Holy crap! We're having a mid-life crisis. The words came streaming in thru my ears and rattled around in my head. I looked over at B and had (as Oprah calls it) an A-Ha moment. She was right. We were having a mid-life crisis. Crap! Now what?
|Time machine transporting you back to 2009|
The phone rings and I hurriedly answer it. Anxiously awaiting B's call to hear the reason she and the rest of her co-workers were called into an "Important meeting." Her voice met my greeting with the comment, "Well. Ready to move to New Mexico?" It was what we thought. Her job was gone.
To be honest, I was more than ready. I have a real love/hate relationship with Wisconsin. As beautiful as it is and as much as I love it in the summer and (especially) fall, it is cold, dark and depressing and I absolutely loathe it in the winter.
So, a plan was hatched. Well actually, a plan had already been hatched, but now was the time to put it into motion. And that, is exactly what we did. And that, was the exact wrong time to do it. For it was pretty much at that exact same time, that the economy took a head long, full nose dive, right into the toilet.
Every night, we would watch and listen as Charlie Gibson told about about all the jobs lost that day. 10's of thousands a day were being lost. The national unemployment rate went from just under 6% to just over 10% in a matter of a couple weeks. It was getting really depressing watching the top story every single day, being that, this company or that company was closing or laying off umpteen thousand workers. Secretly, we started to worry about our plan.
It was after a couple months of this being the norm and realizing that this downward spiral probably wasn't going to stop anytime soon, that we each started to re-evaluate our plan in detail.
Even though I was thinking about it, I refused to speak the words out loud. "If I don't say them, they can't come true." was my thinking. As a matter of fact, it took almost every ounce of willpower I had to keep from admitting to myself that our plan may be in jeopardy. It was B who finally brought it up. Her words rang true, but they also carried a cold winters wind with them. "I just don't feel, like this is the right time to be packing up and moving across the country." she said. In my mind and my heart, I was in total agreement. I just couldn't however, get my mouth to form the words. We discussed things for a while and my mouth finally agreed with the rest of me. "You're right." I said. "We should just stay here and wait for things to get better."
Even as I was saying these words, I was fighting them. I so desperately wanted to move to New Mexico. But I will admit that it was a bit freeing to say them as well. All the stress of NOT saying them was now gone. Oh but alas, it was replaced by the depression of realizing that everything I was looking forward to was also gone.
|Ok. Back to 2011|
So here we are, 2 1/2 years later and we are STILL waiting for things to get better. The only thing that has has really changed is that Charlie Gibson retired and now Diane Sawyer is the one delivering the bad news every night. Jobs are few and far between as unemployment is still over 9%. The hemorrhaging of jobs has slowed, but they are not being added very quickly. We see reports on the news about how 52,000 jobs were added last month. Wow! really? 52,000? Considering that there are 14 million folks out of work, 52,000 is hardly worth mentioning. It is truly a scary time right now.
Adding to the fear, anxiety and uncertainty is the fact that there doesn't even seem to be a flicker of light on the horizon. Nothing, nada, zero, zilch, zippo! Our government is completely focused on another issue right now, and that is next years presidential election. Sure, all the politicians are talking and telling us what they "would" do "if elected" but not a freaking one of them is actually "doing" anything. Everyone in Washington is focused on either getting into power or getting the other guy out of power. In the meantime, nothing is getting done and the people of this country continue to get shat upon. It really is disgusting to watch and truthfully, has caused me to loose almost all faith in our system of government.
During these last couple years we have struggled with what to do with the rest of our lives. We came to the conclusion that, what we were doing, wasn't working anymore. We no longer buy into the American dream, because what does it really mean? Jobs, a house, 2 cars, an annual vacation, money in the bank? All great, but we have these things and none of them do anything to fulfill our souls. We need something more. A purpose, a sense of accomplishment. We need to leave our mark on the world and to know that what we did was truly good and that it helped. (Hmm. Mid-life crisis?)
So what are we to do? How can we figure out what to do with the rest of our lives when we aren't even sure if this country is going to survive the next few years? We are completely frustrated with the state of our nation.
The rich keep getting richer while the poor keep getting poorer. I know, I know. I KNOW! It's ALWAYS been this way, But you have to admit that things have gotten much worse since baby bush deregulated, well, almost everything. It has caused greed to go viral!
Corporate greed is another huge frustration we are feeling right now too. Huge corporations have taken over and are destroying everything. It's sad.
When is it enough? When do you say, "Nope. I'm good. I have enough. I don't need anymore." That concept is completely foreign in the corporate world.
Now don't get me wrong. Not ALL corporations are bad. There are great corporations out there that do wonderful things. They give back. They care about and protect the environment. They treat their customers with respect and dignity and they have an honest and heartfelt desire to provide a quality product. But then there are the corporations that don't. The are singularly focused on one thing. Make as much money in as short amount of time as possible and do whatever it takes, destroy whatever we need to destroy, in order to accomplish that goal.
Because corporate greed has consumed this country, there are less and less privately owned, independent businesses out there. Now I am NOT talking about privately owned franchises that have huge corporations backing them. Those, as far as I am concerned, are not independent businesses. Those are corporate. I am talking about real, private, independent businesses. The type where the owner is the one doing the cooking back in the kitchen. The type where the owner can't take a conference call, cause they are out making a delivery. Not the one where the owner is sitting in an office someplace in another location. I am talking hands on, privately owned, independent businesses. Think about it. How many can you think of in your area? My guess is that's it's not going to be very many. B and I love to support these types of businesses.
All the greed in the corporate world as well as in our government, has made B and I take a deep and long, hard look at ourselves. How did we contribute? Answer: By allowing ourselves to be lead around blindly. We bought into the multi-million dollar marketing campaign that fooled us into believing that we couldn't live without their crap.
Watching all this greed and corruption take over this country has spurred numerous conversations between B and myself about how we can disconnect ourselves from the madness. How can we separate ourselves so we are no longer a part of this fucked up system?
We started by getting rid of what we felt was absolutely not needed. We got rid of our blackberry's. We downgraded our cable. We cleaned out things from the house. Essentially, we got rid of crap that we didn't need in the first place. While all this was freeing, it wasn't enough. We still feel like we need to simplify and minimalize our lives even more. Basically, our anti-greed is going viral.
And BLAM!!!!! Enter our epiphany. What could be more simple and minimalist than getting rid of ALL our crap, renting out the house and hitting the road on human-powered vehicles. Nothing but a few changes of clothes, a shelter and some cooking equipment strapped to our bicycles. Not a single thing to worry about other than, which way and how far.
Stay tuned folks. This Mid-Life Crisis we're having, could be a wild journey...