The 15-Year Plan

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I spent today pouring over this book.

Not just because it’s January. Or that our high today was 6 degrees with a ridiculous windchill around
-35 (some 20-year record for the Midwest). Not just because I love the outdoors; camping and going for walks; or greatly miss the sound of Mother Nature when penned up inside with two unruly hooligans who have Cabin Fever. As do I.

While all of those reasons apply, I read that book cover to cover because — let’s face it, people! — I need more.

Not more stuff. More activity. Or even more money (although that’s a nice dream, too).

I need to have a goal. A dream. A big item on my Bucket List. Something to look forward to — even thought it’s down the road when the kids are grown — that is all mine.

Something to research. Plan. Save for. Something to meticulously prepare for that does not involve laundry, meal-preparation, endless snack-making, or worrying about bathroom functions.

For anyone else but me.

I know I’m in the “hard years” right now. Young children that need to be educated and taught all sorts of manners and social graces. Even as they resist my attempts to do so. My bed being constantly invaded by blanket hogs even when my spouse is out of town (my youngest is classic at sleeping sideways on the bed, for pete’s sake). Bills to be paid. A house to be maintained. Navigating one child through SPD and ODD, and all that it means for her and our family. My 80-something Mom to assist. Laundry. Meals. Snacks. Bathroom functions. You get the picture.

There have been some days in the past year when my funk was deep enough that I wasn’t sure it was prudent to get out of bed. And I wouldn’t have, if it hadn’t been for those two hooligans to feed.

But at some point, I realized — I need to do this. I need to hike the Appalachian Trail someday.

By myself. Solo. Deliciously…delightfully…alone.

I can’t even imagine the wondrous, uninterrupted conversations that will take place in my currently oft-interrupted, constantly-demanded-upon, sleep-fuzzed, argument-tired brain. The sweet sound of birds uninterrupted by arguing siblings that will turn on me as one entity if I intervene. Feeling rain on my face and not hearing anyone else complain that they’re getting wet. Pitching a tent that only I get to sleep in. Not being asked for something to eat. Again. And then five minutes later.

I have nothing to prove to anyone. I just want to do it.

And working toward it may just help me survive these hard years of laundry, meals, snacks and bathroom functions.

At least, that’s the 15-year plan.

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