Bouncing is Hard

Wi am a writeroke up this morning with an insatiable urge to write! Haven’t felt this way in a longgg time! Thoughts are swarming like a bee hive. Thoughts about retirement, options (i.e., what to do with my time), noise, routine/ruts, relationships, etc, etc. Blog title is indicative of my minds activity this morning. But why today?

Last night I meditated for the first time in months. Two days ago I reduced one of my medications by half. cut a pllYesterday I took a very strenuous muscle building class that sucked out some of the stored fat.  Moved back home. Began taking Vitamin B12 in hopes of restoring my memory cells. Any or all of these things could have triggered this mental energy. But… why ask why? Because, all of my thoughts are connected but each idea deserves its own space.

Speaking of space…. I’m trying to find a creative space in which to work similar to when I used to write at our condo in Ocean City. When looking back at previous blogs, it’s easy to point out the ones written at the beach, because they were so fluent and more importantly…. they were interesting. Makes me want to build a “she shed”, which is one of the latest trends. It’s akin to a “man cave”, but softer, lighter, cleaner, and smells better.

But I digress and considering this mornings’ state of mind with ideas popping, I suspect I will have to continuously pull myself back from my beehive mind. I even find myself editing as I write which is a major no-no­­­­­­­ for writers.

dad deathBouncing began when Dad died and escalated with semi-retirement. Psychiatrists always consider the relationship between childhood life events and ones’ development. Since our childhoods revolve around our parents or other caregivers, it follows that losing a parent is a traumatic event. It’s also interesting that the type of relationship one has with a caregiver doesn’t matter…. their loss still affects us.

Since Dad was my rock and the last parent to “transition”, my immediate experience was a feeling of release. Because, not only was he my rock but my tether. Like a hotair balloon ride… I was able to float off into the world and wow did I float. First stop was Dubai where I taught for a year followed by a four-year sojourn in San Diego to take my dream job that turned into a nightmare which I’m finally ready to talk about in another blog.

Dubai was never a dream. Was not on my radar and I barely knew anything about it. As part of my untethering, I was looking for an opportunity to work in a country where Spanish was the primary language. So, I posted my resume on an education website, and up popped the United Arab Emirates, Ras al Khaimah (aka UAE, RAK, which is like a suburb of Dubai). So, without any other offers, and lots of encouragement from Hubby who had also recently been untethered…. off we went.

San Diego resulted from a surprising rejection. While doing volunteer work at a business development office, I learned about a paid opportunity that completely matched my background and interest. Having been told that I was a shoe-in for the job, I submitted my resume but didn’t even get a call to interview. Not that I am egotistical, but…. I know what I know and I knew I was the best candidate so I was flabbergasted when they hired someone else.

Recognizing how much I wanted that job made me realize that I was ready to work plusnew job my ego was significantly bruised. So I had to “show them” and myself that I could get an even better job. I launched on a deliberate search for what I assumed would be my last paid employment. Won’t go into the details of the job search, suffice to say that I got hired in San Diego.

Funny thing is that Hubby and I previously took two separate trips down south in search of a place to retire on/near the water; in an urban setting; with good weather year-round; walkable; purchase price below $300k; and, with a low cost of living. After two visits to the Carolinas (Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Asheville), Savannah, GA, Charlotte, and Orlando) we decided that what we wanted, did not exist and gave up our quest. Shockingly, our dream was fulfilled in San Diego… except for the part about the cost of living.

The last 4 glorious years were spent between the Washington DC area (home) and onBouncing

San Diego’s Coronado Island “where the livin’ is easy. Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high….” As I sit at our dining room table (home) amongst boxes to be unpacked from our latest bounce across country, I am reflecting on the difficulty of bouncing as one gets older. Like most of the things done in my early years… everything is more difficult now. But that’s another story.

Stay Tuned

Muckety Mucks

Aleta bio pic - standing - white backgroundSpending most of my life in DC means that I am used to being surrounded by muckety mucks. Every one is a VP of this, Director of that, Presidential Appointee, or the like. So, when having the “girls” over for brunch, I don’t think about them by their titles. They are just “the girls”. When the brunch was over and I walked them to the door, I was looking out at their parked cars, and I didn’t give any thought to the fact that each of their cars had a minimum value of $50k, and everyone’s salary was six figures, because everyone in DC is a  highly paid muckety muck.

So, when I was told that I was being “introduced” to the San Diego community at a reception in my honor, I was flabbergasted. Why, I asked, would anyone come to a reception for me? This was actually the second indication that something was different here. The first was when I wanted to reach out and have lunch with a business associate, but I was told I had to be properly introduced. What? This is California! The land of informality! Unbeknownst to me, it appears I have become an MM. Apparently they don’t have enough of them here.

So, today I am writing my MM speech, and I had my MM picture taken.

Stay tuned… I could get used to being a MM.



Lost My Rhythm

Thirteen days and I have not found
 my rhythm.
 Intellectually, I know it takes time.
 I had a rhythm
evolved over last 24 years.
Wake at 6. Protein drink at 7.
then chat with sweetie til 8.
Start working.
Moved to a new city without my sweetnin’ and
lost my rhythm.
Looking everywhere.
Looked for it at the health club.
Looked for it during a Meetup walking group.
Looked in a nightly glass of wine.
Looked for it when driving around town getting acclimated.
Today I looked for it at the pool.
They tell me to be patient.
I’ll find my rhythm
or it will find me.
Wait a minute… maybe my rhythm is my Sweetnin
and he’ll be here in 2 weeks!!

The Whirlwind

partial viewMoving three thousand miles away from home, arriving on a Saturday and beginning work two days later has got my body saying WOW.  It took three days to adjust from East Coast to West Coast time. On top of that, I didn’t realize I was walking around in a jet-lag fog until it lifted and I could see clearly again. Kinda like the person who gets their first pair of glasses and is shocked to discover how blind they had been.

Information from new job is truly coming at me like water from a fire hose. Thank goodness I had the foundational knowledge or I would be absolutely drowning. This is my fourth day and I’m just beginning to get my feet back under me. Tomorrow I’ll be standing, and next week I’ll be running like the wind 🙂

Pretty much settled in my temporary studio apartment on Coronado Island, and am very pleased with what they describe as a “partial waterview”. The complex is so nice, that if I had a 2-bedroom, I’d be permanently settled. Our lifelong dream has been to live on the water,  in a walk-around area … just didn’t know we’d have to wait this long and  travel so far to get it.

Oh well…. better late than never.

Stay tuned.

Following My Passion – Part 1 of Many

After jumping in, I remembered most people consider me short at 5’4″, and I was used to normal pools starting at 3′. Real pools and real swimmers start in 4′ of water, which means the shallow end is up to my chin. This turned out to be just one of many mistakes I made on my triathlon journey. As it turns out, the triathlon has become a metaphor for my life.

I just jumped into the deep-shallow end again. Let me explain… last year I had an “a ha” moment and decided that I was wasting my time doing things I knew how to do in my sleep. It took being fired by a client for me to realize this. This was a client who paid well and the work was right in line with my expertise. Unfortunately, she absolutely refused to follow my suggestions and consequently I was failing at completing her tasks. So, one day I decided to do it my way and had immediate success. But, successfully completing the task was not enough. It was more important to do it her way. Therefore, we parted ways. As with many things in life… it was the best thing that could have happened to me. It awakened me from a five-year sleep. I’m now wide awake, 3,000 miles away from home and beginning a new adventure… following my passion.

The Journey Begins

Off Kilter

Can’t seem to get back home. I’m home but I’m not home. I’m here but I want to be there. Tried to explain to a friend but couldn’t make it make sense. This is the second week that I’ve been home and two nights ago while sitting in the family room with my husband was the first time it felt like the home that I left ten months ago. It looks the same and kinda feels the same but it still doesn’t feel right. Or maybe it feels too right.

I am disconcerted. Can’t get my bearings. When I drive down streets that I’ve driven a thousand times, I’m just a little bit unsure if I’m going the right way. Not sure if they’ve changed something since I’ve been gone. Then I realize that everything’s actually the same. Nothing has changed and that should be comforting, but I’m still testing to make sure.

When in the UAE, I kept referring to it as the Twilight Zone, because many things were the same, but just a little bit different. The beautiful decorated cakes looked the same, but the different flour made them task different. The KFC chicken looked the same, but the oil they used made them taste different. So, maybe I’m still in the mode of testing to be sure everything is as it should be.

Then I have to remember that ten months really isn’t that long. It was long enough for them to begin work on the new subway extensions to the airport and for the grandchildren to grow a few inches, but not long enough for any real significant changes. I guess the only real change was within me. I just need to settle down and enjoy and accept the comfort of the sameness.

Stay tuned.

Was It Just A Dream?

When asked “how does it feel to be back home? “, I do an inward search for an answer, because I’m not sure. It feels good, strange, green, comfortable, ordinary… it feels the same. It is as if I woke up and discovered that I dreamed about living in the Middle East for 10 months. As I sit on the back deck watching the rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and listening to the birds…I feel like I never left.

I am disoriented. Four days ago, I was transitioning by living in a plush hotel resort on the Persian Gulf. Ten days ago, I was reciting a hip-hop poem at a graduation ceremony  in a Middle Eastern college in the small town of Ras Al Khaimah just 45 minutes from Dubai.  Now I sit on my front porch in Virginia watching my neighbors jog by.

It feels like something is missing. It feels too ordinary. Ten months ago, I was lamenting the comfortable rut that had become my life. I wore my husband out with constantly referring to our rut…our routines. The same restaurants, same activities, same, same, same. Ten months ago, I was afraid to climb out of the rut, but we did it.

 The siren song of comfortable routines beckons, and it’s keeping me off balance. Part of me longs to fall into the embrace of old patterns and old relationships. While another part of me longs for the daily freshness that comes when living in a different country/culture. I miss the surprises that appear around every corner. Living in the UAE was like a “living museum” where everyday scenes could have been a diorama.

Waiting to see which fork to take next.

Stay tuned.

Life Lessons – Make a Decision

Assess possibilities and make a decision. Used to be easy, but now… not so easy. Sometimes, I simply pass the decision on the another person, because that’s easier. I was beginning to wonder if I was losing it until I realized that what has really changed is the realization that decisions we make in the normal course of the day are usually insignificant. It doesn’t really matter where we eat lunch or which lounge chair we choose. It is true that a decision to eat in a fast food restaurant may not be the best choice or a lounge chair in the sun can cause sunburn, but I still say those choices are unimportant.

Then come the real choices. The life-changing decisions. Whether to relocate or not. To change jobs or not. To work or not. These are the category 7 decisions that alter lives. As I was teaching decision trees to my class, I was silently plotting my personal decisions on a tree. Decisions made on any of these branches will dramatically alter our equilibrium and those around us.

The good news is that we altered our lives when we decided to move to the UAE last year. So we’ve had some practice. We moved from a very comfortable home and lifestyle to very different lifestyle. One that is comfortable in many ways and uncomfortable in some… what I call Twilight Zone. But, that’s another story for another time.

Now, we must focus on our decision regarding a move. If we move, one lifestyle will die and be replaced by another. I was able to peek at one friends lifestyle during a video call. We could see Louis sitting at his kitchen table as he described his morning ride to take his grandchild to school. He has his routines and an enviable connection to his children and grandchildren. Periodically, he will talk about the possibility of moving to a less expensive area, but I don’t think he will disrupt his life.

To move or not to move…. Flip a coin… after I recover from the UAE move…. we will move again. Why? Because it felt good removing some of the rust from the pipes. Even though we were in a comfortable rut, we can always jump back into a new comfortable rut. In the meantime, we will continue to explore life.

Stay tuned.