You Are Here


After 15 years of driving my young person where she needs to go, the past few weeks the tables are turned and she is now driving me.  Doing a great job with her learning curve, I might add.  This transition feels like a significant step in her independence from me, inherent pleasure of giving someone guidance, and a stretch toward my ability to let go.  Parents of teens have warned me for years about what parenting a teen would be like.  And I have to say it does feel alternately like a ginormous blessing and a ginormous curse.  But that is no different from any other phase in life.  If I had the choice to go back in time and not be a parent, I wouldn’t take it.

I’ve told her I will always have a door open to her as long as I live, no matter how independent she is.  And she reminded me it’s more likely she’ll have the door while I wander the world.  After all, she was the 12-year-old who wanted to live in her own apartment and actually was the only 12-year-old I could actually imagine handling it.  Regardless of whose door frame is crossed, the bond between parent and child never ends, and it’s an amazing thing to have the privilege of watching a human being grow.

Now that we are far beyond the elementary school days of mandatory “make something for your mother or else” for Mother’s Day, I gifted myself this book to celebrate.

Breathe Through This

With steps toward a future not lived under the same roof, an entirely new vista opened up in my mind.  An EXPLORER ADVENTURE MAP depicting my future separate from my child’s.

In the center:

You Are Here
(reestablishing veggie garden, doing yard maintenance, working 7 days a week as freelance transcriptionist, supporting offspring in all activities on ~$25 K/year)

Emanating out:

Trails to many possible futures I can imagine for myself

Featured sites:

Move North to complete a 4-year second bachelor’s degree in Environmental Conservation (graduate ~ age 57) and begin entirely new career path competing for jobs with 20-somethings

Move South to N. Oregon, the land that calls me

Remain on Whidbey, move to small 1 bdr,
volunteer 2 days each week food garden/local schools
transcribe 5 days each week

Seasonal Jobs:  Fire spotter, National Parks attendant, lighthouse keeper, service jobs that provide stipend to travel and work for resorts, transcribe remainder of year

Begin Goal of Visiting Every National Park Before I Die

Earn enough to attend a Wild Women’s Expedition

Keep Transcribing full-time another 22 years or until hands fall off
or hearing is lost, whichever comes first

Long Walk Options:  Pacific Crest Trail, across a state, across US
(buy tent/bag since gave mine to homeless couple, backpack since sold mine out of college; train, train, train, hiking during time no longer devoted to child)

Extended Spiritual Retreat
(no idea where but involves meditation, silence, solitude and community)

Skills to get by on if anyone cares to pay me should I be a wanderer:
Play piano for spiritual services
Knit anything for anyone
Spell any medical word
Basic landscaping, yard maintenance
House clean for pet-free homes
House sit for pet-free homes
Write stuff
Transcribe stuff
Cook anything with a vegetable
Care for children

Publish a Book about mid-life journeys by age 60

Solo (fine with me – solitude is awesome)

Partnered (only if mutually beneficial where both can thrive)

What’s work when your office is this?  (Transcribing a report about this atoll inhabited only by researchers and Nature Conservancy staff, I can’t imagine a better job)

About Erin W

A sensitive plant, bamboo strong.
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