Posts Tagged ‘community’

“Moving On” by CIndy

We went to what I think will be our last infertility support group this week. We were the only people there not currently living the infertility lifestyle, and hearing everyone’s stories kind of reopened the trauma for us a bit. We realized that we need a different kind of group now, one filled with people who are no longer charting their cycles and hoping for success. We need to find people who understand that letting go of the quest is OK, and that we are in a different stage of grief. We are trying to move on, and that means that we have to accept defeat in this journey and find the next path. People still on the quest don’t really want to hear about that because it is so scary. I understand that.

We have made progress towards finding hope again. A couple of weeks ago, we were driving back into the city from the farm, and with the sun warming us through the bug-splattered windshield, we came to a decision that felt right. It is time for us to leave the city and start making steps to achieve our other dreams, whatever they may be. The specificity of the dreams is not quite clear, but we know that they are not in Calgary, and we are not city folk, so it is time to move on. We decided to sell the house, spend the summer at our friends’ farm, and then move on from there. The plan is to pack up all our stuff and pay someone to take it to Ontario for us while we drive across the country together.

I love the symbolism of the plan. We get to leave all our baggage behind and set off together for new adventures. It feels right.

We have a freedom that most people don’t have. We can sell most of our stuff and do almost anything. We have savings and expect to get a good sum for the house, so we have the financial freedom to do any number of things. In some ways, this is supremely liberating, and in other ways, the possibilities are so endless that making a choice seems impossible. I never thought I could feel crushed by opportunities, but that is how I feel some days.

My itchy feet are making themselves known, and yet, we both still have an urge to set down roots somewhere and plant our food forest (we used to say “orchard”, but we realized that wasn’t entirely accurate). Within a few months, we could be anywhere in the world. Think about that. If you could do anything or be anywhere, what would you do?

One thing I do know is that I am pretty much done with this whole 5-day work week thing. As much as I have loved my job(s) over the past 2.5 years and the people I have worked with, I am not a rat race kind of girl. I want lots of free time. I could retire now, at 37, and quite happily find lots of ways to fill my time.

Before the opportunity to move to Duncan came up (almost 5 years ago!), John and I had the idea to start a blog called “Where Should We Live”. We wrote out our criteria, designed the “About Us” page, and were ready to launch. We thought we could ask people across the country to suggest communities for us to check out and we would travel to each place, work there for a few weeks and blog about our journey. One of our questions at that time was “how do people choose where to live?” The people closest to us live all over the place, so we asked around. What we found out is that most people chose where to live based on their work.

Now that we have tried that approach for a couple of years, we know that is not the way for us. Our environment is so much more important to us that we would both rather work less intellectually stimulating jobs in order to live in the place we want. The only unfortunate thing is that we both crave community, and since all our closest friends and family are all over the place, there isn’t a concentration anywhere that tells us that is the place for our food forest.

So, here is the plan, such as it is:

  • Sell house, pack up stuff
  • Spend season at friends’ farm, helping out and enjoying nature (it is so beautiful there, it is like living in a painting, plus we really like those guys)
  • Drive across the country to Ontario, with some sightseeing and stops along the way
  • Try out a community, perhaps buy an income property

And that is where the plan fades into possibilities. We are considering doing the international housesitting thing or WWOOFing and traveling the world. We can do that. Or maybe we will find a great piece of land and start homesteading. Maybe we will decide to try out some other communities because that first one doesn’t work.

The amazing thing is that we are OK with the uncertainty of our future right now. We get excited talking about possibilities and freeing ourselves from the day-to-day slog of city living.

(as an aside, I know that many people feel stimulated and love living in the city. This is a good thing. If you love it, then I am happy you are in the right place. If you hate it, but keep doing it, are you sure that you don’t have a choice?)

One of the things that we realized was that staying in the city was making a fear-based decision. Fear that we wouldn’t find jobs where we go; fear that we might miss out on making more money from the house; fear of leaving people we love behind; fear of judgment. The decision to leave was based on pursuing joy. When we realized that difference, suddenly the decision was clear. Why let fear rule us when the other choice is to pursue joy? What were we thinking?

I hate flying. I wish I loved it. My anxiety while flying is very high and I have to use breathing techniques (and, if I’m being perfectly honest, alcohol) to try and regulate my blood pressure. That being said, I love going places, so I force myself to get on that plane. I don’t let fear make my decision there, so why would I let it tell me what to do in other areas of my life?

In quiet moments, I ask myself, are we trying to run away from grief? Maybe a little. But we know that the grief will come with us. There will always be moments when we are reminded of our loss and tears will come. We will have bad days. The nature of this grief is that it will always be with us. We need to learn to live with it without letting it define us, so that means moving forward.

The name of this blog, veggiesanddirt, came up because we were learning about growing food (and I was learning to let my hands get a little dirty). Our journey to the city meant a change in focus, but we continued to learn about permaculture and plan our future gardens. Now, as we work to leave the infertile lifestyle behind, the name symbolizes a return to a more fertile lifestyle, and that feels right.

Let the adventures begin.