Friday, April 05, 2013

1,001 Blog Posts & The Next Chapter

This is my one thousand and first blog post, which averages out to posting two times a week since I started.  I am no Scheherazade, but just finished watching a Taiwanese serial called “My Queen”:  A thirty-something journalist is pursued by a man eight years her junior.  East Asian television is a clean version of romance novels for middle-aged single women like me.  You know you are getting on in years when a girl you grew up with is appointed to the state Court of Appeals as a judge!

Since three months before Daddy died, I have been terrified of ending up homeless.  It occurred to me today that a specified period of homelessness could be beneficial for me, a condition I should embrace rather than run from.  Obviously, I am not speaking of giving up my apartment to sit on a park bench, but instead putting all my stuff that is worth holding on to into climate-controlled storage and embarking upon a limited career of couch-hopping.
Three days before my current apartment lease expires will be exactly eighteen months before my fortieth birthday.  I am not looking forward to that particular birthday.  Thirty was no problem—one is still considered fairly young—but forty is the official strait into the turbulent sea of middle age.  As one girlfriend who phoned me last Friday (on her daughter’s first birthday) remarked, “At forty, the wheels fall off.”  There are goals to be reached before forty.  I haven’t the chutzpah nor the self-confidence to write myself the legendary check for a million dollars, payable at that point, but I wonder if I shouldn’t do the next best thing: cut my expenses to the bone and work my buns off for a year and a half with the ultimate goal of buying a house (at least having enough to put down a sizable downpayment on one, if not pay for one in cash outright) on that infamous day.  Since my major expense is rent, I have to let the apartment go.

I have a lot of friends here in the DC area, most of whom have been kind enough to volunteer their guest rooms when I have needed them, and to say that I am welcome to crash there in the future.  Without wearing out my welcome at any one house (staying no more than a week, with two months between visits, and offering my hosts, say, $100 per stay plus a meal out for the whole family to cover any additional expenses their hospitality incurs) I think this is actually feasible.  I would have to live light, not toting much with me, but wouldn’t this be an even healthier modern alternative to a Walden retreat?  After all, Thoreau went home every week to do his laundry, so a friend once told me.

I’d need someone to offer to be my "home" for legal purposes, even if I didn’t stay with her at all—somewhere to get my mail, whence to file my taxes, and so forth.  I’d prefer to stay in Arlington County officially, even as I’d gallivant all over the Greater Washington area, because I love the Arlington library, particularly the online collection.  Anita has a guest room, Susan has a guest room, Mary has a guest room, as does my boss (with whom one of my coworkers has been staying for several weeks until she was able to find an apartment).  Leah has a very comfortable couch.  The German professor that I befriended at Georgetown has a couple of guest rooms.  Several other girlfriends and one young married couple I know may have room (three couples I know don’t have any extra space, and a single bathroom each, and I wouldn’t want to think of intruding on them). 

I could keep a journal about my adventures, and eat lots of Trader Joe’s salads.  I’d have to have my Christmas party somewhere else this year, but it’s doable.  Rather than moving back to GA without any employment in place, I could remain here and work.

Let me test the waters by asking possible hosts directly, and see where that takes me.  Eighteen months to economic freedom is an appealing prospect. And when I become a famous writer I could share stories of how I slept on friend’s couches while I was trying to make it big.

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