I think that 2014 may be my year of disruption. I want to have an adventure and take my loved ones along with me for the ride. Crazy, you say? Perhaps.
I am probably the most responsible, stay-the-course, do-the-right-thing person you have likely never met, and I admit that even I don't quite understand this pounding drumbeat in my head telling me to throw my pick-up sticks in the air and see where they land. I'm 64, not 24, and really don't have time to erase life mistakes if I make them this late in the game. Still, the temptation is there to just rewrite my script.
My desire for something new isn't borne from discontent. I have a good life with kids who are by-and-large happy and a husband who's in it for the duration. I love my job and the creativity it provides. My personal problems don't generally overwhelm me; my car starts every morning; my pantry is full; the roof isn't leaking, although the washing machine was last week but that has since been repaired. At the moment, I have no complaints worth airing. And I get that that puts me in blessed place. I am filled with gratitude, trust me.
So what on Earth has come over me that I have this near-constant fantasy of changing everything and turning my life upside down? When life is good, aren't we supposed to stop looking for better? Isn't recognizing when you are content the key to being happy? I think I even once wrote that, so it must be true.
Yet in the past few months, I have fantasized about:
* Moving to Hong Kong so that my Chinese children can see more Asian faces.
* Moving to a shack on the beach so I can surf like Gidget, if Gidget was 64.
* Moving to Des Moines or someplace else I've never been where I believe people are nicer.
* Moving to Panama or one of those countries where retiring ex-pats say they love living (until they get sick and then come running home for treatment).
* Moving into an RV because I need to figure out this downsizing thing once and for all instead of just talking about it.
* Changing my kids' schools to some place with more rigorous academics based on their most recent test scores.
* Changing my kids' schools to some place with less rigorous academics based on the same thing.
* Homeschooling my kids because I know in my heart there is no perfect school for them.
* Taking my kids on a year-long trip around the world where I know they will learn more than in any school, including a homeschool.
* Volunteering at my local animal shelter.
* Rescuing six more dogs and becoming one of those crazy dog-rescuing people.
* Doing something seriously important that changes lives instead of writing to amuse them.
* Starting my own startup. I have a million ideas, just no millionaire to fund them.
* Writing a book about how I totally disrupted my life for unfathomable reasons and then hope that I'm called an "inspiration" instead of a "fool."
Yes, many plans means no plans, and so I continue to wake up to an alarm clock each day and drive my kids to the school bus that takes them to what some days seems like a wholly inadequate, lacking in Chinese faces, school. No surf bum, no Panama, no Des Moines either. Just the same old, same old.
What is really fueling this basic flight fantasy? The strange part is that I don't actually hope to find better; I just want to disrupt for the sake of disruption. I want an adventure before I am too old to want adventures.
I want to stop analyzing, measuring, weighing all the arguments pro and con and I just want to disrupt. But since at the end of the day, it's to thine own self be true, I will just satisfy myself with writing about it. Unless of course there is a millionaire reading and he'd like to hear my start-up ideas.
"I realized that I didn't want to spend the second half of my life the way I had spent the first." In 2004, Mark Noonan was a 52-year-old executive in the high-tech industry who routinely worked 60-hour weeks. After his wife died in a freak accident, he turned his life around. For the full story click here.
"I've always been that sort of person who enjoys kidding around and having fun." After a kidney disease diagnosis, Kathe LeBeau, 50, found a flier in the mail promoting a 12-week clowning class at a local community college. And that's how she found her calling. For the ful story click here.
"Suddenly, I had landed in heaven." Eight years ago, John Kerr, 74, had no idea what to do next when he retired from his job as a public television executive in Boston at age 65. After flummoxing around for about a month, he put his belongings in storage, loaded up his camper truck and drove west to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He landed a job as a park ranger. For the full story click here.
"I'm able to look forward." A few years ago, Amy Voelker was enjoying a getaway with her extended family at a rental house in Redington Beach, Florida when her husband and three sons were killed in a car accident. Through exercise and training and the support of friends and family, Voelker has found a new vision of herself. Full the full story go here.
"Sometimes I'd joke with my friends about creating a Bloody Mary company... But then reality would set in, Monday would come along and we'd all go back to our advertising jobs." Stephanie Sanoja left an unfulfilling job in her forties to take a gamble on turning her great-aunt Gladys' Bloody Mary recipe into a career. Today you can buy Garden District Bloody Marys throughout Texas and Louisiana. For the full story click here.
"My dad called tonight. He said I did a good thing and I was a go-getter like my mom. This is the best day of my life." At age 46, Teresa Pitts challenged herself to go back to school, and earned her bachelor's degree from UCLA with honors. Read the full story here. photo courtesy of UCLA fan page
"Up came the lights -- just in a different area." At age 70, David McGiffert declared his independence by walking away from Hollywood to help his daughter achieve her own dreams of competing on the U.S. National Team for rhythmic gymnastics. He now accompanies her to competitions and training camps, and helps her manage an otherwise impossible schedule of school, training and competition. Read the full story here.
"I work in my own style, on the schedule I want; if I write what I want, people will sense the fun in it." This 61-year-old Kentucky novelist was the first self-published author to sell more than a million digital books on Amazon.com with his pulp fiction series "Donovan Creed," which follows a former CIA agent. For the full story click here.
"No matter how old you are, it is not too late to change." At age 52, Linda Tabach ditched her lifelong couch potato lifestyle for a healthier alternative. Tabach began eating a healthy diet, hit her goal weight and ran her first half-marathon. For the full story click here.
"I am here to tell women, you are never too old to pursue your dreams. I never felt better in my life. I am 60, hear me roar." After a life spent on the other side of the lens, first as a stylist and later in commercial photography, Robin Bobbé decided to "[reconnect] with that exciting part of myself," and became the new face of 60 as a model. For the full story click here. photo courtesy of WomenYouShouldKnow.net
"The girls at the rink say I'm the only one on the East Coast doing death spirals at my age... This is a part of my soul..." Although she knew from childhood that her heart lay in figure skating, Paula Shuman was convinced it wasn't a realistic career path and became a radiographer instead. She kept skating though, and when an old friend offered to coach her 20 years later, she fulfilled her childhood dream. For the full story click here.
"Just do one little thing that's meaningful to you. Break out of the box and you'll see, it can change your life." Margaret Miller started by ending an unhappy marriage, then trained for a marathon -- then began travelling the world. "Part of me was hidden away for so long. It was almost like I was introducing myself to my family," she said. For the full story click here.
"I am living proof that anything is possible." Tipping the scale at 320 pounds, the former chain smoking talent manager took hold of his life and health and underwent gastric bypass surgery seven years ago. Now he's the very picture of health, exercising and working with a trainer to keep off the weight. Read the full story here.
"Everybody in the world thinks I am a total nutcase. I just want to support our troops." Coast served in the Navy from 1982 to1993, leaving the force to raise her son. But when she accompanied her son to an Army recruitment office so he could enlist, Coast asked to sign up as well. At 51 she became one of the oldest people to complete basic combat training. Read the full story here.
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