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!