The midlife crisis is still continuing!!
Here I am 50 fricken 7!! Miserable as all hell and ready to just walk away from everything. Home, family, business, my stuff….even my DOG!
so what the hell…. I DID IT.
(I did ensure my dog was with family)
But I wasn’t going to let the banks hold me back from my dreams – so I’ll let you into my thought process at this time.
“My kids have picked cherries, apples, blueberries, worked on cotton farms and made buckets of money. I might be a little older than them, but I know I can do it and probably do it better – because I’m older and therefore wiser! I’ll be debt-free in no time!”
Can you see the error of my ways?
I can now. But in any case that’s retrospective thinking and a useless concept that only us humans seem to able to use to mess up our lives.
I picked and picked:
- Blueberries in 41C (quite enjoyed it, it was my first encounter into camp living with over 100 backpackers),
- Apples in 6C (made great friends there and learned a lot about pesticides and why not to drink dam water),
- Oranges for one day and quit (what a ridiculous job – my forearms scratched by the murderous thorns and covered in blood and paid $6hr!!)
- and the clincher and height of the worst place on earth was picking Cherries ($10hr, horrendous conditions, crude and abusive supervisors, no toilet, no water, rotten flyblown cherries and filthy bathrooms at the mud-filled campsite).
One day – after spending Christmas Day in torrential, drenching rain as Australia does so well, trapped inside my tent with only a postage sized piece of Christmas cake and some fruit for lunch, no internet, no phone reception, alone and nothing to read – I thought….ok….I’ve had enough.
This is no longer any sort of fun.
I grabbed the rest of a bottle of red wine, slid my gumboots on, put up the giant umbrella I bought at the hardware store, put my headphones on and walked into the downpour …..not caring if I ever saw another fricken apple again.
I danced through that apple orchard. Alone, drenched and the happiest I’d been for months. I talked to the trees and the leaves, yelled at the earth, watched the ducks on the poisoned dams hoping they’d come up to me and have a chat, slipped through the mud and eventually realised I didn’t know where I was.
That sobered me up just enough to get my bearings. Being irresponsible and drunk, alone and a little bit crazy is one thing, but doing it in cold torrential rain after dark is another.
That night I packed my food and cooking stuff away, the next morning I dismantled my wet tent/shelter/home arrangement, packed it all in the car and told the apple farmer I was leaving. He surprisingly told me I could come back if I wanted to! ( that in itself says a lot about the calibre of workers there).
I drove off with my gumboots still on, in the rain and didn’t stop until 12hrs later when I arrived at my sister’s beautiful sumptuous, welcoming home and realised how stupid I’d been!
Stupid to think I wanted to live simply when a spa is amazing, stupid to think cooking on a single gas cooker is fine when a full cooking range is simply unbelievable, thinking my car-bed is super comfy when a real bed is undeniably hedonistic and putting up with a dirty share bathroom and toilet is incomparable with a proper bathroom, with a clean shower, a toilet that flushes and no waiting in queues with a roll of toilet paper in my hand!
I’d made enough money to survive – that’s all. All those months had brought me no money but so much more in life, adventure, courage and confidence! I missed the beach, I missed my friends, I missed the internet, I missed coherent thought and creativity. I realised I am NOT a good fruit picker, in fact I’m hopeless and pretty uninterested. I just don’t get it and have absolutely NO interest in the persistence needed to be great at it.
Back to the Gold Coast, the beaches, the beauty, the friends, the family.
No reliable work showed up.
I applied everywhere but that just didn’t happen. So I decided that since I’m on the road to reinventing myself I may as well do it properly and do what I love to do.
I love to talk, to write, to communicate, to share my experiences and learn of others journeys. Deep conversations and laughter are my weaknesses. I’m addicted to both.
I love the beach so I found a share house ON the beach – yep, my backyard was sand, my dog was in heaven becoming a very serious sand-crab hunter and I could have coffee on the beach at sunrise for 3 months every morning and walks on the beach for hours a day at dawn and dusk. I was in heaven.
Some things aren’t meant to last and that was one of them but I felt that I’ve had my fill and I’ve satisfied a deep desire to live like that. It has become part of my story.
The other part is my midlife freedom business is where I coach midlife women how to simplify their lives and figuring out who they really are now by removing the buffers that have been put there which were necessary at the time but just stop the ability to progress and change. Why changing habits of a lifetime are crucial to change and comfort zones are totally over-rated.
I have even learned how to do podcasts! Speaking to women from all over the world about their midlife adventures, trials and successes.
Redefining myself is still happening and will continue to the day I die. There are so many more things to do, so many countries to travel to, grandkids to see and play with. So many more adventures and people to meet. So many opportunities to create the rest of my life.
It’s been a year since I sold my stuff and took off to live in my car.
I’m no longer angry, depressed or desperate. I am living inside the light at the end of my tunnel. My life now has no limitations and no fears attached.
That woman who thought that she had to do stuff to keep others happy has simply disappeared.