Longs Peak Rocky Mountain National Park

How to Obliterate a Perfectly Fine Life to Build a Better One

Feb 10, 2023

It really is a conquest of creativity to spend 25+ years building a comfortable life only to look back on it and decide to pull off a destructive extreme makeover.

That before life (of the ever popular DIY before and after) I built had a perfectly mediocre fixer-upper feel with 1970s avocado colored appliances, shag carpet and popcorn ceilings…all still faithfully working, but chronically giving the vibe of settling for less.

To sum it up: my life had become a 1970s appliance.  An avocado green one, to add insult to injury.

As I sat watching the depressing, drab green dryer, that was the same age as me, revolve around again and again, it insistently tapped at me with an unmistakable rhythm of “you should be grateful, you should be grateful” for what I already had.  My mind, though, was moving to its own drumline in answering, “I want more. I need more,” as it threw the comfortable rhythm of life off like a pocket full of change insistently clanging through the soothing background noise.

These anxious feelings of what could be would plague me each time I managed to settle squarely into a carefully crafted comfort zone starting with becoming a police officer. In that version of me, I thought I had arrived in the chapter of life where that title would be the one I would carry through this lifetime. In my 20s, I was planning my retirement and living for my 60s when I would get to admire a decorated wall of accomplishments and finally have time to live an adventurous life.

But in a plot twist I never thought coming, I found my 40-year-old self sitting on a therapist’s couch, who specialized (bless her heart for that decision) in the warped minds of police officers, telling her, “I do not want to be this person I have become.  I have a plan and I need help in carrying it out so that I never come back to this point in my life again.”

I was a highly respected, accomplished officer that had only a fully developed seething pit of anger, a raging case of shingles, 30 extra pounds of body fat and a box full of awards to show for it.  In helping others, I had sacrificed parts and pieces of myself until I had nothing left to give- all part of the job description of a good day filled with demoralizing police work.

As I sat on that couch with snot leaking from my nose and all of my meager makeup (an attempt to maintain some kind of femininity) streaming down my face, I had decided that I would commit the ultimate sin of selfishness that a public servant could commit: I would pull a final epic act and save myself.

“Yes,” the therapist said. “Yes.” 

I had not expected this.  I thought she would convince me to stay a good, selfless soldier for the cause but, instead she said, “Now, here’s what we’re going to do…” And for the final minutes left of that session, we plotted like thieves to steal my life back.

It was a glorious heist and it saved my life.

I resigned from police work and stepped into a small business I built from the ground up with years of hard work- again earning awards, publicity and national recognition.  It was everything I had hoped for and yet.

I could hear that discontented disharmony of the background noise of my old avocado dryer soul as something important I forgot to take out of a pocket banged around inside.

You’re missing something, you’re missing something, it seemed to say again in that aggravatingly discordant way that can’t be tuned out.  I muffled the insistent sounds with ineffective amounts of alcoholic beverages, sugary desserts and anything else my heart wanted to quiet what I really craved all along:

I wanted adventure and the freedom to pursue it.

But isn’t running a small business and being a police officer all the adventure you could ever need?

I wanted to write.

But isn’t all of the business writing you do enough?

I wanted to create through photography and videography.

Don’t you do that every day with all of the visual marketing and social media work you do?

I wanted to take the risk and fully bet on myself.

But didn’t you do exactly that with a small business and with being a police officer?  Didn’t you live a life of adventure? Haven’t you done it all already?

I wanted to put the avocado colored appliances on the curb along with the rest of my life and start all over again.

My, God. Why?!

Yes, it all still runs great. It’s all perfectly comfortable. It’s all acceptably standard and didn’t suit me at all anymore. As it turns out, the damn avocado dryer had shrank my life and now it no longer fit the larger dream I had for myself.

I went on a renovation rampage. I sold most of my belongings.  What didn’t sell, I gave away and what people didn’t want for free, I donated. It all needed to go. All of it.

Finally, in the last act of total obliteration of the life I had built, I sold my house. It was the paid off nest at the center of my comfort zone and the final anchor holding me here when I desperately wanted to be everywhere.  It had served its purpose and, with gratitude for its years of service, I let it go along with the avocado dryer now happily spinning away in someone else’s comfy laundry room.

What was left when all of that deconstruction dust had settled was a sparklingly clean new life. I thought I would grieve my old one but I never looked back after moving into a tiny camper and making a beeline for Estes Park, Colorado where I lived for five months. When winter came, I moved my humble rolling abode to Northern Washington state and then to Las Vegas and then…it didn’t actually matter where I ended up next because it’s all categorized under currently living my true version of a dream life for me.

Welcome to my blog where you’re invited to join me on this journey of being a wandering writer, adventuring photographer/videographer and ever searching storyteller.

…and ex-owner of a 1970s avocado laundry dryer.



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