Post-50 Adventures: On the Road in 2016

Post-50 Adventures: On the Road in 2016


On the Road Ice Skating Lauren Chesley

Happy New Year. I am certain I am not alone this week thinking about what 2016 will look like. Or, equally pressing question…where the hell did 2015 go?

On the Road Duffel Bag PackedWhere to begin? Funny how it seems I have come almost full circle. I spent much of 2015 packing, purging and preparing. However, here I sit with three days left in the year, schlepping yet again a giant LL Bean turquoise duffel bag full of “stuff,” still pondering both the year ahead and the one I am grateful for and equally happy to leave behind.

The last child emptied the nest this year, but family crises and kids in need still have me happily on call, and this all on top of my biggest adventure of moving to Chicago.

PHEW. I have truly learned the meaning of resilience and rebirth. I am actually pretty proud of myself. I packed up a 53 year life of memories and “stuff.” I sent my last and final child to college and re-booted my life in Chicago.

A Fearful Terrifying Fearless Leap

I would like to tell you it was a fearless leap into the unknown…it was definitely a leap but it was actually terrifying and exhausting. Building a new beginning at the halfway point in life is traumatic. The Mary Tyler Moore Show is pure fiction. But, even without the fictitious BFF Rhoda Morgenstern by my side, I did it! It’s a work in progress, but at least I can say in 2015 I made some steps.

I have interesting new friends…great work prospects…and some hilarious stories of random weird blind dates (future blog posts). I know every aisle of the grocery store. I know not to buy a half-gallon of milk anymore…I have to carry those bags home myself. I’m a “regular” in my neighborhood…even the owner of the dry cleaner brings me fresh Asian pears. I navigated the DMV and managed to pass the Illinois driving test. It did take two attempts. (Ok—so I didn’t study and there were some trick questions…driving laws must be stricter in Chicago).

However, today I am back in Cincinnati (just visiting, with my college son—hence the giant blue duffel). It is very strange to be in Cinci and not to have a home here anymore (hence the schlepping). I never realized how much I would miss not having a home base here. There is something safe and comfortable about the predictable and the familiar…and sometimes we all need to feel like we are home.

In this year of packing and purging and letting go, I am trying desperately today to move beyond what is “no longer.” I have become hormonally sentimental. Today everything in Cincinnati makes me hold back tears. Why is it that even bad memories seem good with a little distance?

I’m trying to remind myself that new beginnings take time…but patience is not one of my best virtues. I once soaked brand new Top-Siders in the bathtub so they would look “cool” and worn-in. Was I the only one who did that? Yes—I wish that my new home in Chicago instantly felt like the worn in Top-Siders I wore in the 8th grade. I wish that I honestly believed the pillow on my couch that says, “Home is where your mom is.” I wish that change was easy.

But I also know that good “stuff” comes with patience and courage. Isn’t there a saying like, “good things come to those who wait?” My own mother would say, “Just get over it,” or “move on.” But I think she would be proud of me. I hope she is watching.

On the Road Ice Skating Family in ChicagoIn fact she loved Christmas. Chicago at Christmas was pretty great. I was lucky enough to share my new very “cozy” home (aka apartment) with three of my four children before they sprinted (I mean sprinted) off to a better offer with boyfriends elsewhere. I am good with that—moving on is moving on.

I am not sad to say goodbye to 2015. Remember that change is hard and scary and unknown. Damn—being 50-something is hard and scary and unknown. But at least we get to move on and turn the page.

With the New Year on the horizon, remember it’s always good to find something to celebrate! What does 2016 look like for you? Make a short list (no need to over-achieve on the list.) What’s at the top of my list? Have you heard of “Where’s Waldo?” How about “Where’s Lauren?”

On the Road Ice Skating Millennium ParkHappy New Year. Stay tuned…


Unapologetically You Post-50. Reinvention, Lifestyle, Relationships.

  • 1010parkplace
    Posted at 12:40h, 29 December Reply

    Hi Lauren!
    Boy, do I identify with this post! My 2016–January to be exact–will see me leaving a home I love and creating a new life someplace else. Here’s to both of our new adventures! BTW, I sent you a note via your contact link.
    Brenda Coffee

Post A Comment