Six years ago today, I arrived in Colorado, having made my exit from Hotel California with my Muttley Crew — Lily, Dusty, and Mindy.
Exit is more straight-forward than arrival, especially when it’s irrevocable and the result of a decision driven by necessity. Arrival is a little more complicated. Sometime this past year, I fully arrived in Colorado psychically. You don’t abandon 30 years of your life in an instant. I think I arrived when I was doing my reading from As a Baby Duck Listens to Thunder at the Narrow Gauge Book Coop last October.
Life is a strange thing. You can be going along and everything is fine. Things get a little rocky, so you make hundreds of small adjustments and you keep on. Then something happens that nullifies all the small adjustments, and you are suddenly in the midst of a major life change.
I was propelled out of my (happy) life in a truly desperate moment. I lost my main job due to some Machievellian machinations by the college of business in which I taught. The income I needed to hold my life together wasn’t just threatened; it was gone. Not just mine; but three other teachers with contracts were upgefucht, but they were not sole-providers. They were married to someone who was employed. A little different situation.
I remember my first thought was to attempt a continuation of small-adjustments to keep the life going, but then it was clear, “This party’s over, sweet cheeks.” All of my attention then went to making the huge change as quickly as possible.
So there I was, September 20, 2014, rolling into the parking lot of the Spruce Lodge in South Fork, Colorado, where I’d rented a cabin for at least a month. I called it “My Giant Dog Crate in the Mountains” because, well, three pretty big dogs took up most of the living room.
It was nice, the perfect place for us to land. Not home, not not home. I began the process of living in Colorado, in a place I didn’t know, where everyone was a stranger. I’m a Colorado native, but it was impossible for me to afford a home in any of the places I’d lived before. Necessity drove me to Heaven. ❤
I’d thought this morning that I would write about independence. I recently read a meme that said that extreme independence was the result of trauma. It listed a bunch of causes, life events, that make a person turn to themselves instead of others. There were six on the list and four of them happened in my life, a couple more than once. Those that applied to me were abandonment/loss, abuse, experiencing a natural disaster and witnessing death. The meme led to an article in Psychology Today. I read it. It said that such a person had lost the ability to trust and needed to work to rebuild that.
My first thought was, “Why?” Isn’t it acquired knowledge that — for an example — a huge wildfire can come and threaten (or succeed) to wipe out your town, your house, your LIFE? Or that someone can say they love you and beat you up? That your nearest and dearest parent can suffer a terminal disease and die? Life is a pretty long litany of stuff that doesn’t pan out. What is the big deal with trust in an untrustworthy world? Does it make a person happier?
I wondered why independence is considered a pathology. Not long ago a friend said, “You’re extremely independent.” I asked her why she thought so, and she said, “You moved here all by yourself and you didn’t even know anyone.” I remembered my students telling me I wasn’t like other teachers. OK, but what are OTHER people like? How did other teachers teach? I have no idea. But, when sold my house and packed my stuff to move here, I heard all time time. “You’re so independent. I could never do what you’re doing.”
Friends thought I was embarking on a great adventure, like one of the early explorers setting out for unknown places across wild and mysterious oceans. They talked me into writing a blog about my “adventure.” “Adventure?” I was doing what I had to do.
So, I don’t know. Maybe I am extremely independent, but I still don’t get why that’s a bad thing.