A friend recently complimented me on my adventurous spirit, but last night while driving back from the ocean, I had to wonder if, in fact, I have the spirit of an adventuress. I was cold, tired, hungry, driving in an insane amount of traffic for a dark Sunday night. I felt desolate and isolated, and very grateful to be headed for a warm house and a familiar bed.
I tried to imagine what it would be like if there was nothing familiar on the other end of my journey, and all I could imagine was even more desolation and isolation than I already felt. Despite all those miles of civilization alongside the road, I didn’t see motels, camping spots, or even any place to pull off and hunker down. Even worse, though my poor ancient VW had zoomed to the beach without a single hiccup, it began backfiring and sputtering (something to do with the spark plugs, I think, even though they’d just been replaced).
Luckily, I didn’t have to worry about being stranded on that six-lane highway. The car sputtered and coughed and fought me all the way back but didn’t completely die until it was safe in the garage. I was safe, too, and a few minutes later, I was also warm and fed, but still, the thought lingers about my suitability for an adventurous life. I like comfort too much to enjoy being cold and alone in the vastness. I’m also too much of a natural hermit — I could (and probably would) surrender to isolation, which would be even worse than the stagnation I fear would ensue from a more settled life.
It’s strange to think I once dreaded coming here to my father’s house to look after him and stranger to think that now I dread leaving. But I don’t have to worry about that tonight. Nor do I have to worry about possible isolation or stagnation, adventure or inertia. For now, I still have a familiar place to stay and tomorrow I have dance classes.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.
November 3, 2014 at 9:08 pm
I think you sound very brave. And very adventurous. It would be wonderful for your siblings to just allow you to have the house. After all you gave them freedom and comfort when you cared for your father.
November 4, 2014 at 4:51 pm
It’s our inheritance, so it has to be sold. I couldn’t afford to keep it up, anyway — it’s way too big for me and the bills would be more than I could afford. I just need to gather my courage and go out into the world somehow.
November 3, 2014 at 9:26 pm
I’ve just read my way here through the posts I had missed. People who know me say I am a private person, much like my mother was. I don’t think I was like her in any other way, but I truly am a loner and total introvert. I’m not adventurous at all. However, I’ve done things that required me to stand up, stand out and take leadership, running my own business. I learned to cope, and afterwards I recharged by withdrawing. My favourite spot was, and still is, by water, especially the ocean. The ebb, flow and crash of waves both soothes and invigorates me. I don’t know if I could head there alone in a car that felt unreliable, mind you. To be adventurous but secure, I think you might need to have someone fix your car (or invest in a healthier one). 😉
November 4, 2014 at 4:49 pm
Good advice about the car. It was supposed to be fixed. Let’s see if they will do it right this time. If not, another car is important — I’ve just had too many losses recently, and am not quite ready to lose something else. But soon . . .
November 5, 2014 at 4:40 pm
Dear Pat, i wonder too if when my care taking daz are over if i to will feel like you…..I have been an adventuress gal and have pushed my self to go and do things before i had to take care of my parents……so if i die today i really have had a adventurous life…..but i entertain my self all the time with WHAT WILL AND WHERE WILL I go when I am FREE again…..i am like your age and i am using this time to keep healthy and staying strong and physically able to walk the el Camino or Pacific trail if i want……i think of selling all my possessions and traveling to where ever…..I think of owning a tricked out travel trailer and buzz around the country……then the fear sets in ……like ever other time I have ever pulled up stakes and left to some forign county and a new job / or no job……..so i keep entertains off desires and slowly getting rid of things i do not need or use……cleaning out papers and scraps of saved memories……no of ever mattered really……so my advice to my self and you is take the moment for what it is right now and do something with it even if it is NO thing…….move…..slowly….fluidly and KEEP DANCING INTO YOUR NEW LIFE…….love and peace to you…..
November 5, 2014 at 7:23 pm
Such wonderful advice! Yes, move slowly and fluidly, taking time to live in the moment and to pare down our posessesions in preparation for what might come. I sometimes think just the thought of adventure helps us cope with the entrapment of caregiving. It will be interesting to see what we end up doing. Maybe we’ll meet on the Pacific trail someday. Or at a campsite. I really did think I would take off when my father was gone, but that was before dance entered my life. I’m trying not to be afraid, trying to take each day as it comes, and just see what happens.
November 6, 2014 at 9:46 am
From past experience, having been in the position of wondering where to go many times, the location never worked out unless I’d already been there enough to know if the place would “feel” right. You might not want to aimlessly wander, but you could target a few locales and sample them. I can see wanting to hang on to your car as I loved the one I had, but at some point it might be a safety liability and a drain on funds if it requires constant fixing.
November 6, 2014 at 4:53 pm
If it weren’t for dance classes, I’d leave here, but then I’d truly have no reason to be anywhere. I don’t think my ancient VW is entirely safe, but I don’t see the point of getting rid of it yet. You know the old joke about not mending the roof when it rains because it’s raining, and not mending it when it isn’t raining because it doesn’t need it? Well, my car is sort of like that — when it doesn’t work, I think of selling it, but I have to get it fixed so I can sell it, but then once it’s fixed, there’s no reason to sell it.
Most of the engine parts have been replaced by now. It looks new and clean.
The other thing I think of is if I get a new car now, then in five years, it will be ofd. If I wait for five years to get it, in five years it will be new.