Catching my breath after my first 57 years of life
What a wild ride it’s been so far!
“Is willing to accept that she creates her own reality except for some of the parts where she can’t help but wonder what the hell she was thinking.”
When I look back on certain parts of my first 57 years of life, I really do wonder what the hell I was thinking.
And for some parts I wonder how I came out alive.
Which makes me wonder further. . .
In the future, will I look back at this walkabout and ask myself, “What the hell?”
Or will I say, “Good going!” with no regrets.
Only time will tell, but I am guessing it will be a little bit of both.
My collage above, “A Hair Raising Walkabout,” pretty accurately depicts the first two months of my walkabout. My itinerary was tight as I busily traveled up, down and across California and Oregon by car, (all the while defying PTSD.) There were heat waves at the start of the trip and early snow storms in the last days. I drove on crazy multiple lane highways and through shockingly beautiful deserted country.
I lived as an anthropologist in other people’s houses, studying and accommodating to the ways of each household. There were family and friend reunions, and I met many new people. I did bits of art and writing along the way, but there was not much true rest or time for reflection.
I had burst out of the walkabout gate with a high energy explosive catharsis. And as right and wonderful as it was . . . it was time for it to end.
Now, I am quietly stashed away, all by myself, in a cozy cubbyhole of an apartment in a historic high-rise in the city of Portland, Oregon — until next summer.
I only know a few people here, and even those, not very well. I talk a lot on the phone with clients, friends and family, but my only in-person communication has been with shopkeepers, clerks or people in elevators. My apartment is 475 sq. ft., and it took me just a day or two to set up because I brought only the things that would fit into my car. If I need something I generally find it at Goodwill down the street — knowing I can return these things there when I leave.
My apartment is high on a hill on the fifth floor of the building – well above and looking down on the twinkling lights of Portland. This, and the close gray winter days, contributes to my sense of being set apart from humanity and cocooned. I like being anonymous and, so far, I haven’t been lonely. The stimulation of a long walk through the city makes a nice counter-balance to my isolation.
I question my contentedness and begin to suspect I am an introvert . . . or is this just a phrase?
I take the Myers Briggs Personality Test online and find I have “a moderate preference of introversion over extroversion.” So maybe it is true, but it doesn’t really matter. I am doing what feels good now.
I also conclude that I am catching my breath after the first 57 years of my life. I am in repair, taking stock, and gathering supplies for the future. This time here in Portland is a punctuation mark to my life, a slow putting on of the brakes toward an ending which will inevitably lead to a new beginning.
It’s doubtful I will live a second 57 years. I could be gone in 30 years or 10 or tomorrow. I am glad I have made it this far at least – to have the chance to live the life I have – messy as it’s been.
And with the holidays coming – this time here in Portland is icing on the cake – the gift solitude I give to myself.