Midlife Event – Step 1

Okay let’s start at the very beginning…..a very good place to start….sorry about that, it just happens naturally in my brain. And since my blog is basically an outpouring of my brain, this is what you get folks.

So Step 1 is Discovery.

I recently stumbled upon a poem:

The Summer Day

Mary Oliver

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean- the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down- who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

That last sentence “what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?“…well???? The answer? I have no idea. But knowing where I am, knowing I am potentially 1/3 of the way through this journey and hoping that the next 30 years are going to be absolutely the most amazing years of this journey – I am starting to realize that something has to happen. Something big, something amazing, something wonderful and challenging and unique and just…..more. It has to be more.

Don’t misunderstand, I have no qualms about what I have done thus far in my life. I am not like ‘holy crap! I am wasting my life’. I have done so many wonderful and amazing things. So many unexpected adventures and opportunities. I am soooo grateful for it all.

Right now I am exactly where I wanted to be at this point in my life. Right here. But I definitely don’t want to stay here. Sitting still now would be such a failure to what I have done thus far. I peaked at 29? That can not be.

So Discovery. Discovery of what I want out of the next 30 years of my life. As I said, I have no idea. But I am determined to figure it out. As I said, I caught my first big wave yesterday. I met with the Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer. He was fantastic for being willing to sit down with me. Our 45 minute conversation involved me chicken scratching as fast as I could. But it basically all boils down to this: there are three paths. Administration, Architecture and Consulting/Outreach.

The good news is, I think I have eliminated the administration route. Do I want to be involved in the approval of grant funding? I don’t think so. Maybe in my last 30 years that would be the way to go. When I have been able to get my hands on some buildings for a good while, I might change my mind about that route, but for now, I think I know I want to stick with architecture.

Afterall, that was my first love. He gave me some names of people and basically said I was doing the exact right thing to do. Go around talk to everyone, get to know what they do, who they are, etc. Take the leads they give me of people to contact and just work my way around until I figure it all out. So step 1 was this first contact. Step 2 will be to contact everyone else and set-up meetings.

Just through these first few weeks of tackling these new feelings, I have really found happiness. I am excited again. Just the prospect of “I am going to get somewhere amazing eventually”, is making me so happy and excited to be alive.

I don’t think I ever said this, but Andy and I are again back to the Africa track. We are going. And I am not just talking about the 30.30.10 trip, I am talking about moving. We are moving there. Maybe not as soon as I might think…..because in my mind we are headed there May 30, 2014. Right after Andy accepts his diploma and walks off the stage (the theoretically stage, he has no intention of walking) I am picturing us walking onto a plane and heading to South Africa…..yeahh. So my ideas might be a bit lofty.

But what is that saying? Shoot for the moon, if you miss, at least you will be amongst the stars.

After my meeting with the DSHPO, I decided I should be investigating on all fronts. I had previously started looking at firms in S.A. (ZA on all their designations, which I thinks kicks ass, it is like BAM, we’re ZZZzzouth Africa bitches and we’re awesome!) and into possible preservation (called Heritage there) entities. Additionally I have looked into immigration/visa/naturalization websites to try to get an idea of the process. I have found a LOT, but I also haven’t stumbled onto that one idyllic site that just says “how to move your life to south africa in 8 easy steps”. Maybe someday I will make millions of dollars creating that website.

The temp intern (the dude sitting in for the dude in China) and I have had some sweet conversations. He wants to convince his wife to move to France. So we have bantered back and forth on our ideas, when we want to get there, etc. Well today that fucker said something genius ‘have you checked out your alumni website for people who live in South Africa?’. Um why the fuck didn’t I think of that? Deerrrrrrrr.

Two seconds later I am composing an e-mail to the only contact listed, a 1971 graduate, saying ‘if you aren’t dead yet, would you mind me sending you several 8,000 word e-mails asking you tons of shit about South Africa?’. So I think we have figured out Steps 2 and 3. I am attacking this Midlife Crisis like I attacked the egg that conceived Jack, it is time to firebomb this bitch!

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4 thoughts on “Midlife Event – Step 1

  1. WOWZA! I gotta beleive anyone who can go from “I need more” to such a sensible and concrete starting point is capable of making anything happen. Who knows how things will develop and where you’ll end up, but you are sure right about the importance of shooting for the moon!

  2. Thank you for commenting on my blog today, i didn’t know you had lost your mom too. I’m sorry for your loss and I hope you enjoyed your mother’s day. Africa sounds like an amazing move!! You are waaaay braver than I!

    • Hey lady. I was commenting to Oak that the three of us could start up a club. Mother’s day definitely sucks a bit. It is better than it used to be, but still a little sucky.

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