Young Widow Forum

Young Widow Forum => General Discussion => Topic started by: Leadfeather on October 31, 2017, 12:22:12 PM

Title: Has anyone runaway? Did it help?
Post by: Leadfeather on October 31, 2017, 12:22:12 PM
My wife and I were very into cycling. In fact I met her back in college when she was one of the group leaders for a month long bike tour of Australia. Well that is not completely true. I met her once before in the hallways of the art department and when I learned she was leading one of the groups for the trip I made damn sure I was in her group.

I find myself at a point in my life where I have very few responsibilities. The boys are both well on their way to adulthood. My oldest will be moving out at the end of the summer and my youngest will only be home in the summers. I can cover college for the youngest and I don't have any debt.

I have the ability to put my career on hold for a year. Actually quit and then go back to freelancing when I return to the work force. I am selling the house at the end of next summer to move somewhere smaller. It is tempting to take a year off, throw my tent and other essentials on the touring bike and circumnavigate the United States. But then I wonder if that will just make me feel more isolated.

It is something we talked about doing. Bike Touring. But it was always something we would do together. I am not sure this massive trip appeals to me at this time because I really want to do it or because it is a way to run away from some of the memories that are still raw. This would be one of those major decisions I would talk over with her. But since that is no longer possible I am throwing it out to the board.

So, those of you that are a few years out, what massive changes did you make. Are you glad you did it?
Title: Re: Has anyone runaway? Did it help?
Post by: hachi on October 31, 2017, 01:04:21 PM
While I couldn't run away on any kind of scale that you are comtemplating, I did take a couple of extended trips. Mostly places we had planned to go. I either went alone or with a girlfriend. I don't know much about cycling, but I would assume you would stop for the nights and find yourself in places with other travelers, or the local people. I did not find my travel time alone isolating, but rather I was much more inclined to engage with people wherever I went. I made some new friends in far away places, and have been back to visit some of them.

If I could take a year off to that, I would in a heartbeat. I hope you do this, if it is something you truly want to do.
Title: Re: Has anyone runaway? Did it help?
Post by: Trying on October 31, 2017, 02:37:51 PM
I made some big changes starting at about 2 years but nothing as big as taking off for a year.  Would you still be able to buy that smaller place so your kids still have a home base?

Can you try out a shorter bike trip, like 2 weeks, to see how you feel before taking such a big leap?

My other thought is that if you just go for it and it doesn't work out there is nothing saying you can't end it early.  The potential for it to be an amazing, life affirming, positive way to deal with your grief is real but you will never be able to run away from memories, they have an uncanny way of following us wherever we go.
Title: Re: Has anyone runaway? Did it help?
Post by: Wheelerswife on October 31, 2017, 03:45:01 PM
Ummm...I have kind of taken off the last 7 years.  I left my job and then decided to leave my profession 7 years ago when I moved to be with the man who became my second husband.  We lived on his salary (it was weird not being self-supporting) and I eventually went back to college/university and we traveled quite a bit.  And then he died.

After that, I continued school and I have traveled a lot within the country during school breaks.  I've taken a couple of cross-country excursions of 6 weeks or so, seeing national parks and visiting people I knew from my past.  Travel is MY drug of choice.  The freedom to move and the space to think calm my anxiety on some level.  In the summer of 2014, I posted a little bit on the board about my plans and I got to crash with some board members along the way.

Now, I am looking for work in a new profession - so far I have not found it - but I get in my car every couple of weeks and hit the road to visit people and to get some time alone.  Traveling always helps me.  I would have to be in a lot better physical shape to consider something like cycling, but if this is your go-to place, why not give it a try?

Title: Re: Has anyone runaway? Did it help?
Post by: tybec on October 31, 2017, 03:46:06 PM
It is the stuff of movies and great books!  Take off a year and experience things and regroup, rejuvenate, relearn who you are, etc.

I couldn't do it.   Too many responsibilities and my personality.  BUT IT REALLY SOUNDS AMAZING!  If you feel it may be isolating, make a plan to stop somewhere. Do some volunteer work somewhere and make that a destination on the ride.  Help some others which will help you, too.  What a gift!
Title: Re: Has anyone runaway? Did it help?
Post by: Leadfeather on October 31, 2017, 06:15:58 PM
Yes I could buy a smaller place when I returned, and while I am gone my sisters, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law and sister-in-law all live in town and have rooms for my sons to stay in or places to visit for home cooked meals and family time. And with my youngest 500 miles away I have found that FaceTime video conferencing is great for staying in touch with him, that same tech makes staying in touch on a long extended trip much easier.

I think I really want to do it, I am just second guessing myself because it would be a very big step and I want make sure I am making the choice from a good place.

And this last year riding on a bike has been my safe space. I have done several smaller rides the last being biking from Lansing Mi to the UP over 5 days. There is a real freedom in your only responsibility being to get up, bike 100 miles and enjoy a beer at the end of the day.

Kind of a rambling response but there you go.
Title: Re: Has anyone runaway? Did it help?
Post by: soloact on October 31, 2017, 07:25:58 PM
Sounds like a reasonable plan. If you do the entire year that's great. If you decide it's not what you expected you can always return and pick up on the plans you had for the year's end.
Title: Re: Has anyone runaway? Did it help?
Post by: Abitlost on October 31, 2017, 08:33:34 PM
If you make it to Colorado, I'll be your tour guide through our mountains.

Title: Re: Has anyone runaway? Did it help?
Post by: Trying on October 31, 2017, 09:13:42 PM
I wish I had your adventurous spirit, I say go for it!  It sounds like you have put real thought into this, not just whim. Maybe you could keep a written or video journal and share your journey. 
Title: Re: Has anyone runaway? Did it help?
Post by: twistedmensa on October 31, 2017, 11:49:42 PM
Do it. I would do it if I had the freedom. As it is, I probably will in a few years when my youngest graduates.
Title: Re: Has anyone runaway? Did it help?
Post by: klim on November 01, 2017, 08:08:59 AM
i could not do what you are suggesting even though it sounds like a very cathartic adventure and I would be able to as it sounds as if I am at a similar place with finances and family.
 I'm going to tell you why just to put another perspective on it.( You will know as you read this whether this will apply to your situation)
 My kids lost their dad, yes they are almost adults(mine are 19 and 21 at the moment) but losing a parent I imagine is very destabilizing.My sons were 15 and 17 when their dad died and maybe that makes a difference in the way i feel but one of my priorities was to ensure they still flourished. If I take away the home that is familiar to them and take off, I'm thinking that would amplify the effect of losing a parent.

you know your kids and what they can handle but in away I would think this would need a group discussion to make sure that they are in a good place and able to handle the extra disruption they will face.You are important in your almost adult kids life.

As I said this is the way it is here because of who I am and who my kids are. Your family dynamic nay be very different and this could be the coolest thing ever. Good luck with your decision
Title: Re: Has anyone runaway? Did it help?
Post by: hachi on November 01, 2017, 08:31:39 AM
I should also say that I wanted to take off about 6 months to hike the AT. I haven't completely given up the idea, although my family hates it. But at the rate I am going, I may be 70 before I am able to! LOL
Title: Re: Has anyone runaway? Did it help?
Post by: Kater on November 01, 2017, 12:54:35 PM
I am in the middle of my "run away" year :)  Although I prefer to call it my "figuring out what the he!! I'm supposed to do with my life now" year.

Like you, I don't really have much responsibility and so was able to take a one year leave of absence from work.  I pushed through for about a year and a half without a break after S died (funeral was on Friday, back to work on the following Monday) and I was tired.  I having a hard time caring about anything, my job included, and it was starting to show.   However, since I teach at University, I have 4 months off in the summer anyway, so my time off really is 16 months in total.  I am 6 months into it.

Learning how to really be on my own was part of the objective of the year.  I am currently in a city where I know nobody.  I am taking a yoga teacher training course and am teaching one class at the University (trying to see what life is like here and whether I might want to move), so I have social interaction almost daily.  Honestly, I am starting to enjoy this time to myself.  Of course, with technology, it is easy to keep in touch with family and friends, but I am finding less and less desire to do so.  I'm all about connecting and visiting with people, so I'm surprised, and frankly, a bit concerned, that I am becoming this comfortable on my own. the interest of full disclosure...I am in a new'ish relationship, however, he is in a different city so we don't see each other often but we do talk everyday, so I am not really feeling isolated because of that.

People have asked me why I picked this city.  A few years back, S and I were talking about moving further west and this was one of the cities that was on our list as a possibility.  In fact, this would have been about the time we would have been thinking of moving.  I do have many moments when I think that we were supposed to be here together. 

I have only made arrangements to be here until the end of December.  Really have no idea where I'll be after this.  Good chance, part of the time will be spent packing up "our" house and putting it up for sale.  Not even sure, at this point, that I will return to my home, which means leaving a good job and my community of friends.  Everything is up in the air at this moment. 

So did it help?  I don't know yet but it felt necessary.  It has given me some space to think about what I really want out of life, what is important and what isn't and to know that I can be OK on my own.

Good luck with your decision. 

Title: Re: Has anyone runaway? Did it help?
Post by: jgib on November 02, 2017, 12:43:28 PM
Go for it, Leadfeather!  Go for it! 
If you get to Western Canada look me up!  :)
Title: Re: Has anyone runaway? Did it help?
Post by: Captains wife on November 06, 2017, 08:15:35 AM
Since I have a young child I couldn't get away like you are describing - but after becoming a widow I did several extended trips to Asia and Europe on my own (and met up with people) and it did me the world of good. I started to feel like myself again during those trips. I also travelled a lot alone before I was married (and I married late). The trip idea sounds amazing and maybe the change in scenery and lifestyle would do you the world of good? I wouldn't worry about being lonely as I bet you would meet some interesting people along the way. I might be tempted if I were you to maybe join a tour or two during your travels to meet other singles travelling? Or find some friends who could meet you along certain legs of your journey?

My mantra is that life is short and its important to make the most of it. During the recession, my late husband and I left work, packed up our lives and bought a boat and sailed for almost 2 years. Ill never forget the experiences and places we saw.....

Wishing you all the best,
Title: Re: Has anyone runaway? Did it help?
Post by: Leadfeather on November 10, 2017, 09:24:54 AM
Thank you everyone for your advice and opinions. My commitment to what my sons need from me, means this will not happen for about a year if it happens at all. And I am rational enough to know that in a year my life could again change and my feelings on the matter might also change. At this point however I am leaning towards doing it.

In the meantime. I have a nice 8 day ride through Death Valley with an Adventure Cycling tour group to look forward to this coming March.
Title: Re: Has anyone runaway? Did it help?
Post by: mkth on November 10, 2017, 03:53:34 PM
I am so far out now but there are days where it just seems right back where we were.  My husband died in an accident when my children were quite young but 12 years later, my children and my life are exactly where yours are.

I couldn't run away because I had those two children who needed me there 24-7 BUT I do know that when I was away for short periods from the sad faces of friends and families, amongst people who didn't know of my hurt or confusion, there was incredible relief.  I felt that I could claim a bit of my identity back rather been seen purely as the young widow.  Conversations flowed to topics that calmed me and created moments where I remembered I once had interests and ambitions. 

You might find being alone without your children daunting at this point -- there is absolutely no time like the present to carpe diem.  I don't think you will regret it.

My $0.02.