I thought some might be curious how I’m doing after 8 months in a very small town in southern Colorado. I have lived and worked in cities all of my life.
Moving here has been a shock to my city-heart. For months after we moved here I would go out to get in my car and think, “Where the hell am I?”
Here most have little money, there is no crowding, almost no traffic, and no rush to do much of anything. In other words, it is absolutely diametrically opposed to Fort Collins, the city we moved from last June. I had no idea exactly how metro-fied I had become until the culture shock of Walsenburg set in!
I still find myself preparing for the onslaught when I go out to do errands, only to find no lines, no rush, and no problem, unless of course you are searching for a national chain like Home Depot or Chili’s.
This change in lifestyle has taken me some time to adjust to. In fact it has taken me this long to decide how I feel about moving here.
Along with this relaxed atmosphere comes a large dose of conservative thinking. Strangers are seen as, well, strange around here. I don’t know how many times the waitress at the local greasy spoon has asked us where we’re from. We just keep answering HERE!
Churches are one of the main ways newcomers make friends here, and since we do not partake, we have found it to be a slow go making new friends.
And believe me, I have tried!
I finally asked a friendly local what the deal is. She informed me that so many newcomers come here and then leave fairly quickly. Perhaps everyone is just waiting to see if we last. Seeing as we just invested our life savings in a new solar homehere and we have nowhere else to go, I’m fairly certain we are staying!
The natural beauty of this area astounds me daily. I find it strangely reassuring that there are still places like this left in America.
Up on our land in the foothills, immersed in so much natural beauty and silence, I feel it is a privilege to be able to retire in this place.
So far I love the slow, peaceful change in lifestyle, I just need to work out a few more details…
I can remember back when I used to complain about the sameness of each day and every week of my life.
It seemed like I knew ahead of time where I would be every hour of the week, whether at work, at home or on I-25 commuting eight hours per week to Denver.
I needed something different!
After I got divorced and then lost my job, things became highly unpredictable, but in a good way! The biggest surprise of my entire life was the day I met Mike ten years ago. Sure I was meeting men through Match.com, but did I really expect to meet the best man for me at just the right time? No!
After I made the tough decision to move in with Mike and sell my house, I began to focus on my next big change, a new career that I could love.
Trust me, launching yourself as a writer at age 50 is sure to bring some variety into your life, and quite a bit of rejection too…
Oh well, we all have to start somewhere!
I found freelancing for magazines hopeless at a time when so many were going out of business because of the Internet. Besides I wanted to write about midlife psychology and change, not what every editor in the world found lucrative! That’s why I found blogging fascinating when I first learned about it back in 2007.
I must say, blogging set me free and has also been “very, very good to me.” But last year Mike and I came up with a whole new way to add some real variety to our lives. We sold our perfectly nice home in suburbia so we could build a passive solar home in the foothills of southern Colorado!
We are now in mid-build and I can assure you, if you’re having a home built you wake up everyday wondering “What’s next?” If it isn’t the windows it’s the garage door, and what do we need to pick up at Home Depot today? But somehow, I find the unpredictability refreshing.
Sure we don’t know when we’ll have a new home. In fact, I still have trouble believing we will ever actually begin living up there in my idea of paradise. But I like the variety and challenge of creating a new reality from scratch all the same!
How do I know? That’s exactly how I lost my last job!
I had a bad boss who had been gunning for me from day one, when I stood up to him about a reference assignment. Back then he was the same status as I. He waited until he was mistakenly made head of reference and pounced, using trumped up charges to can me.
In the meantime I had had the audacity to stand up to him in faculty meetings and disagree with him. This was also not allowed. He liked his females meek and mild, with no self-confidence.
Here’s another line from that article that spoke to me: “…research shows, women who worry that talking “too much” will cause them to be disliked are not paranoid; they are often right.” In my situation I often thought I was being paranoid. This guy wasn’t really out to get me, was he? But I was wrong.
My final conclusion about that whole job situation? Listen to your inner wisdom:
Just because you think you may be paranoid doesn’t mean you aren’t right!
That’s OK, my life is 1,000 percent better since I lost that loser…
Losing that job gave me the freedom to find myself.
Quite by chance, I discovered a great new way to clarify my feelings and clear my mind yesterday. I’m excited about this!
I was ruminating with uncertainty about how to deal with a recent friend situation, wondering if I was being too sensitive to everything and everybody in my life, something I can tend to do, when I suddenly realized I could simplify all these words in my head by choosing just one word to describe my feelings for each person or situation.
Think of it like those psychiatrist’s tests where they say red and you immediately say blue. Don’t think about it, just blurt out whatever immediately comes to mind.
For example, I quickly identified my feelings towards this new friend by saying her name and then I said, “snubbed.” It was so simple and yet true.
Then I tried it with other relationships and even difficult situations I have experienced lately. For someone who is basically too analytical and wordy, this really works!
Take away all the drama and rationalizing and say it like it is. Once I can honestly see how a situation feels to me, I can more easily decide what’s next.
I also saw much more clearly why I am too sensitive to every group dynamic.
This was my survival mechanism as a child. This is exactly how sensitive I had to be to negotiate my environment as a kid, but this same behavior does not serve me as an adult. It causes confusion, and complicates my decision-making process.
Finally I started listing every person and situation I am facing now, and I was surprised how easy it was to use only one word to summarize the phenomena. I found the whole process quite revealing!