Nothing like a deadline to add a little pressure!
Can I get a drumroll? I do have some pretty big news! I have given my notice at work. I have worked at this company for 16 years as of February 14. I have served in numerous capacities. I served a year in customer support, was promoted to Director of Operations, then I was tasked with setting up a sales process and department. Eventually, about 8 years ago I was promoted to Executive Director. It’s been a challenging career with a lot of growth opportunity, and have had many rewarding long-term working relationships.Due to my position, I opted to provide our Board with 6 months notice. The target for my official last day is July 30.
I oscillate between feeling relaxed, calm, confident, to OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE! It can feel overwhelming. I just try and remind myself, I will cross each bridge when I come to it and make the best decisions I can. That’s all we are ever doing, right?
At the same time, I do not want to understate this is a major life revision. We will be at empty nest, I am leaving my career, and moving from our home, all presumably this year! Whether we want it to be to or not, a lot of our self worth is wrapped around things we think define us. Changing that definition does take some mental preparation and trying to create new touchstones that provide purpose. I remind myself, I will always be a parent even if it’s a different capacity. I will still be running businesses, just assuming more risk. I am still a wife, and do look forward to growing our marriage. I will still be a friend. I do not need to fear free time but to instead use the energy to become creative with it. New routines, sites, hobbies, priorities, views, and challenges.
Most of the time I feel very ready and welcoming to the change. But, a deadline creates a realness to this goal that increases my feelings of being a bit panicked or overwhelmed. One day at a time, sister.
In the meantime, here are some great questions I get…over and over and over.
“What if you sell your house and quit your job and you don’t like this new lifestyle?”
Simple, I will do something different. There is no reason to regret leaving my job or my house. I can get a different job, or a different house. It’s interesting that many people look at this as risk of failure. I don’t see it that way, I see that I am going to go on an experience that I have always wanted to do – to travel and be free. If it’s not for me, then it may lead me to the next thing that is. I get that security means different things to different people, and comfort zones are both a blessing and a curse.
I generally feel that the first half of my life I have been doing all the talking. Meaning, I have been making plans and setting my own direction. I think this next chapter is about listening. Being still and slowing down enough to listen and let life tell me a little bit. I don’t believe that listening is passive – it’s active – but it’s active in the opposite way that we typically try and control our traditional life. I am hoping to hear what my soul or our higher power wants to pick out for me. I want to take in the different locations we travel and allow those things to change me and to resonate. I want to be creative rather than be told what my life should be, or to allow fear to dictate how I spend the rest of my years. I am trading my things and security for experiences. Exciting, yes. But also uncomfortable.
Logistically though, I would still want to sell my house. It’s too big for empty nesters. And, it was time to leave my job and find new challenges. So, if this is just a break for a year or two, then that’s still worth while and I feel overwhelmingly blessed to have that as an option.
“How do you feel about spending so much time with your husband?”
I understand this question, but I spend most of my free time with my husband already. Yes, we have a little more room to escape each other now, and we can’t take some of our friends or hobbies on the road with us. However, we plan to travel where weather is nice so we can get outdoors a lot more. We do have our businesses to run and at least when we initially leave my husband is keeping his job. His position is already remote. I may decide to work some, I can go out for walks or runs, and if COVID has taught us anything, you can have a zoom girls night and still have fun.
We have gone out a little in the RV, and I will say that the hitching, backing up, setting up, preparing to leave requires a lot of teamwork and communication. I think that’s a good thing for any marriage to practice those skills. Otherwise, we also just have an easy going relationship and I don’t foresee too much of an issue there. And, think of the endless dates we can go on as we explore the country and see so many new things together. This is just something I don’t worry about, we will just have to dance our way through.
“How will you get your mail”
Ha! I find that people ask the deeper questions and it quickly turns logistical. There are mail forwarding services and also we can use my sons address at times if needed. It will be harder to order online, but at the same time there isn’t much space to be adding a lot of things like when we lived in our traditional home. Most of our bills and such are already online, but many of those are going away. On the road, we will have our insurance, gas, camping site fees, food, medical. We have someone who manages the business accounts and payments.
We do need to declare a residency so we are looking at Texas, Florida, and South Dakota as our prime options. South Dakota is most appealing to us in many ways due to no state tax, low property tax, no vehicle inspections, and you only have to stay one night there every 5 years.
“How do you feel leaving your son”
Our older daughters are both grown and married, so that doesn’t create as many questions. Our son will be 18 in April and is already planning to move 3 hours away to go to college. He is a very responsible kid that tends to make good decisions. He has a good support system in that town, which is better than a lot of college students. Our oldest daughter and son-in-law live there, as well as my sister and my parents. His housing is owned by us so we do not need to worry about moving him around. We are pleased that between his scholarships and our house hacking set up that we have most if not all his expenses covered.
So, on the surface, I feel okay about it. We will fly him out to see us in places he wants to visit on his breaks. I know I will experience the grieving we all feel as each child leaves us, but I try and focus on being excited for him and his new life. I know he’s happy about it and that makes it a lot easier. But, in this way, we are really experiencing something that most parents go through.
“How long are you going to travel in the RV Full-Time?”
No idea. We have committed to a year because of the financial investment and knowing that there may be some adjustment period. I do not think that we know how we will feel about it until we do it. If we love it, and our financial plans have worked out, it could be for years.
We also do not know where we are going first. We want to travel in the best climates possible (hitting as much 70 degree weather as possible). So, it depends on when our business here is wrapped up. If the house sells quickly we may have some time before we would head south. We imagine we will spend next winter in Florida, meandering over to Texas, and then maybe be in California by early spring.
Okay, enough California dreamin’, there is a lot of work to do!