Taken from the song of the same name by The Band…
One of Mr. Prepared’s jobs is to make the Road ID bands/tags we have for running and biking. On my Road ID tag, under all the pertinent information is the tagline “Live the Adventure”. That’s kind of our motto…well, that and you can’t put “Harden the F*ck Up” on your Road ID (they don’t take swear words).
One year ago today, my husband took on a new project to rebuild Wilmot Mountain, our “home” mountain in the Chicagoland area. He did a pretty good job, as you might have seen here, here, and here. He and his team worked their asses off- another summer/fall of little mini-vacations, lots of weekends worked straight through, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears. We’ve dedicated a LOT of our time and resources, as well as hopes, dreams, and fears, to this project and the one at Mt. Brighton in Michigan.
A year in to this project, and I realize that maybe we have lost our purpose and our way as a family. When we left for Michigan, our goal was to do new things, meet awesome new people, and have lots of new experiences. These experiences would eventually line up to something even greater than what we were already enjoying in our lives. I mean, living in Colorado for 15 years…we were already living the dream. In terms of those people who always wanted to live in Colorado or “out West”, we had already made it. He had a great job with his corporation, and I was building up a new career at a community college. But something pushed us to wanting more…to getting a taste for something new and big where we didn’t see the finish line yet. We wanted to live the adventure.
So we set off to the last place someone might see as adventurous…metro Detroit. But man, would you be wrong about that! When I was in my early “crying in the car every day” phase, I likened moving to Michigan to moving to a foreign country. I mean, who eats hot dogs with chili on top, and why do these people think it’s ok to live down the street from their parents? (Lesson learned, Michiganders…totally ok to live down the street from your parents…!) The people in Michigan were the most welcoming ever- they literally would try to give you the shirts off their back. Mr. Prepared is a pretty private, introverted dude, so these kind of huge displays of hospitality always threw him (and pretty much all of us) for a loop. But my gosh, did we feel the love! So much love we sometimes had to step back into our house and regroup. As for adventure, we found all kinds of ways to find it.
The adventures in Michigan were not always what one would imagine living in Colorado. In Colorado, “adventure” is easy- a new bike trail leading to the edge of wilderness, a little known tree glade just inside ski area boundaries- these are all adventures that many of us imagine. How many of us imagine what an adventure it is to see Flint and Detroit up close, with your kids? To experience the beauty of the Mackinac Bridge (or swim the span of it, as I did to raise money in 2015 for Habitat for Humanity)? What about to learn up close and personal on opening weekend what happens when a lift cable falls off the bolwheel? Or if you build a lift on top of a septic field? Some were more traditionally adventurous, like can I link a bridle trail with the longest running trail in the metro area? (The answer is…not if you’re not prepared to deal with a lot of horse poop). Most people might find these to be hurdles to overcome, or minor hassles to be dealt with. But the Ogilvie family dove in, eyes wide open, to experience all of this and lots more. We took Sunday “wunderwugens” (name patent pending ;)) all across Michigan. I started my own business, made it successful, and created an international network of health and fitness professionals for myself. Some of the coolest and most amazing people I know came out of this short, amazing period of time.
When Mr. Prepared was invited to come and reinvent Wilmot, we assumed we could (and would) keep living the adventure. Wisconsin seemed up our alley in terms of its outdoor opportunities. And living in the Chicago metro area brought us technically to “home”, although we hadn’t called it that in over 20 years. We assumed that everything would be as it was in Michigan and that it would all turn out ok.
We know what assume means. And everything did not turn out ok.
While nothing is technically wrong, nothing about our lives seems the same as before. We have seen some lows in our family relationships that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. We’ve changed schools, visited therapists, and struggled with the kind of disappointment and anguish (both parents and kids) that makes one wonder, “What is the point of it all?” I lost my business (at least the in person part), any semblance of a career to return to, and as a family, I think we have lost our way a bit. We haven’t made the kind of networks and connections that will always make Michigan and Colorado so dear to my heart.
Today marks one year of Mr. Prepared being in his position with Wilmot. We are technically released from certain work obligations. And we are jonesing to experience our family motto once again. We are looking to settle in a community where we are welcome and can contribute with the many gifts and talents that have been bestowed upon us. The Ogilvies are ready to live the adventure again- wherever in the world that takes us for while so that our kids can feel at home and right with the world. We are drawing our pirate map today, this weekend, and going forward, so that each of us can find our treasure in living our adventures.