I woke up afraid this morning. In my bed. In my apartment. What if I hear something while sleeping alone in my camper, and it’s dark? I won’t be able to just drive away if I’m plugged into the electric and water in a campsite. What would I do? Will I buy a gun? A Tazer? Bear repellent? Wasp and hornet repellent? A Louisville Slugger?
Well, I don’t expect to do too much boon docking (camping in roadside rest areas, Wal-Mart parking lots etc., boon docking is camping off the beaten path, away from campgrounds) and I hope to have an alarm system with a panic button on my key-fob clicker. Then there’s always the hammer and the hatchet…
And while I will be meeting up and camping with groups from my RV clubs, I also intend to spend a lot of time alone. I see this year as a time to get reacquainted with me, my authentic self. Not the mom, or Grammie, or teacher, lover or friend, but the essence of who I am and what I love about me. Me, Myself, I--it’s always been an uneasy relationship. Maybe it’s just the price I’ve paid for the childhood that I had, but I have spent so much of my life in service to others, racing around and trying to be a good parent, a good sibling, friend, or lover—I have repeatedly become lost in relationships. Overly involved in other people’s lives and agendas, I was just lost. Maybe on this trip I could drive off the map and be found. Life on the road is also a great and useful metaphor for me.
When I grew up, the expectation was for me to be a wife and raise a family. Check. And once Tom was in school, I’d go back to work. Check. Although that happened when I left Senior, still, it was the beginnings of my work-life. All pre-destined, pre-ordained. But this retirement life? I have no model for this, any more than I had a model for raising a child alone with a driver’s license as my only credential.
Thank God I met Gran Boylan, and heard her stories, I latched onto her as my hero, and knew that what I was attempting could be done. She survived and thrived in a foreign country with three kids and no husband!
So, to be retired from my work life—other than growing old, quite possibly getting sick, needing care, and kicking the bucket—what am I looking forward to now?
Those are society’s expectations for old women. It’s what I’ve seen around as a model for how this next few years will roll out. Yeah. No. Not so much. There has to be more to life than this.