Life never ceases to provide copious opportunities to examine our behaviors, be it our goals, choices, morals, or even things as banal as our cell phone provider. The fools are not those who make poor (ignorant, hasty, or even selfish) decisions, but those who ignore the chance to reflect on them - or even worse, the chance to correct their own courses while they can.
First off, I am fine. P is fine, and so is our immediate family (both the furry, and less furry variety).
However, this week has brought the loss of one of my Aunts. Our relationship waxed and waned throughout the years, but having never had children of her own, she had always a certain amount of stake in my formative years (not to mention the endless bills for those early riding lessons). If you live in the Idaho area (I say like that massive state can be relegated to one "area"), then you might have heard about the semi-freak traffic accident that took her life, but if not, I'm sure that's a vague enough description that you can fill in the blanks with whatever unexplained, bizarre, against all odds sort of sudden death you may be picturing.
The family, is of course reeling as it should. And I am taking the time to examine my own life a bit closer.
For all of the love and respect that I have for my Aunt, I can't help but think about the many things I would have done differently and how I can only hope that when my time comes, I'm sitting in a very different situation than she was with regard to friends, family and loved ones. Rear view mirrors tend to be helpful in these situations, so I mostly hope to gain some perspective and move forward.
Separate from the issues surrounding my Aunt's passing are some rather large internal arguments over what my own next moves are. I am currently "out of love" with my job, but the ties to the family business are strong and aside from not wanting to divorce myself from it, the pragmatic voice in my clearly repeats that I obviously can't afford to let go of my salary at this point.
I've been debating the relative merits of some lifestyle changes. Ones that would allow for more personal time, but less cavalier spending (whether its tackoftheday.com or that extra girls weekend in Scottsdale)... but I keep coming up empty.
On one hand, I adore the simple pleasures - keeping a meticulous home, cooking fantastic food and enjoying my horse in her (potentially less lavish barn). But on the other, I also supremely value the time I spend exploring my city (and its pricier haunts) along with the frequent trips to not only wander new places, but keep close ties with old friends. Both could be counted as superficial I suppose, but they speak to bigger values, both of local craft and long time relationships..
The two topics have collided as this morning I realized that I will be receiving what I consider to be a sizable inheritance. It's not a change-the-world amount, but in all reality it could completely redefine my need to work in the foreseeable future (if I so choose). Though I've never been in a situation like this before, living off a lump sum seems foreign and odd, so I'm sure I'll manage some way to reinvest a majority of the funds into the business and most of it away for many years down the road...
I clearly won't be making any decisions without much guidance from my family, lawyers and a financial adviser, but for the moment I'm in the rather unfamiliar position of potentially being able to actually have "what I want." The tricky part, I suppose is trying to figure out what exactly that means.
For now, I'll be cherishing the days surrounded by family, taking stock of what I want and what I want to accomplish and maybe (just maybe) allowing myself a small splurge for Miss P.
(I must admit there's a fair amount of guilt radiating from the old catholic side of the family - but it's really hard not to zone out of family conversations in favor of daydreaming about dream barns and days away from the office...)
I'm off to Idaho to circle the proverbial wagons, but I hope everyone has a safe and lovely 4th...