On October 1st this past year, I had to take a moment. It was official. My Supersize LIFE was officially less than a year away. Because of the Alaska winters, I firmly established in my mind that my drop-dead date for leaving Alaska is October 1, 2017.
The logistics of departing the state are illusive and dependent on so many things. In my startup budget, I allowed $10,000 for the logistics of transitioning from one life to another. It includes everything it takes to get from a sticks-and-bricks house to a house on wheels. When I created that line item in the startup budget, this included trips to RV shows and/or RV manufacturers’ factory tours. It included travel to pick up my tow vehicle and my new home. Finally it included leaving Alaska. As yet, I’m not sure exactly how I will be leaving Alaska. Options in the running are:
- Shipping my stuff and flying out;
- Selling my car, renting a U-Haul truck and driving out;
- Having a hitch installed on my car, renting a small U-Haul trailer and driving out;
- Doing either of the U-Haul options but instead of driving the Alaska-Canada highway, taking the Alaska Marine Highway (ferry) between Alaska and the Lower 48 and let someone else do the driving.
I’ve focused on October 1st as the latest possible date because I didn’t want the option of driving out taken away from me. With snow and ice, not to mention most of the roadside amenities shut down for the season, I wouldn’t be comfortable driving the Al-Can any later.
I’ll share the details of departing as I figure them out. But I say it here to give you an idea of how firm October 1st is entrenched in my brain. So when the calendar page turned to October a few months ago, I had to take a moment. A moment to process the fact that I was entering a new phase.
A phase of “last times.”
At work a few weeks later was the last time I’d be involved in our big annual fundraising event. It was followed by my last Thanksgiving in Alaska and my last Black Friday sale where the only thing I buy is half-price socks. December marked the last time I’d sign the annual staff holiday photo card and attend the last staff Christmas party.
It’s January and we have hung new calendars. Now that it’s 2017, I admit, panic is settling in around me. So much do to, so little time. I have been on the “go but pace yourself” setting for the last three years. But as I post this, my last January is half over and my countdown in months is in the single digits. The “go” setting needs cranked a few notches over to the “OMG move your a**” setting. It’s enough to give me a headache and enough to float my head into the clouds with excitement. All at the same time.
Time is weird, isn’t’ it? We countdown time continuously. Hours until a fun party, days until school finals are over, weeks until a vacation begins, months until a wedding or birth, years to retirement. Even the ones that seem too far away are here and gone in a flash. Then we are counting down the next thing.
I’ve always done that. In Supersizing my LIFE, part of what I want for myself is to be at a place where I enjoy more of the moments in the moment. Still, as I shift my plans into high gear and focus forward in order to live in the moment more (ironic, I know), I also have moments of looking into the rear view mirror.
Soon, I will leave a job I’ve held for 15 years. I won’t live in the house I’ve nested for a decade. A house that welcomed my dog when I adopted her. A house that welcomed a cat I thought I’d lost because she is more afraid of change than I and wanted to stay in the old house.
I won’t see an amazing group of people on the first Wednesday of every month to talk about the thing that brought us together–books. Book Club started in March 2001 with Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin and we have read a variety of mostly fantastic books. (They even indulged me last summer by reading the one I wrote, the one that started me on the path to becoming a fulltime RVer.)
For a very short time, we tried naming ourselves. We were the B.O.O.K. Club, the Beings of Outstanding Karma Club. It didn’t stick. Now we simply call our motley crew the Clubbers. In addition to Anchorage, the Clubbers have held meetings in Punta Mita, Mexico; Homer, Alaska; Yukon Island, Alaska (where an archaeological dig was in progress); Rio Verde, Arizona (twice) where a few members have winter homes. Next month, the group heads to sunny San Diego. I will miss them for certain. But, I take comfort in knowing I can drive to the next traveling meeting of the Clubbers since all past members have an open invitation to meetings.
I won’t see the talented dedicated women in the writing group I started the summer of 2008.
I won’t drive by the university that brought me to Alaska to begin with, the university where I got my MFA degree and cemented my passion for writing.
In short, sometime in the next five to eight months, I won’t be living in Alaska. The place I have called home for the last 23 years.
It’s a brand new year. I hope you embrace every opportunity and seek out experiences to Supersize your LIFE. Don’t merely countdown days. Easier said than done, but the results will be worth it.
Please share in the comments ways you try to live in the moment or one thing you want to do in 2017 to Supersize your LIFE.