Declaration: a formal or explicit statement or announcement
For the last eight weekends I have been packed up and hitting the road this time every Friday to head to Sherwood Forest Faire. I’ve been working in an Italian Restaurant preparing sauces, washing dishes, working on the food service line and anything else that needed to be done that nobody else was doing.
It was hard work and the hours were sometimes long. I initially took the job as a chance to earn some extra money to help out around here.
It wasn’t long before I started looking forward to going. In addition to some extra cash, I discovered community – community populated by some awesome people who accepted me for who I was and not who I normally pretended to be. There were few preconceived notions about how I should behave, what I believed or what I should spend my time doing. Pretty much a judgement-free zone. In some ways, a brutally honest place.
I’ve been learning to deal with questions like:
- What difference does your age make?
- Why do it if it doesn’t make you happy?
- Why aren’t you doing it if it makes you happy?
- Who told you that you needed to live that way?
- Why not change the way you are living your life?
- Who (or what) is stopping you?
- How long are you going to wait to start doing…
I can’t imagine hitting the road and becoming a full-time “Rennie” anytime soon. I am a homebody at heart. But, as I’ve been repeatedly reminded, houseless and homeless are not the same thing. I have a good life here. I don’t want to ditch it all and start over.
But, there are some things that I am going to change though. Since coming back home last Monday, I have been dealing with the chaos of being away from home for all that time. Normal housekeeping compounded with the mess of home renovations. I’ve been sorting out and decluttering and organizing. And all the questions from Faire have been echoing in my tired and stressed brain.
Hence, the declaration!
I want to make art. I want to sell art. I want to give away art. I want to stop dealing with material possessions at the cost of spending time with the people I love doing the stuff I enjoy. I have one life. I am 54 years old. I’m not too old to change my life, but realistically I don’t have forever. I need to make changes now. Permanent changes. Less stuff, more experiences. More community. More fun. More being me and less living for the opinions of other people. The unnecessary layers are going.
Excuse my language, but this shit has got to stop. I’ve been working towards this point for a long time. My whole life, I suppose.
Now, I feel like I’ve been challenged to change. I stepped out of my comfort zone and didn’t like everything that I saw when I came back to where I started.
Stuff doesn’t make me happy. It makes me unhappy. I’m tired of decluttering and organizing. Half a pick-up truck load went to the thrift store yesterday. A full can of trash and 5 additional items left on trash day.
A queen mattress set also went away. It was worn out. I had held onto it in case we needed it. You know what, if that many people need to sleep here, we’ll figure it out. Holding onto that mattress is a symptom of trying to be prepared for every situation in the future instead of living right now.
Next up, my closet. I’m ridding myself of all the “costumes” that I’ve purchased and held onto to. I’m talking about the clothes that I own that fit the roles I’ve been trying to play. The teacher clothes, the Mom clothes, the artist clothes, the mature woman clothes and the woman with a weight issue clothes. I’m just going to keep the “me” clothes. Yes, all those roles are a part of who I am, but I am so much more than that.
I’m packing up a great deal of our belongings to make the new floor installation easier. Only the essentials are staying out. If we don’t love it or need it, it’s going away. When each box is unpacked in the “new” room, we’ll re-valuate whether it stays or goes.
Change is good.