Sunday, August 11, 2013

Discovering Treasure Island

  Several months ago, Big B and I decided to try out the boat he had spent the past year refurbishing. We headed to a nearby lake. Except there was a small problem. A South Texas drought problem. We arrive at lake number 1 and realize we could not get the boat into the lake-turned-puddle. Then lake number 2..same problem. This had turned into a quest. A scavenger hunt of sorts. A few phone calls were made and we heard a rumor of a lake that we could actually launch a boat in.

At this point, we no longer cared about actually boating. It was the hunt that had become our afternoon adventure. So we took off. No one seemed to know exactly how to find this lake. Ramps were closed, what used to be public was now private. And my map-quest? Well this is where things got really interesting. It sent us through some weird subdivisions..then over a  bridge...and then we see it. The lake..and a sign into yet another subdivision (that is on an actual mini-island..hence the bridge crossing) We enter into the subdivision as we pass a sign that says Welcome to Treasure Island.

We both grin. It becomes clear that there are only private boat ramps and we have no business being on treasure island. But who cared? This was just cool. We viewed homes and oohed and ahhed at people's lake-houses. I suddenly had that feeling..that de-ja-vu in forward motion instead of reverse. That says...this is your future. I look at Big B. He grins. We both agree we will retire here. We don't know how...but it is just a feeling. The same feeling that landed us in Bandera. There was no rhyme or reason to it. And since we have already established through our married life history that all our major life decisions are made on makes sense that our retirement will be no different.

Look. says Big B. I like this one...and then we hear the map-quest navigator voice on my phone... You have arrived.

We grin again..and then return home.

Later I google the place. The cheapest home in that neighborhood is something I will only afford if I win the lottery. Like a HUGE lottery.

And then I thought Really Nicole? What is wrong with you? What does Treasure Island have that you don't already have?

I came up with nothing other than neighborhood tennis courts and a lake. But hey..we have a backyard pool and a river ( the moment..another puddle). Our neighborhood is smaller...much more scaled down..mostly mobile homes. But we have decks and porches and fenced in play-area...and tree-house and    much    space.  I was reminded that if I can't appreciate what I already have, I probably wouldn't appreciate what I could have either.

So then I took it a little further and started thinking about life in general. I have been so. to say it...

Not. nice.

These past few years have been rough for me. Sort-of an emotional roller-coaster, actually. And I have spent a lot of time doing massive journaling, and soul-searching and basic mid-life crisising.

It is not a secret that Big B has been sick for awhile. Our lifestyle has changed quite a bit over the past few years, and earlier this year (like around Christmastime) things were looking really bad for Big B. I started wondering what we could do to help him enjoy the quality of his life. He and I talked about this..and then it was like. Hey, why do we have to wait until someone is deathly ill before we start living life. What if you get better? Can't we STILL enjoy life? And (thank goodness) he IS much better. But we made a short-list of things he really wanted to do.. And when I say short..I mean short. Big B's list Fix his boat and just relax more.

Then I started thinking about the lotto. About how we always make plans for what we would do if we won the BIG BUCKS. Just like when looking at the end of one's start saying what you would or wouldn't do differently. I thought..why? Why do we have to win a lot of money to do these things. Can't we give to these organizations, spend more time with family, treat ourselves to good books and time for ourselves in smaller ways now?

During the time I was contemplating life in general, my job at the Teen Center became crazy hectic. Over time, the job I sincerely loved became something I started dreading. For a number of reasons I started resenting my time at the Center and I felt myself turning into someone I didn't want to be. I realized that what I personally wanted out of life was the ability to live a life loving fearlessly and trusting my own personal integrity. I realized  the roadblocks to this life were within me. Specifically my own self-righteousness, unforgiveness and over-extended busyness. I began journaling like CRAZY.

During my time journaling (which I still do, by the way) I realized that self-righteousness is a lot like clutter-blindness. It just sort-of builds up and you don't realize it. For me..self-righteousness took the form of being "too busy" doing important things that I couldn't take the time for the people who were the closest to me. My family.

One afternoon I found myself journaling about who I was at the age of 10. You know when you are at that age of being almost aware of the tough stuff of adulthood but clinging to childhood with a vengeance. When the future holds so many possibilities.

 I made a list of things that I did, or dreamed of being at that age. I spent hours in trees by myself, just day-dreaming. I played music. I read a lot. I wrote a lot. I envisioned myself a budding social-activist. I collected stamps. I read the bible.  I spent a fair amount of time just hanging out with friends. I thought..what happened to that person?

I realized I had compromised so much of who I was to accommodate others. So I quit my job. A job I love but left me no time to just. be. me.

The universe has opened up a temporary job that is leading into a part-time job for me.  I also get to be a part of a community center project that is still in it's infancy stage. This center holds so many possibilities....  I now have the time to enjoy my family. To read. To write. To continue playing music and discussing theology with my brothers-in-white at the local prison. To just hang out with my family..and to read all the Holy Books. (currently reading through the Old Testament  stories in Genesis and the Quran..because I am just sort-of geeky that way)

 But most importantly, I have time to continue breaking down the barriers of self-righteousness and unforgiveness I have slowly built up ..intentional or not..over a lifetime. To live a life of fearless love.

And yesterday? Yesterday..I had the opportunity to hang out with some of my elementary school the ones I knew when I was 10.
 It was great! We had a chance to revisit stories of various nuns, priests and lay-teachers that helped shape our childhood. We gossiped about those that (ahem) could not make it. Shamelessly by the way. We briefly talked politics and then touched on some of the emotional high or low points of the past couple decades.

This morning I was holding Levi during our "snuggle time". It's a morning routine. I hold my "snuggle bug" and we watch something obnoxious on t.v. together. We watched Daniel Lion's Neighborhood. (which for those of you not in the know? Is the new, cartoon version of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood). As I held him...resting my chin on his head and listening to the sound of him sucking his thumb. I thought to myself  the search is over. Here I am. Living in my own TREASURE ISLAND.

My navigator was right...ready or not?

I have arrived.

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