Musings of the Directionless

PhoenixRising
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Musings of the Directionless

Postby PhoenixRising » Wed Aug 10, 2016 2:44 pm

I just need to get my thoughts out there, instead of being stuck in my head.
Since my ex husband and I split up, I've been in survival mode. I've pushed myself to work 7 days a week for months on end, I've not made a lot of time for friends or family, or any enjoyment of anything really. Its all been trying to make it on my own, trying to feel like I was secure and on my feet again.
When I went on vacation it was like a shock to my system. I cried the first hour or two heading home because I didn't wan't to leave. I knew then that I really need to make some changes, slow down, and find a way to start living and not just surviving.
I've already made a few changes since coming home, I've got someone who will be buying my chickens and coop, I've broken down the pond I had in the backyard, and made changes to how much I'm working at the barn. I had been pulling 55-60 hours a month at the barn only working Saturday and Sunday every weekend. I'm just trying to trim back in small ways on what I have to take care of on a daily basis.
I've been thinking about where I want to go, who I want to be (I'm only 26). I haven't finished college but going back is currently not an option. I'm not really in a career but I do have a very good job now working for an insurance agency, and I've been here almost 2 years so I should have the experience to land another similar job. I've tossed around the idea of learning equine massage (I have a thread about it here somewhere) and I've thought about moving and starting over somewhere. I've never really enjoyed living around the Kansas City area. A few years back I had a plan to move but it fell apart. The truth is, except for my animals I have nothing keeping me here. I could reasonably save enough money to go somewhere within 8-12 months and have money leftover to last several months "in case".
When I took my trip to NC and SC I loved it out there. I've been thinking about maybe moving out there next year. If I moved, it would mean a lot of changes aside from just relocating. I have 3 dogs and most likely would not be able to take them all. I might not be able to keep my rabbits either, it all depends on what kind of properties and landlords I could find. But lets face it, the cost of living is so much higher out there I probably couldn't afford more than a 1 bedroom apartment. I also couldn't take Phoenix. Right now I work for my board, and I have a super good super cheap deal. I'm positive I couldn't afford transportation or board for her out there. She is 2 1/2 now and turns 3 in March and it will be time to start her under saddle. Even if I don't move, the thought of trying to get out there and work with her and ride as much as she would need feels exhausting. I'm able to ride a couple horses at the barn right now, but even with them available to me I usually end up riding maybe once a month. Sometimes not even that. But at the same time, I adore her. I think that selling her would be best for her either way, and the money would certainly help me either way, but the thought hurts. The barn owner and the trainer are going to assist me in evaluating her this weekend, and see what a possible starting price might be. But I'm not sure I wont back out of the idea. I feel genuinely blessed to have ended up with a horse as nice as I have. But that makes me want all the more to do what is best for her.
But the truth is, I have no idea what I want. I feel absolutely directionless in life, like I'm just floating along waiting for something to happen. I don't know how to find my direction. I have no clue what I really want from life. I know I loved the Ocean. I know I loved SC. I know I like fishing and hiking and camping and generally being outdoors. I like the idea of moving, but it also terrifies me. Its taken me 4 years to be "stable" again. I know I love having animals, but one can always "rebuild" in a new location if I had to temporarily give some things up. But how do I know if I'm making the right choice? How do I know I'm not going to get out there and completely regret it. Is this the direction I really want to go and am meant to go? What do I want from my life... because that is really the question. And I have no idea.

ETA: I have another trip planned to go back to SC in November finances allowing, for a visit to maybe meet with some property managers and apartment buildings.
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you've imagined!

Mareless
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Re: Musings of the Directionless

Postby Mareless » Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:32 pm

Right now, you sound absolutely exhausted. Maybe once you cut back the hours you spend working, you will feel more like spending time with your horse. And if not, then that should be a sign whether you really want to think about keeping her and moving her. It's hard to let go, but sometimes it is what we need to do for a while. There are all kinds of horses out there; being horseless in the short term doesn't mean you'll never have one again.

Not to be preachy, just something I see in retrospect that I wish I had known years ago. I wouldn't have burned myself out so bad trying desperately to afford to keep a horse that I ended up rarely riding or spending time with because I was just too fried mentally and physically from all the hours I was putting in. It can be a vicious cycle.

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cb06
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Re: Musings of the Directionless

Postby cb06 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 4:01 pm

I'm so sorry you are going through this. Definitely time for a change.
NC and SC are nice areas. Lots of good schools, up-and-coming work opportunities AND horses! (Hello Tryon Equestrian Center, rumored to be future site of WEG).
My 2 cents from personal life-upheaval in the past...
You are smart to simplify your life now: Save money, rehome some animals (rabbit rescue/4-H?), sell your horse if you feel ready, cut any excess money or time suck.
Start your research for your move NOW: JOBS, cost of living in different areas SC/NC, quality of life (horses, hiking, etc), housing that accepts dogs/horses...Google is your friend.
Prepare yourself mentally: Think of this as a grand adventure, nothing is forever, change is hard but staying trapped in a rut is soul sucking. You are young and capable and there are so many upsides to making a change now. The more you prepare (above) the more comfortable and excited you will be with embracing the change.

One thing to think about, if you can possibly get a job at a University (and there are many really good ones in NC/SC), most will pay for a class or two a semester, even if you are administrative....look into that, it is a great option to have. Plus living near a University gives you access to cultural events, seminars, all kinds of stimulation to help you figure out 'what' you might want...a direction.
Many areas of NC/SC are horsey, and there are lower cost horse 'fix' options in the interim as you get back on track...lessons, world class equestrian events, lease? when you feel financially ready. While I was horseless in grad school I saved my meager penny's to take a lesson a month at a fabulous barn...I cannot tell you how much I looked forward to that.
Take a deep breath and small steps, you will get there....

Tarlo Farm
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Re: Musings of the Directionless

Postby Tarlo Farm » Wed Aug 10, 2016 7:06 pm

I can't remember how long you've been divorced, but it certainly sounds like you're one of those people (as am I) who deals with difficult situations by working more or finding other ways to keep busy. I think your exhaustion sounds normal, and also maybe your head is ready to start dealing with life and asking you to slow down a bit. Purge lots of stuff, sleep more, take the dogs for a walk, lighten your work/volunteer load, learn to be quiet with yourself.
I worry you may be jumping out of a fire and into a frying pan with a big move. Not to mention the thought of having to give up dogs (!) and/or your horse (!!) Just rest for another six month. Really rest. Meet friends for coffee or an adult beverage, walk the dogs, brush your horse, read, veg in front of a movie. Slow down first.

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Fatcat
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Re: Musings of the Directionless

Postby Fatcat » Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:13 pm

You're young, the twenties are for the directionless :) I would lighten your load, think about what you love and where you can do what you love, then look into finding a job in that region.

I would strongly urge you to get a college degree. It's really hard to make a living wage without one these days. Find your next job at a university that has a tuition "waiver" program. For instance when I was in my late 20s I knew I wanted to go back and get my masters degree, but couldn't afford to quit and go to school full time. So I found a position at a university that has a staff benefit of tuition fees of $25/credit hour. I worked full time, while taking one class a term, a slow but sure way to get it done.

Good luck, and try to go with the flow rather than swimming so hard upstream and burning yourself out.
An attitude of gratitude brings opportunites.

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Re: Musings of the Directionless

Postby PaulaO » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:11 pm

My advice: find a therapists and talk through this. Excellent advice in the previous posts. Do NOT sell Phoenix. She is your oasis of sanity. Slow down, take time to recover, and plan. Do not do anything spontaneous. You say it takes about 4 years to regroup yourself? Spend several months in down time, then think about regrouping. You need time to think.

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Chisamba
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Re: Musings of the Directionless

Postby Chisamba » Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:05 am

I have moved a lot. You always take yourself with you. Changing comes from within, not outside.

I am not saying don't move. I am saying that miving is stressful, and if you leave your dogs to.move you will have removed yourself from the creatures that love you unconditionally . Horses are important to me, but I realize it is not true for everyone. If you find her a good home to sell Phoenux to, and lighten your load, then re evaluate. That would be my suggestion.

Rabbits are not very expensive to.keep, if you have house rabbits keeping them might be easy until you move.

I am just giving you thoughts to consider.

Wishing you well

PhoenixRising
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Re: Musings of the Directionless

Postby PhoenixRising » Thu Aug 11, 2016 2:48 pm

The divorce was final December 2015, but we had been separated since fall of 2012. Tarlo's suggestions made me laugh a bit, as I've already been doing a LOT of what she suggested. I've been doing a full house purge (just got rid of 2 1/2 40gallon bags of clothes and shoes), I've been allowing myself more time to crochet. I finished an afghan in less than a month during July, which is the fastest I've ever done... I've been going to bed earlier, and trying to cut back on my workload (biggest reason for selling the chickens and breaking down the fish pond).
The thing is, as long as I have Phoenix I really cant slow down that much. Because I cant afford her board out of my regular budget. That is a lot of the consideration, that as much as I love her, I am too fried from working on the weekends as well to want to do anything with her. I've only gotten her out of the pasture 1-2 times this YEAR!! My thinking is to evaluate her and maybe offer her for sale, and if I get an offer then maybe it was meant to be... If not, then I know I'm supposed to keep her. I think if I moved I could find a way to get her out there, its the board I couldn't afford.
I haven't liked Kansas City since I was a kid. I think its dirty and run down, and I've always wanted to leave. Where I've wanted to go has changed over the years, but I have never wanted to stay. I wasn't happy at all when I was forced to come back and move back in with my parents when we separated. I cant help but think that NOW when I have nothing keeping me tied down is the time to move somewhere I like, but as stated its also a stressful thought. I like the idea that living out there, I would have access to the beach and with a drive east I could visit the smokeys and a drive north I could visit the Appalachian mountains. It would give me a lot of camping, hiking, and exploring opportunities.
If I pursue moving further, I will be looking ideally for a place all 3 dogs and my rabbits could go, but its unlikely as a lot of the places I've found are ruled by HOA's and it doesn't seem like an overly pet friendly area unless you own your home. They're all definitely staying for now (rabbits and dogs), until I have a further grasp on what I can get out there and if I'm SURE I want to go.
A friend of mine and her family also want to move to the same area ( only about a 2 1/2 hour move for them though!). I jokingly mentioned they should rent a house and then rent me a room in that house while we all get on our feet in a new area, to save us all a little money. She's all for the idea, but they also have 3 dogs. I highly doubt our ability to convince a landlord to allow 6 dogs even with her being a dog trainer, and me having been a trainer and teaching classes in the past. Its one of many options. When I go back in November the purpose of the trip is to look around and make more of a final decision then about if I want to move or not. I plan to spend time meeting with property managers, and just driving around looking at the neighborhoods. I think my friend will be meeting me in the area and looking at things at the same time, so hopefully I have more concrete ideas after that.
Working at a college is a great suggestion and definitely something I'm going to look into. I never intended to not finish my degree, I was at one time attending William Woods pursuing and Equestrian Science degree. But then I met my ex husband, got married, and it all went downhill from there.
I feel like even before I left on vacation my life was in a season of change. New people have been coming into my life who seem to truly have the intent of helping me become the best person I can be, and a few people have left who were keeping me down. I do have a therapist, but it has been awhile since I visited. I should probably schedule a visit again. I really prefer this specific therapist, he has seen me through the entire separation and divorce, and I feel like because of that he really understands where I am coming from. When my ex husband left, the grief that I felt was as if he had died. Looking back, a lot of that time is very foggy to me. I don't miss him now, I've grown a lot wiser since then, but the events that unfolded have done their damage. While most of the time I don't feel the need to go, I do still visit the therapist on occasion to talk things over. He agrees that what happened was deeply traumatizing to me, and that there may be a small bit of PTSD involved.
I just feel like its time for a change, whether I move or not. If I do move, I understand that I still go with myself. I also know that internally there has been a lot of personal change happening, and it all feels good and right. If I stay, I have to find a way to start enjoying life.
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you've imagined!

Tulsa
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Re: Musings of the Directionless

Postby Tulsa » Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:31 pm

Fwiw, when my brother lived in Charleston he had no problem finding pet friendly rentals (apartments and houses both) and that was with a super destructive 120lb frankenlab and a mean Chihuahua who refused to potty outside. So don't assume there's no hope of bringing the animals!

Tarlo Farm
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Re: Musings of the Directionless

Postby Tarlo Farm » Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:12 pm

Ok, less than a year. Stop chasing leisure too. :D Moving is expensive. All things in due time, it sounds like you're surrounding yourself with good people.

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Re: Musings of the Directionless

Postby fergusnc » Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:59 pm

I went to school for one of my degrees in Charleston. I, and other friends, had big dogs in apartments and rental houses while there. It is a very expensive city...give up any thoughts of living in Charleston proper without multiple roommates, and possibly in a less than ideal area of the city...if that even exists anymore with all of the gentrification. I personally could never live there full time as an employed adult, though I enjoyed school there. The tourists over run the place, and it was maddening to me. Living out in the beaches is nicer but still crowded and full of traffic at tourist time. It is VERY hot, and there are bugs like I am sure you have never seen in Kansas City. I say this having lived in the Carolinas for 27 of my 45 years, and I love the Carolinas. The people who love Charleston can't get enough of it. Other people are like me.
All that to say, Charleston may very well be your geographic soulmate, but it's good that you look at things from all angles before you pick up and move anywhere, especially if it means giving up or selling beloved family members. Do you think you could lease out your horse while you decide what to do? Even a free lease to a horse crazy teenager or an adult who just needs some barn time but can't afford a horse right now? That's all I had in my life until I was about 27...found owner after owner wanting someone to ride their horse when they didn't have time. And looking back, I would have enjoyed time with a non-riding horse just to get some horse time, if that was the only option...it wasn't all about riding. I know that wouldn't help you afford Phoenix any better but maybe you'd feel less stress about not having time to spend together.
It sounds like you have been trying on lots of hats in your mind...new career options, the consideration of a fixer upper place not too long ago, moving, leaving animals behind...small bites, small steps. But enjoy the research and the process!

PhoenixRising
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Re: Musings of the Directionless

Postby PhoenixRising » Tue Oct 11, 2016 4:22 pm

I still haven't figured out what I really want. But I do know this, after stepping back and taking a bit of a breather for a couple months (worked a few less hours, and cut back on a few things I didn't care so much for).
I don't want to sell Phoenix.
I don't want to re-home any of my dogs.
I don't want to stop breeding rabbits.
Do I know much else? No. I know that I want to put Phoenix in training this spring, which will be expensive. I also know my dogs are rabbits can be pricey, but I so enjoy them all.
So, I'm planning to join a direct sales company that I can work mostly from home in the evenings on, and I plan to make it pay for Phoenix's training and the equipment I'm going to need for her. I never thought I would want to do any direct sales, but this company appeals to me. I know its still work, and that I will still be incredibly busy. But if I do this job in the evenings during the week, I hope to be able to enjoy my time with her on the weekends more. Maybe work less hours at the barn and pay for her board so that I can enjoy and relax more in the time I have there. (Right now I work for 100% of her board).
Do I want to move still? Maybe. But maybe now isn't quite the right time. I'd rather take advantage of the fantastic training both Phoenix and I have at our fingertips here. I'd also rather wait, until I'm sure the whole gang could go with me.
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you've imagined!


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