Let’s Catch Up, Shall We?

by Chloe Jeffreys · 36 comments

in Women in Midlife

I’M BEGINNING TO WONDER if life really does go faster when you get older. I keep meaning to sit down and write, but there never is any time. So I thought I’d put together a synopsis of my last six months and call it:

Ten major things that have happened in my life since October.

October

1. Generation Fabulous turned out to be not quite so fabulous.

GenFab Cut Down

This was a heart-breaker, but c’est la vie. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? I’m not the first person in history to learn that you should never go into business with a friend…or a stranger either, for that matter. 

The good news is that the crash and burn of this venture forced me to face some cold, hard facts. Namely, that I know nothing about swimming with sharks running a business. And that’s okay.

2. I went to Haiti with Midwives for Haiti.

Haiti

I wish I could say that I made some sort of difference in Haiti, but I’m afraid that Haiti is exactly the same now as it was before I went. The only one who is different is me. But that alone made the trip more than worthwhile.

While I was in Haiti I reconnected with my first passion and remembered why I became a nurse in the first place.

And like Dorothy at the end of her adventures in Oz realizing that she never really needed those ruby slippers to find her way home, I realized that I never needed blogging to turn my dreams into reality.

NOTE TO SELF: Blogging isn’t a reliable vehicle; it’s just a damned good way to describe the ride.

Maybe I’ll get a tattoo across my chest to remind me what I’ve always known.

tattoo

November

3. I Became a Traveling Nurse

After I returned home from Haiti I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next, but I knew a couple of things for sure: I wanted to stay off of social media, and I needed to make some money to help plug up the money drain.

Fortuitously, within a few days after I got home, I received a text message about a job from a travel nurse company I’d talked to over two years ago.

The job offer looked decent, the pay wasn’t half bad (no kidding), and best of all it would take me off the mountain for the winter but not too far away that my husband and I couldn’t see each other frequently. So, with my husband’s blessing I decided to try my hand at travel nursing and off to the Bay Area I went.

Here’s my view from my first day of orientation. Not bad, huh?

Lake Merritt

I love travel nursing.

What started off as an 8-week assignment turned into four months of the funnest job I’ve ever had. Two weeks ago I signed my second contract with another facility, and soon I’ll be off to somewhere new. I can’t wait!

Thanksgiving

4. My husband and I went to San Diego.

Just before the start of my travel contract my stepfather-in-law passed away. Ed was a wonderful man and a good grandfather to my children. He will be missed.

Our plans for our entire family to go to the funeral bit the dust when several of us contracted food poisoning and couldn’t make it. My husband and I ended up going alone and staying for a week in a pretty little house we rented in Mission Beach.

Every night we walked out our front door to watch the sunset.

Mission Beach

December

5. We spent Christmas in San Francisco.

Christmas Union Square

One of the best parts of travel nursing is that I get to choose where I work. For my first assignment I chose a hospital near San Francisco. I love that city and it’s close enough to the Mountain so that I’d see plenty of my husband and maybe we’d fit in a mini-vacation or two (or three).

On our first getaway we stayed at the Mark Hopkins Hotel where we enjoyed this breathtaking view of San Francisco at night:

Top of the Mark

And we did touristy things like ride the cable car…

Cable Car

…and eat at Fisherman’s Wharf:

Fisherman's Wharf

January

6. We went to Napa.

The French Laundry

The hospital where I was assigned was very close to Napa. I have extremely fond memories of a vacation we took to Napa years ago right after my son left home. I couldn’t wait to get back.

We had a fantastic time in Napa. Expect to see a blog post dedicated just to this trip. We ate, drank and were extremely merry thanks in no small part to wonderful wineries like Hopper Creek…

Hopper Creek Winery

 

…and crab cakes at The Market in St. Helena:

The Market Restaurant

February

7. Sam’s Adoption was Finalized!

Our family can hardly contain our joy that Sam is finally ours forever!

Introducing Sam

Sam has made me the happiest and proudest Grandma ever!

I'm a Grandma

February

8. We went to New Orleans

Using our United Airlines frequent flier miles wisely, my husband and I planned a bucket list trip to NOLA. 

The Big Easy did not disappoint.

The Big Easy

Again, this trip needs its own blog post. I hope I write it. We had a MARVELOUS time. My liver has almost recovered.

March

9. I went to Washington as a UN Social Good Fellow for Shot@Life

This trip of a lifetime I wrote about already. I am so grateful and honored to have been chosen to be part of this fantastic experience as a Blogust Blogger.

I only had about three hours to play tourist while I was in Washington, but I did get to see the Lincoln Memorial.

Lincoln Memorial

April

10. We’re Downsizing!

Yes. In seven days the movers are coming to take us away from our beautiful home in the cedars and deposit us, along with much less of our stuff, into a smaller rental in the housing tracts.

The reasons behind this decision can’t be contained in even one blog post.  Maybe it needs an entire blog of its own if I ever had the time to write it. Suffice it to say that it is the right decision, at the right time, and for all the right reasons.

I hinted that there were major changes coming over a year ago when I talked about holding a fire sale on my life. I just didn’t realize all the chaff that would end up burnt and blown away.

But burnt it is, bridges and all. And for once in my life–even as those holding the can of gasoline and box of matches stand there pointing at me–I’m not the one who set the fire. Not this time.

But all that’s over now.

And for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, and in sickness and in health, Jeff and I are on our way.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Pamela Mason April 11, 2014 at 2:41 pm

You and your husband look like you’re having the time of your lives! And not only that, but looking for the best yet to come.

I’m sad I wasn’t in NOLA with you. I could’ve taken you to eat at Rocky & Carlo’s in my hometown – Arabi, in St. Bernard. Ah well… another time perhaps. I’m happy you did get to experience my New Orleans at such a great time of year and see some Mardi Gras.

I love what you wrote about not realizing all the chaff that would burn away. I suppose that’s what it is, and perhaps we don’t get to pick and choose what will burn and what we get to keep. Maybe that’s the point – that we’re forced to snag what’s most important to us and to run with it. And looks like you’re coming to recognize it now.
Not everybody should be so lucky or blessed.

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Lori Lavender Luz April 11, 2014 at 1:59 pm

I’m envious of your travels. And congrats on your grandson’s birthday! What a lovely family.

Your sentence about blogging is so true, and so easy to slip from one to the other.
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Mary Buchan April 3, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Chloe, I love your transparency. I hope I can meet you in person soon. We have so much in common: mid-lifers, nurses, empty-nesters, down-sizers, life-reiventors, trail-blazers, aging with attitude, loving the adventure of life. Love you tons!

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Chloe Jeffreys April 6, 2014 at 10:12 am

Mary I hope we can me too. I’d love for that to happen. You and I do have so much in common. It seems that nurses have extra challenges in their middle years. It’s a hard job which is why I was looking outside of it for a way to make a living. But it really can’t be beat as far as income and flexibility goes. And when it is satisfying it’s the best.
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Carol Cassara April 3, 2014 at 7:25 am

Never a dull moment–the sign of a very full and fulfilling life!
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Chloe Jeffreys April 3, 2014 at 10:53 am

Isn’t this the truth, Carol? And I never even got to the part where you and I had a lovely lunch in San Jose. That was certainly a major highlight of the last six months for me. I hope we’ll do it again. There’s always great assignments in that area.
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Brenda April 3, 2014 at 5:23 am

It’s so good to hear about you guys doing well. That fire is so hot and painful when it’s burning off the chaff but so worth it in the end.

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Chloe Jeffreys April 3, 2014 at 10:54 am

Brenda, it hurt like holy hell. I just couldn’t believe that someone I cared about that much could stoop so low. But it happens. It happened. And sometimes there’s nothing let to do but wash your hands and move on. And I have. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I really do believe that the second half of life after the kids are gone can be the best years of our lives. It’s all about the choices we make.
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Julie Chenell DeNeen April 3, 2014 at 4:48 am

Your life has been a whirlwind. Holy cow! Love that photo of your family with the new little one. :)
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Chloe Jeffreys April 3, 2014 at 11:00 am

Holy cow is right. The best part is that my husband and I did so many things together. People keep asking me if travel nursing is hard on our marriage and I laugh. We spend more time together now than I did when I was doing Generation Fabulous. I traveled a lot then without him, and even when I was home I was stuck on the computer a lot. Social media is EXTREMELY time-consuming. It’s no accident that so many marriages bite the dust.

We both work long hours, but enjoy numerous days off. We can use those to really spend time together doing things we both love to do, like traveling. And I don’t hear the siren call of Twitter or Facebook demanding my presence lest I miss out on something and fall behind. The funny part? I was missing out on living a real life.

By the way, I’m really enjoying that you and your husband have found a way to do social media together through your show on marriage.
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Wendrie Heywood April 3, 2014 at 12:37 am

Loved the whirlwind synopsis and the positive ending. So glad that you are getting to restart and reshape your life. May there be as many blessings in the new house and years ahead as you can cope with :)

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Chloe Jeffreys April 3, 2014 at 11:02 am

Wendrie, from your lips to God’s ears. We are laser-focused on achieving some very important financial goals while at the same time doing some traveling now while we’re young enough to really enjoy it. It’s a great time, that’s for sure. Thank you for reading and commenting. You’ve been such an encouragement to me.
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Janie Emaus April 2, 2014 at 7:59 pm

This was a great post which helped me catch up on your life. Mine has taken gone done a path I could never have imagined. I wish you and your husband the very best.

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Chloe Jeffreys April 3, 2014 at 11:03 am

Janie, life is just like that, isn’t it? We make all of these plans and then poof they go up in smoke. And we find ourselves living lives we never imagined. I guess the secret to happiness is finding joy in the journey and not being too attached to the destination. I hope things going on in your life are going okay.
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Angela Belford April 2, 2014 at 6:32 pm

Chloe,
I love synopsis posts because then I get to catch up with your life in a few short minutes. I love San Diego, and am headed to San Francisco later this month. I’m so thrilled with the many adventures you’ve had.
Much love.
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Chloe Jeffreys April 3, 2014 at 11:04 am

Hey Angela! Thank you for all of your help and wise advice. I have a post sitting in the hopper but I felt like I needed to write this one first before I wrote another word about anything else. I miss you though. I hope things are going well for you.
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Lisa Flowers April 2, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Nicely done, Chloe. Hugs from the West Coast!

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Chloe Jeffreys April 3, 2014 at 11:05 am

Hugs taken! Thanks Lisa.
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Brenda April 2, 2014 at 4:38 pm

You’ve had an eventful six months, Chloe. I’m always grateful when you find the time to write, because I enjoy your posts so much. Your words convey you in a way that feels authentic and “real”. Thank you for not being afraid to share a little of yourself with the rest of us. Your renewed sense of freedom shines through… Carry on!
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Chloe Jeffreys April 3, 2014 at 11:07 am

Thank you, Brenda. I really do best when I stick to the truth. I am free. And I’m excited about life and where it is leading. I feel terrible about what happened to the community of GenFab since for me that was all that mattered, but it is what it is and I can’t do anything about that now. All I can do is continue to believe and live the truth that the second half of our lives can be the best if only we’re willing to take the chance to live it to the fullest.

Thank you for reading and commenting. It really means the world to me.
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Heidi April 2, 2014 at 3:47 pm

You’re the only person ever who has possibly convinced me that maybe life won’t suck once there are no kids to chase after. I’m so happy you seem happy!

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Chloe Jeffreys April 2, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Not only will it not suck, but it can be more marvelous than you can possibly imagine.
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Laura B. April 2, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Amazing how quickly life changes and tosses us curve balls, that turn into powdery blessings, isn’t it?
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Chloe Jeffreys April 2, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Isn’t this the truth, Laura? We just can never know when disasters will turn into blessings. Life is unpredictable. And so full of surprises.
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A Pleasant House April 2, 2014 at 3:13 pm

One of my favorite posts Chloe! Not only do I love the way you write (and let us into your life) but to sum it all up- six months worth- made it all the more enjoyable. Can’t wait for that NOLA post. Heheheeee Much Love!
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Chloe Jeffreys April 2, 2014 at 3:54 pm

I very much enjoyed the time we spent hanging out together. You truly do live in the most pleasant house. Thanks for showing me the parts I would have missed. And thanks for being my friend.
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Beverly Diehl April 2, 2014 at 3:05 pm

Good for you for following your heart, and your passion, rather than dollar bills. I hope you & your husband find everything in your new life you dream of, and kudos to you for doing so much for others.
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Chloe Jeffreys April 2, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Beverly, you’d think following your heart would be so easy. But it isn’t always so. There just aren’t easy answers sometimes to life’s challenges. We have to act and hope that our actions will bear fruit. And know when to cut our losses when the tree is rotted.
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Patricia April 2, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Enjoyed that Chloe. YOu are an excellent writer and storyteller. I hope you won’t stop

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Chloe Jeffreys April 2, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Thank you, Patricia. It is hard to stop once you start. I feel a huge sense of relief and freedom now to write as I like. Which is why I blog in the first place.
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Paula Kiger April 2, 2014 at 2:22 pm

WHOA. Ten big things! Thank you for sharing. I’m not even a nurse but I’ve often thought travel nursing would be a great fit for some people (like maybe me if I go to nursing school!). Glad it worked out so beautifully for you!!
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Chloe Jeffreys April 2, 2014 at 2:26 pm

It’s awesome, Paula. I really like it. I don’t think it’s forever, but for the next while it is terrific. My husband and I are like Eddie Alpert and Ava Gabor in Green Acres. We’re trying to figure it all out.

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Caryn/The Mid Life Guru April 2, 2014 at 2:13 pm

You’ve been busy doing some amazing things!! It was great sharing Shot@Life with you in Washington. Here’s to more adventures. Be brave and enjoy where your life takes you!!
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Chloe Jeffreys April 2, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Thank you, Caryn! I’m so glad I get to share the ride with someone as genuinely beautiful and kind and wonderful as you are. It is a privilege to know you. You’ve made me a better person.

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