sale. The hub and I put out an array of used kid sports equipment, towers of books and dvds, and piles of clothing. Because business was slow, I abandoned the hub and walked across the street to chat with A and admire her yard full of housewares and furniture. We got so involved that I made 4 trips over during the day.

And what did I learn? That my friend's burgeoning publishing business had recently taken off - their latest book was reviewed by the NYT and is flying off the proverbial shelf. That her only child is leaving for college in a month and she was starting to contemplate a future finally untethered to her ex-hub, and free to satisfy her wanderlust. And her incredibly bravely irresponsible decision to leave her faculty position and devote herself to writing and publishing.

She told me that she was supporting herself in part by re-selling on ebay since publishing proceeds had been unreliable. She told me of researching cities to which she may relocate, and of thinking of staying at each place for a few months before moving on. A life as an itinerant writer - how romantic! I told her how inspiring her life is, how courageous, frightening, and thrilling I imagined it to be.

And all this got me thinking about what to do with the rest of my life - are there any brave, thrilling things that I want to do? We will have an empty nest next year, and it's a little exciting to think about not having to be "Mom" full-time any more, and to have the luxury of having my own dreams again.

Oh, and our yard sale was a total fail. We managed to sell one rusted bike. But the daughter bought a vintage leather bag from A so we ended up spending twice what we took in. Still, we gave away two sets of kid skis to a neighbour, and bags of books to half a dozen people. One was an inner-city teacher, and I was so happy that she could use our books. And we donated many bags of clothes, more books and sports equipment to a worthy charity. I feel a little lighter and more carefree already!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You have a good attitude about the empty nest! You're such a conscientious mother that I was sort of expecting you to say that you'll miss having your children around and having all those motherly things to attend to, like overseeing homework or hosting sleepovers, but I am proud of you for being a little what you and I might formerly have called "selfish" in looking forward to doing exactly what you want to do! Let's admit it--an empty nest is a relatively worry-free zone, or, to put it another way, what you don't know won't hurt you.

    Well, actually, I still have my daughter Kana living at home, but I've stopped paying much attention to her, and THAT is making both of us happier. I know she'll be gone someday, but I don't dread it at all and am in fact going to enjoy the freedom.

    I admire your neighbor! I can't think of anything more grownup than doing what she has done, starting with becoming a single mother and continuing on through being an itinerant writer. A happy life, though not without difficulties, I'm sure.

    Glad your yard sale helped you de-clutter. Don't you love saying goodbye to things you'll never need again? I did that yesterday at my father-in-law's house, where we had stored some boxes of stuff from long ago that made me think, "Why the heck do I still have THIS after all these years?" It felt good to clean up.
    1380 days ago
    Wow! You have an inspiring neighbor! Even the part about supporting herself by reselling on eBay is amazing. Always gets me how some people's lives and plans just seem to fall into place while others (me) still don't know what they want to be when they grow up.
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    Yard sales, these days, are mostly a waste of time, but glad you were able to declutter anyway and give your stuff away. After all, that's what it's all about, lightening the load.

    Happy Monday!
    1386 days ago
    Your neighbours plans are my ideal life, what an adventure! It's wonderful to dream, and wonderful to know you're entering a new phase where you can begin to chase your own dreams again. Set your sails! emoticon
    1386 days ago
    Good to contemplate life and think about the direction of yours!
    1386 days ago
    The greatest wealth is health.
    - Virgil
    1386 days ago
    I often wonder what life has in store for me--one just never knows.
    1386 days ago
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