Friday, April 20, 2012

Just a girl on a bike

Just a happy, out-of-work girl on a bike with a funny little dog.
In recent posts I've alluded to stress and change in our life.  We would like to include hope but at the moment, we are facing some unknowns.  A few weeks back I resigned my job, something I should have done a long time ago but didn't because I wanted to retain my health insurance rather than shell out the dollars to be on Bob's plan.  I quit my job because I know that better things await us but we won't get to them if I continue in a dead end position.  So after weighing the possibility for almost a year, I've decided to go back to school this fall and pursue a Masters Degree in Social Work, returning to a career that I left 10 years ago.  I've been accepted at one program and am awaiting news from another.  In order to facilitate the decision, we decided to follow through with the tough decision to short sell our house (because that's about all you can do in Arizona; not that homeowners in California, Nevada or Florida are unfamiliar with this sad state of affairs) so that we can be more ready to respond to whatever the next few months bring.  More than likely, once school starts we'll have to live apart during the week and see each the other on the weekends and holidays.  Not our preference but a lot of things have happened in the last few years that weren't on our Top 10 list.  We push forward, taking one day at a time and reminding ourselves that we have a lot of company and probably more options than quite a few in this age of the Great Recession.

Favorite bike parking on Phoenix Avenue.  It's April and not a green leaf in sight.
Someone asked me the other night what I did.  "Right now, I'm just a girl on a bike," I said with a wry smile and a little sigh.  That's not so bad.  Twice this week I met Bob for happy hour downtown and we biked home together under the stars.

BSH bike corral and sign is the perfect marriage of form and function.
One afternoon, I met up with Ted at Bike Shop Hub to pick up some bike accessories, a wheel stabilizer and a double pronged kickstand for the Breezer, that he'd ordered for me, as well as admire the handsome porteur rack he recently installed on his beater bike.  A nice way to kill a mid afternoon hour, if I do say so.  In between, I did some here-and-there pedaling, checking out the progress of the landscaping at the shipping container house and dropping in on a local merchant to inquire about an idea for a blog post featuring her shop.  As I write this post, I've even penciled in a Democratic women's luncheon to hear the two mayoral candidates speak.  I'll bike there and enjoy a guilt-free fish taco plate.

Pretty sure that Bob and I would be happy in a shipping container house (on a light rail route, of course).
So, for the moment, I'm going to say goodbye to stress and hello (again) to hope and change.  Not sure where I'll be attending school this fall but in both cases I'm excited that I'll be able to combine biking and public transit to get around.  In either city, we have family and friends who will certainly get me up to speed on all the best routes.  Obviously, my plans will have a big impact on the content of She Rides a Bike, since both schools are in large urban centers (with rail!).  Thinking about how SRaB will evolve in the next year excites me almost as much as the idea of returning to school (just a few months short of my 50th birthday, too!).  Until then, bear with me.  Posts have been spotty of late, and this has been the reason.

19 comments:

Jackie Dishner said...

I'm thinking of you as you make this transition. Just wanted you to know...

@bikelady

She Rides a Bike said...

Thank you, Jackie. Exciting and a little scary at the same time.

anniebikes said...

I hear you. It's scary, but the transition holds promise. It's more difficult to change as we age. I'll be thinking of you in the next few months. Biking will be your constant between what was and what will be.

Chafed said...

"Not our preference but a lot of things have happened in the last few years that weren't on our Top 10 list."

When I moved to California I was worried about disrupting my kids (again) and my mother helpfully (not) said "It's a shame you haven't been able to give the girls more stability." I wish I'd had your above quote to hand her back.

My bicycle always makes me feel a little better, even more so when life is uncertain. And life is uncertain.

California turned out to be one of the best decision I have made to date although definitely one of the scariest. I wish the same for you -- good stuff, not the scary.

She Rides a Bike said...

Looks like the post hits home with several readers. I think one thing that definitely is helping me through this transition is that even though Bob and I have had to endure some disappointment, we've done it together. Though sometimes not seeing eye-to-eye we've been there for one another. Additionally, we seem to know so many other couples who are dealing with the same questions, similar stressers and, on top of all that, have to deal with how yet another change will affect their kids.

We started bike commuting in 2008 to help deal with the high cost of living in Flagstaff. It turned out to have so many added benefits, especially for our mental health. Wherever we land, I'm glad bike commuting is something good that we can take with us.

Dan said...

Very impressed with the decision to go back to school.

It is definitely tougher for adults to live on no money that 20 year olds, but I'm sure you can handle it.

I've always thought that college experience is wasted on the young.

DAN said...

Nice

Ben said...

Good luck with all the change and take care! I recommend some Pema Chodron to mix into all your change.

She Rides a Bike said...

@Ben: What is Pema Cnodron?

She Rides a Bike said...

@Ben: What is Pema Cnodron?

Sherrill said...

Congratulations! Some rewards are soooo worth the risk! I found myself in the same situation several years ago. Wanting to do something else, but not sure of how to go about it. Frustrated in my job, trying to go to school to complete my bio degree; it just wasn’t working. It took two years of planning to put it in motion (my hubby needs to ease into life changing financial situations!). Tho’ we sold our home at the peak of the market, it is still a challenge, but when you set your mind to it, the sacrifices are so much easier.

My husband was abt 5 yrs from retirement (we are now 50 & 53 yrs). We’d already bought rural property in NorCal, so we sold our SoCal house, I quit my job ($60K/yr + benefits), paid off some bills, I moved to the property to start building our retirement home, while I returned to school to finish my Bio degree. Hubby stayed in SoCal in an RV trailer on a friend’s commercial property. We saw each other abt every 3 wks.

Best decision I ever made. Hubby ended up retiring a few yrs earlier, and tho’ I can’t say we live extravagantly, we certainly are far better off than most. Happiness and contentment is sometimes better than what the mainstream considers to be success.

Oh, and when people would ask me what I do (for work), I just tell them, "I'm unemployed, so I do whatever I want!". You get the strangest looks!

Best of luck to you!

She Rides a Bike said...

Good story Sherrill! Thx for the inspiration.

Melanie Suzanne said...

My gracious. Best of luck to you and yours. I'm rooting for you on the other side of the country. :)

Cruiser Dolly said...

w2e will always fear change..its a human normality..its only normal with a big life-altering step like this, but your head seems to be on the right track. Whats life without risks?!

ps..im totally jelly of your dahon folding bike...like ALWAYS jelly!

CD x
cruiserdolly.blogspot.com

She Rides a Bike said...

Thanks Cruiser Dolly! We're definitely feeling upbeat, despite all the unknowns.

And the Dahon is fun. While waiting patiently yesterday for a group of tween boys on mountain bikes to dislodge themselves from a bike corral yesterday, I got some envious looks and two, "I really like your bike" comments. So it looks like you aren't the only one who turns to jelly at the sight of a folding bike.

Julie H said...

You're so awesome & brave for making these changes. I commend you!

Good luck with your continued education.

You could help Daisy start her own twitter or Instagram #instadog in the meantime :) I think she's a super star.

She Rides a Bike said...

I'll speak to Daisy about Twitter and Instagram; she loves tot be the center of attention.

Sam said...

Pema Chodron is a western Buddhist monk and an amazing writer. She underwent some very trying times and although she choose to pursue Buddhism, I think you'd relate to her writings a lot. I love "When Things Fall Apart".

Although I wasn't besot by stress like you were, I'm grateful to be able to have the opportunity to do what I am doing now. I wish the same peace of mind for you too.

She Rides a Bike said...

Thx for the info, Sam! I am regaining self esteem w/it each day of unemployment. Odd but these are the times we live in.