As a little girl you don’t dream about growing up and becoming the crazy cat lady that lives around the corner. No way, her house smelled super funky when she let you in to give you candy at Halloween and she would keep you there for twenty minutes talking when you tried to collect her newspaper money. The stench was sad and lonely and cat pee. That was NOT what I was going to grow up to be like. Me and my little blue plastic type writer were headed to New York City to become a journalist and I was going to travel the world and live like a gypsy. I lost the blue typewriter and my virginity in the late 80’s and all of my plans went flying out the window, because……boys. I never headed off to college and by 1993 I was a mom. Your dreams will abandon you when you lose sight of them and then you wake up one day unhappily married with three kids and living in a trailer.
Flash forward twenty years and I find myself over forty and single. Can you guess how many crazy cat lady jokes have been tossed my way? A bazillion. This is one stereo-type I will without a doubt NOT live up to. It is just not going to happen. For one thing, I hate cats.
When the kids were young they talked me into going to the Humane Society to pick out Katie-Lynn. A few years later when a cousin needed a home for their kitten they couldn’t keep, guess where it ended up? Yup, Motley joined the ranks at our house. All of this was the kids and their pathetically cute faces wanting to get a kitty and me not able to say no. When the kids all moved out the cats were left behind with me. Again, let me remind you I hate cats. I chose to get a dog. I like him. I pet him, I talk to him, I recognize his existence. The cats, well…. I fed them. Yes, “fed”. Unfortunately the story with the cats didn’t end well and believe me when I say it was honestly none of my doing. Katie-Lynn ran away (I don’t really blame her) and Motley, who the dog was actually very fond of, began having seizures unexpectedly and died. So I can put to rest any notions of my becoming the crazy cat lady, ever. The dog can look at me with those sad eyes all he wants to try to convince me to get another cat, but he can’t bring one home so we shall remain a cat-free zone.
There was a brief moment that I tried on the crazy puppy lady hat, but that didn’t go so wonderfully either. Maybe donkeys……eh, but my neighbors have one named Julio and he’s kind of an ass.
So where does that leave me? You wake up one morning and wonder how the hell you got here. How did you stray so far off the path you were once ferociously determined to take? Do you relent and let nature take its course, moss growing up around your dreams and suffocating them so they never again feel the warmth of the sunshine? Not a chance. I will not let circumstances define who I should be or what I should be doing at this stage of my life and neither should you. Tap back into that youthful energy that thought anything was possible and do things that ignite passion in you again, that you love, and makes your heart happy. Don’t let dreary monotony sap the life from you. Kayak, hike, camp. Travel to new places. Take pictures! Explore old dilapidated forts. Change jobs. Make new friends. Reconnect with old friends. Write! Laugh. Do whatever it is that makes your crazy little soul happy. So call me whatever you want, but I will not go gentle into that good night. Gypsy. Hippy-dippy girl. Free-spirit. Crazy kayak chick. It’s all way better than letting the stench of the crazy cat lady seep in and take over my life. And if anyone has a stray kayak they’re looking for a good home for hit me up. I promise I’ll feed it and take good care of it and won’t let it run away like the cat did.
(and in case you thought I was making up the neighbors donkey….meet Julio)