Commitment Issues in Place

Continental Divide Colorado

My lease is up next month and the last thing on my mind is moving; for once.

I like this house. I really like the neighborhood and I walk everywhere. Everything I need is walking distance: groceries, restaurants, library and YMCA.   

Concord Neighborhood
My neighborhood

I want to stay.

I want to stay because while the house is too big for me if offers everything I need. I love the kitchen where I write, a living room and entryway, two entrances, several windows for the dogs to watch squirrels and bark at the mailman, two staircases, two bedrooms, two bathrooms and two sunrooms. If  I was going to stay longer than a year I would consider buying plants for the sunroom but I’m not that long-term committed – I think.  

Since moving back to NH a year ago, I still have commitment issues with place. I still need a few more things in my life to feel committed to staying in Concord. However, New Hampshire, I’m staying. The long-term question is which city since there are so many great regions: seacoast, mountains, lakes region and the south western area.

New Hampshire Regions

In the past, each move I made was about hope, change and the possibilities associated with a new place such as better job, new friends and exploring the mountains and trails of a new area.

When I moved to the Maine mountains when I was 29 I was in the older category of people moving to a resort town and living the mountain lifestyle. Most people did that right out of college. However, I was just out of college but took a different path to a college degree; taking classes off and on for 10 years while working and traveling to Europe and the West. I have always felt I was 10 years behind everyone else my age.  Additionally, not being married and not having kids probably kept me in the younger crowd.

Maine to Colorado

When I moved to Steamboat Springs, Colo. from Maine I wanted a new life in a new place but still in the mountains and living rural. I wanted a small town with access to the outdoor life. Later moving to Grand County, an even smaller rural community, I loved being surrounded by wilderness and beauty.

After living the mountain lifestyle I was ready for Tucson. I knew that I wanted something new, something I’ve never done before: to live in a big city and have a great job. Tucson and Phoenix surprised me since I didn’t realize before arriving that they were surrounded by big mountains with  amazing hiking, trail running and mountain biking. Now I had the best of both worlds: mountains and a big city.

Now, I live back in the state I grew up in and thought I knew it pretty well. Things change after 15 years and now I’m re-learning the mountains and trails that I loved so long ago.

Moving back to New Hampshire and the process of leaving Colorado and The West was a feeling, at the time, I couldn’t express and didn’t fully realize. As I drove across country I was excited to see my parents and live close to them, but I wasn’t sad and I wasn’t completely happy. It is only now that I feel the  sense of loss.  I truly miss the familiar spaces of Colorado and the self I left behind. That self – that  adventurous, always-planning-the-next-trip me who was always surrounded by mountains, wilderness and friends.

There was something about crossing the imaginary line from east to west that changed me, and I’m still trying to process what it all means. As a writer, I’m still trying to find the story, find the meaning and write about it.

I look at the photos, posters, coffee mugs and books all bought in Colorado or Arizona. I remember all the great people and good times. Nothing here seems that familiar yet and I know that it takes times.

Tucson Botanical Gardens
My mug from the Tucson Botanical Gardens.

I don’t want to be anywhere else right now. I want to be here.

I am not seeking a new place. I’m staying put.

I’m ready to get into a new routine and find new spaces that will eventually become familiar all while creating a new self that is engaged in place and welcoming the new people who show up to share their life with me.

Deal of The Week: How to reach goals

Running Ironman Lake Placid

Do you make deals with yourself? I seem to do it on a daily basis. It’s how I negotiate outcomes that I might not be able to do daily.

Today’s deal is that I need to follow my 50 mile training plan from today to Sunday. Exactly. Just miles on my feet. That’s it – easy – right? Well, not exactly. This is what the training week  looks like:

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Actual Miles Scheduled Miles
0 2 4 6 0 14 8 34 34

The deal of the week is that I just need to do it:  make it happen or drop out of the 50 Mile race in June.

I have a lot of experience of dropping out of races before and during. While it is difficult to do and I wrestle my brain and ego for hours and days, at the end of the the day I’m a realist. I have big dreams and big plans, and I believe that I can do anything I set my mind to. However,  I’m a realist and practicalist.

So here we go….. let’s get this training done, recover, figure out the vegan recovery food and get to Wachusett Mountain trail run in June.

Running Inspiration

Cheers to Planning & Executing the next goal! #run50miles

How to Be a Minimalist Vegan

Veganism

I’ve been a minimalist for the last 15 years.

I moved a lot so it made sense not to accumulate things. When I moved to Colorado from New Hampshire in 2004 everything fit in my car. I may have packed too many boxes of books for a move across the country but many of them were books about the west that inspired me to be a westerner so they had to make the trips. However, many of them didn’t make the trek back to the east coast since eventually I donated them to local libraries. 

When I lived in Steamboat Springs, Colo. I didn’t have a need for much furniture although I did have skis and a bike. I lived in apartments and houses where all I needed was a bed and a desk (always a desk for writing).  When I moved to Granby, Colo. the condo I bought was furnished so I didn’t need to buy a TV, washer/dryer, sofa or dining room table. The condo was later sold with most of its contents. Again, when I moved to Tucson very few things came with me other than books, kitchen stuff and clothes. When I moved back to Colorado even less came with me, and my collection of books could fit in one box.

Part of being a minimalist is reading books and watching DVDs from the library. I just love the Concord, NH Library. They have a huge book and DVD collection. I watch many shows and movies on Netflix. For music I have Napster for songs to run to on my iPhone. Books, CDs and DVD do not fill the spaces in my house like they used to. When people walk into my house they see uncluttered space.

I’ve been vegan for about two months now. And while I know that I will never eat meat again, eating animal by-products such as cheese and desserts that have eggs and butter in them have been the hardest to conquer; they are my cheats. I like being vegan and do it for the animals, and I do it to help reduce my carbon footprint. I’m not sure that eating vegan has made me feel any different, yet. I have lost weight and feel lighter but I don’t feel like I have more energy. 

I joined a Facebook group called Minimalist Zero-waste Vegans because that is what I’m striving for in my life – all three aspects. I know I’m not perfect at it but I work at it. I really like the idea of repurposing clothes and all the different ways to live more simply.

Here are some websites I like:

https://storyofstuff.org/

http://www.becomingminimalist.com/

https://www.goingzerowaste.com/

http://everydaymin.wpengine.com/?p=3041

Running Five Days in a Row

As a test, I decided this week that I would run five days in a row. My friend Mark out in Houston is also testing himself, also running five days in a row. However, he is running 10 miles each day; I didn’t have a set number each day.

Saturday, today, I woke up a little sore but not much. Mark is glad the test is over.

The idea is to set my mind on little goals I could tackle each day to prove I could do it. Next week I will try to run five miles every day for five days.

To stay motivated I incorporate a strategy called Baby Steps, stolen from the acclaimed movie, What About Bob:

Such a great movie and a great principle;  remember to look at what is right in front of you instead of tomorrow or a week from now. It really helps to settle the mind. Just run the five miles each day. 

With that thought I’m off to walk the dogs on this beautiful Saturday morning in Concord. The sun is trying to break through the clouds; this day is a gift.

Christmas Party in February, Reflecting on Friendship

Love & Light

This past weekend I attended a Yankee Swap Christmas Party with my friend Jeff. This group of friends have know each other for almost 30 years. To me, that is simply amazing. While I have friends I’ve stayed in touch with for about 25 years, we don’t see each other regularly much less have an annual gathering. The party was delayed from December so that everyone could attend. I love that – the day was changed several times to allow all (about 40) people to come.  

Jeff and I have been friends since around 1995 when we worked together at an insurance company in Portsmouth, NH. He’s visited me in all the places I’ve lived: Bethel, Maine, Killington, Vermont, Granby, Colorado and Tucson, Arizona.

The invitation to the party came through text: “Would you be up for a scary group gathering for a few hours, meet new people?”

Ha! Attend an event with a group of people I don’t know. OMG. The invitation made me laugh and since I’m trying to do things that force me to break out of my comfort zone I replied, “Oh sure I need to have new experiences.”

The night was very fun and Jeff’s friends are pretty awesome. Everyone was very friendly. Doing what introverts do, Jeff and I sat on the sofa and played cribbage. I almost won. I rarely win against Jeff, however I was 5 points from the win when he came from behind with a great hand. 

The especially fun part of the night was the Yankee Swap. I drew #21 – a good number to pick a gift I really liked. My gift was a beautiful, heavy blanket. I loved it and kept it. But a few numbers later I lost it to a bag of gifts that contained a Love pillow, candle and lottery ticket.

I left before the food came and headed home to beat a snow storm. I got home and thought about the evening and my gift.

Here’s what I think:

I really enjoy hanging out with people my age.

I think the evening was very symbolic especially at a time in my life where I’m more reflective than normal. I’m writing more than ever, and once again, trying to figure out how all the pieces of my life fit: career, relationships, travel, adventure, faith.

I am so thankful for the friends in my life who show up, call, text, email and invite me on adventures. I’m especially thankful for my parents. 

The Yankee Swap gift was symbolic:

  • The LOVE pillow: I need more love in my life. I need to give love and be more open to love.
  • The candle: I need more light in my life – give light, be the light.
  • The (losing) Lottery Ticket: I don’t need more money or things. Having enough money is good but I have what I need.

Travel Light, Be the Light