Up until a few weeks ago, I was in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where I thoroughly enjoyed the brutal Chicago winter, as this winter was truly one to miss — and it appears to not yet be over in the Mighty-Midwest. I had an exceptionally playful winter and will be forever grateful for the ability to spend my time doing yoga and taking dance classes, studying and practicing qi gong, completely art workshops, cooking glorious meals in a dark cavernous Mexican kitchen, swimming in the natural hot, healing waters and spending time getting to know old friends and an ex-husband.
It was glorious and great healings occurred after the butt-kicking year or so I had endured. However, the pressure of leaving my mom’s home unattended for the hard-hitting winter was ever-looming, and I knew I needed to get back to Illinois to wrap up her affairs for good. I knew in my heart that my time in Illinois had come to an end; time to pack up one final time and move on. I had decided to return to San Miguel de Allende to pursue my interests in the healing arts, organic foods, other worldly pursuits while working with some business owners on their marketing efforts. It’s challenging to find work in Mexico, but I was ready for a new page in the books and to get back to work.
—————–> Not so fast.
Although I knew my time in Chicago was up, I remain very grateful for my time in ‘Tucky after my mom’s death and multiple job losses. (Tucky = Woodtucky) I needed a quiet place; a place where I could completely unravel and then put myself back together again. I lived in my mom’s empty condo. No stuff except some of my stuff, which I never unpacked. I didn’t even have a refrigerator nor stove for the first six weeks; it was like camping every day. But I was able to spend time in and around Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, talking to my mom, walking around the lake, kayaking and paddleboarding; exactly what I needed. I made peace with the waters and I was starting to make peace with myself. Grief continues to change me in so many ways — the tears continue to fall but I’ve continued to face my fears and tackle them. I am far less afraid of things out in the world today!
The unraveling of grief also made me aware that I needed to stop punishing myself for losing so many jobs. This was no small task and it’s probably not over. I do however, finally understand that it is my badge of honor to have lost these jobs in such a rapid succession, so I could move closer to more important things in my life. I am not supposed to work for people I do not believe in, selling things I do not care about. How lucky I am to have lost these jobs. It has made me a better person.
I have been told by more than a few that I am a nicer person, and do you know what?? I feel like I am nicer person. I feel softer, easier, slower and my laugh has improved. I love it! Oh sure I can still cut like a knife with my tongue, but I’d really rather not because I don’t think it’s cute anymore. I genuinely enjoy connecting with people, sans sarcasm.
I am totally grateful for the lessons of loss during the past year.
When Reed & I landed in Texas, we were both THRILLLLLLLLLED to be back in America. We ate shitty Tex-Mex tacos and loved it; for a few minutes. It only took a few hours for the “American gumption” to seep back into my veins and I was essentially high as a kite from it, and feeling the pressure to get back in the game. That get up & GETTER DONE attitude; I was hungry! Everywhere I looked, I felt as though I was being asked about my work; where do you work, what do you do, what’s your background, do you have a job? — because after all, this is AMERICA and we work fifty weeks of the year to buy cool stuff dangitall!
We moved into Reed’s family ranch, “Charro Ranch” in Driftwood, Texas, and soon I re-discovered the beauty of a Central Texas ranch. I’ll be honest though; when we lived here after we were first married in 2005, I did not like the place at all and could not wait to get back to the city. A decade later, I simply adore the place and enjoy every day that I am here. The baby cows are multiplying, and I’m having such fun meeting them (from a far) and talking to all the animals.
Within the first week, I had secured a job at a local olive oil orchard and I was really thrilled to get back to work. But first I had to go to Chicago to close up mom’s place, which I did in about five days. I was at my mom’s place on St. Patrick’s Day; which I hadn’t really thought about until that morning, that morning of Paddy Day, that has long been a strange day in notsomuch that we celebrated the day, rather it’s was more a day to make fun of our Irishness and everyone gets drunk.
That morning I sat on the floor of my mom’s empty condo and began closing up the final boxes for shipping, then fired up my music. When Van Morrison’s Jackie Wilson Said came on, I totally lost it. I could not stop the tears; it was a calvacade. My uncles Tim and Tom loved Van the Man and it was one of the few songs that they would move to; we all would dance to it. I blame Tim for kicking off this family death spiral party; I was angry he had left me with all these neanderthal relatives who couldn’t talk about anything beyond sports, weather, goons, traffic and the good ol’days; Tim was the only one in the family who really got me and I will always miss him terribly. They all went tumbling down after him because he was the glue of the family that was trapped in the old school ways of the West Side Irish. God Bless Them All!
It was a stupendous cry as I packed up the remains of my life and two days later I hopped on a plane to Austin to start my new American life. I have way too much spunk in me to live in Mexico; I still want to make magic happen and work and do good. Central Texas it is!
Next I move into my house and get re-acquainted with the creatures of Central Texas…. bugs too!