If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you are lucky enough.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Saturday, May 04, 2019

T-30 days

It is May 1st as I am writing the post, although I plan not to put it online for a few days. There're hurdles, still, I'd like to overcome and not jinx...

We made our last "visit" to Colorado Springs. Visit, because next time we travel there - it will be traveling home. And the visits, from there on, will be here, to Austin. It is actually happening...Are we excited? Yes and now. For years you are wrapped into an identity "one day I move to the mountains", and when it comes to fruition, it's a little bit of a lost feeling, a lost identity feeling. Dream is here, so it's no longer a dream? But there's still so much that have to fall in place, that dream is still feels unattainable.
The stay in CO was great though. We totally lucked out on the weather. There were house chores - setting up trash services and disposing of some 30 bags of raked leaves since Thanksgiving trip, plus the furniture boxes to recycle. The internet was connected, and Larry did a mock "remote working" for a couple of mornings. It went smoothly. We got a TV and hooked it to our Roku channel (no cable for this family). There was exciting (and expensive) visit to a local ski shop - oh, yes, we splurged on a brand new two full sets of ski gear, plus Monarch ski passes! My last ski set was left behind in Portland, 10 years ago, and technology has gotten so far! These skis and boots were not cheap, but my God, so awesome, and apparently have over 10 years longevity promise. I plan to downhill my life in them until the end days (at least until the end os my skiing life). So many opportunities for great outdoors in this place! I'm yet to figure out cross-country skiing, but the places offering downhill skiing are all squared away and within some 2 hrs drive. It is such a gift to have things to do in every season right at your door step!
We did our morning runs, and my pace is still miraculously far faster than in Texas. I stopped carrying my phone, yet the sunrises continue to blow my mind every single time. I explored some new territories, took new turns and directions, enjoyed my moving meditation. Peaceful as peaceful gets.

One day we did a short hike at the Bear Creek park, where that 30k we both signed up for will start. Beautiful site, such an unassuming place leading with a single track straight into the mountains. A paradise, indeed. Although, for sure, we''re in for a good dose of suffering. Between the distance neither one of us had gone in, like, forever, a thin air, and the climbs from the get-go, it'll be humbling and pretty much destroying our running self-esteem. I can only laugh inside, because I think I am ready for humiliation, but truly, I have no clue what to expect. I am not backing away though. I want it, in a weird way. :)

It is just the beginning of Spring in Colorado, and it feels exactly how it's supposed to feel at the end of April. Leaves are not out yet, but the trees are blooming with flowers. The smells are intoxicating, and the colors are amazing. It reminds me home, the way I grew up. Lots of walking downtown provided for enjoyment of all the variety around. I sent pictures to my sister, and she said the same thing - Moscow on May 1st. Nearly 10 years living in ever-green state didn't stop from longing the natural cycle of life. Seasons. The way nature is intended. Sleep, wake up and bloom, blossom, turn color and fall. Everything is ok with the world here. I am finally moving home.
I jumped on a "first week of yoga is free" offer in one of the local studios and took 4 classes in 4 days. That was rather nice! Though I am not that big into daily yoga any longer, nor do I enjoy heated classes, for a vacation - and for free - it was a clear winner. Met some nice people. There are 2 studios in less than 1.5 miles from home - I can walk there (and I did). One of the perks of living not in a suburb, with a great sidewalks system, and views that leave you in awe every time. All of this while Larry was fighting dandelions:)
Of course, there was knitting! I feverishly finished a green sweater for Larry so I can leave it behind and not take it back to Texas. It was a delight to knit - and to see his happy eyes. We visited local coffee shops and had some local hops, too. There was a yarn shop, for sure. Sadly, this downtown yarn store is closing by the time we move, but maybe it's a good thing for the pocket book. However, I would like to find a knitting group and participate in a get-together once a month or so, could be a way to some social life in the future.
Last full day was capped with a run/hike on Pikes Peak trail system, and boy, are we out of mountain shape! But it was beautiful, and oh, so rewarding and promising miles to come...We quickly realized uphill running for us is out of reach, but downhill legs still available to some extent. It was a lot of solitude, amazing vistas, hard work - in a mere 10 miles. The loop took us around the side of Incline via trails and carriage dirt road surrounded by trees and views, then dropped us back to the top of it with some bushwhacking involved, and from there connected to Barr trail down. The opportunities to explore are endless here!



We drove back to Austin, and went pretty much straight from the high mountains of Colorado into our friends' house in Hill Country Texas. Lost of friends gathered together for Henry and Janice housewarming - and annual crawfish boil. So much fun! I always love seeing the running community, folks we spent years racing with and drinking beer on random occasions, shared suffering and joys of ultrarunning, and enjoy relaxing around good people, feeling loved and belonging. God, as little as we have been around each other last few years, we are going to miss them. The connections we made through our whacky sport are pretty tight with a good number of people, shared memories, shared "no longer in it" too...


All this above was happening while our Austin home went on a market...and within 36 hrs got offers. It is a beautiful home, and we put quite some equity, plus Larry's sweat, blood and tears into making it so. It is officially the longest one-place I lived in continually including my parents' apartment in Kuncevo, Moscow (and that was, obviously, not MY living quarters). That is a scary thought. I never thought I'd be attached to a place - but I also never stayed in a place for so long. This is home where I felt I made it mine. It is too big right now, without kids in it any longer, and it feels right to leave it behind - yet it still sad to part. We hope whomever comes in appreciates all the touches and lives here happily and long. 
I got really sick after the trip. Like, really, really sick. With no relief from any OTC meds at all. And I am anxious about the future, about the sale, the last month here, my job, how to tell everyone I am leaving, what to do once we move...so much scary.

P.s. as I mentioned at the very beginning, this is getting released some days later. My health has improved, so did my mood. Some of the darkness lifted, many of the hurdles were passed, and a number of those still left are not nearly as daunting. This is a trial time, still, moving across the country at the age of 50 into a complete unknown, even if a desired place. I am ridden by anxieties, and I am not going to sugar-coat it. This is my blog, my thoughts. I told my work management that I am leaving. I've been preparing for this conversation, yet it blurted out almost by accident. Now it's getting really real. More real than when we bought the house in CO or put our home here on the market. Because to me it's all about human factor. People connection. In my line of work, it sure is all about people, top to bottom. It's been great 5 years at this place. I am going to miss my clients so much (and already get their sad remarks to say the least). I might have not been best friends with any of the co-workers, but we've developed strong relationships, and I always felt admired and accepted and respected. The management treated me really well, and the pay can not be understated. I will not find this kind of hourly rate ahead of me...

Despite general "we're going after the dream", I am a normal human, not a bogus inspirational speaker for production. While I certainly hope (know?) we will overcome the obstacles ahead, right now it is nose to the ground. I've moved that big a few other times in my life: from Russia to US/NYC, then across the country to Portland, OR, then packed and came to Texas. Each time it was extremely terrifying, no job security, no friends, no clear prospects, nobody to hold hand. While Austin is not particularly dear to our hearts, neither for the weather, nor for absence of the mountains, season, tall trees, small community feel...it is a familiar city we grew to know. We may not have enjoyed or used all it has to offer - not our cup of tea, the music and the eating/drinking scene - but still, it provided for us stability. I am not alone, of course, moving and changing life's path. It doesn't make it easier on anyone, and I am not here to pretend, I am here to express myself. The older we get, the sharper the feelings of uncertainty are. Yet at the same time, deep down, I do know that every time I dug my heels into the Earth for stability and made a change I decided to make, it worked. The path of our life is unknown, the turns we take direct us somewhere we might have not expected. Who knows how it would be if a different angle was explored? Alas, no reason to dwell. The mountains are calling. When the fear rises, I read these words sent to me awhile back:
"You know what keeps me going?  A vivid image in my mind that I’ve had for years.
I’m sitting on our front porch with my feet resting on the porch steps looking and just being in the moment that, after a lifetime dream, here. You’re sitting next to me, hip-to-hip with your head resting on my shoulder.
I’m at total peace and know the fight is over. The mountains are near, the air is dry, and the nights cold. A small smile is on my face-- I am finally home..."
And my heart whispers back: "You do what it takes, and I do what it takes, and God willing, it will bring us to the path that will lead to happiness, however long and twisted it may be."

2 comments:

Lila said...

My town's library organizes a knitting club, maybe check with your new library for something similar?

Those photos of the mountains look so gorgeous and sunny! Every time I've been to Colorado the weather never failed to be awesome, blue skies all the time!! Best wishes with the move!

Olga said...

Thank you, Lila! I heard one of the local coffee shops has a knitting group. Also, Nextdoor can be of source. I'll figure it out, eventually:)

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