Re-entry ~ Returning to Life with a Calming Perspective
It felt like life was on eternal HOLD only without the HOLD music.
It is challenging to look within ourselves and to analyze the why. Why was I only existing? What was holding me back? What was the real fear?
During the first part of Covid, life paused, at least for humans. But my story happens fifteen years before Covid. For fifteen years, I felt like I was only existing. Each day, the goal was to get through it and to maintain the status quo. Fear was keeping me on hold, stopping me from moving forward. I felt frustrated, often angry (mostly at myself) that here I was in my mid-forties, even fifties, and life was passing by, and I was letting it.
I knew the event, the cause, the start of when life went on hold. I also knew enough to know that it would take a while to process the emotions and the stress from the event ~ but fifteen years! That should have been unacceptable.
I am a firm believer everything happens for a reason. I also believe we don’t always understand, or even know the reason, often until later.
Long story short
My husband and I had a small business for almost thirteen years. It took us thirteen years to build, thirteen years to establish it, but it took a crooked banker only a few short months to destroy our life’s work. In the process, we lost everything.
Some may ask, why didn’t you start over? Financially, even emotionally, it would not have been that easy. Sometimes, after something tragic, you do not have it in you to start over. I looked at this as a door closing. Only, where was the door that was supposed to open?
We moved to a small town on an island, hoping to recover and start again. And for a few years, we did, but the 2008 crash took us down once again. Tired, worn out, we just stopped trying and managed to hang on day by day.
Slowly, doors started to open, yet the fear still held me back. The first door to crack open introduced us to a woman, who entered our life, and soon became an integral part of our family.
Behind the second door, I found a job that provided a steady income. It was a stressful job, with a stressful boss, combining with the emotional baggage that had been building for years heavily weighing me down. However, it took some of the financial struggles off my shoulders.
The third door, the most unexpected and oddest door, believe it or not, was Covid. I felt like much of what we had gone through the past years had somehow prepared us for Covid lockdown. Living quietly, having to stay home, minimizing; these were all things we had been doing up to that point. Despite the chaos, the uncertainty, and the unknown fear of Covid, the gentle quietness during lockdown brought a resurgence of life, not just within me but also with the earth. It gave us a chance to stop, slow down, and evaluate the meaning of life and its value. It was reminding me why life was so beautiful.
But so many wanted life to return to “normal”, which reminded me of the TV commercial for Mervyns’, “Open. Open. Open.” But opening up brought back the stress and the chaos we all think of as life. I was tired, both physically and emotionally. The Covid door gave me a peek of what life could be like; quiet, healthy, peaceful, slower. At my age, and after fifteen years of just “existing”, I was ready to live again, only this time I wanted to do it on my terms and with more oomph. The only problem ~ the fear was still there, hidden in the background.
I now knew what the fear was. It was related to trust. What if we lost it all again? I was still afraid to move forward, afraid someone or something would take it all away again, just like the bad banker. Now that I knew what the fear was, could I face it? There was also one more piece of the puzzle that held that fear in check, a looming cloud that could any moment devour us, knocking us back down to nothing. I had put it on hold, never really ready to deal with it. It was a piece I hoped would go away that I would never have to deal with it, but its time was coming and sooner than I realized.
Everything happens for a reason, and the reason was starting to show itself: all good things come to those who wait. Our friend lived a long and wonderful life, she passed peacefully before her 96th birthday, and right before Covid lockdown, she had included us in her estate. Once her estate settled, she left us a small token of her affection out of her concern for our future, providing us with the opportunity to completely open the door and get back to life once again.
With all that we learned from Covid and through her love and caring, we decided life was getting too short, going by too fast, and it was time to kick fear in the face and stop hiding in its shadow. We were able to settle the last piece of the puzzle, clearing it from our minds and our future. We jumped on the opportunity to take our life back into our hands and hit the road — literally. We faced our fears with a swift kick and found our future home in a 2018 Airstream we named after her — Betty Jo (the Airstream.) Now she is with us every day and part of our dreams on the road.
We learned many lessons during our fifteen years of existence and our time during Covid lockdown. Life is never simple or easy. It takes us down roads leading us sometimes astray and sometimes on the path that takes us to the next adventure in life. We only need to listen, to watch, and sometimes wait.
Life has changed so much in the last fifteen years, especially since Covid. Yet, it is never too late to find what it means to live in the moment, not the past, not the future.
We can finally trust that no matter what happens it will be an adventure of a lifetime.
Dedicated to Betty…with gratitude and love.
Previous article, “The Quiet Stillness during Quarantine.”