My life has gone through several renovations over the years.
At first I was perfectly happy to let others take the lead. I didn't have any ambitions to run the show, become a big shot in business, or make a lot of hefty decisions. Dealing with my health issues was enough for me. I did what I had to do, followed instructions, had few friends, and led a pretty quiet life. It suited me.
Then I got to the point of wanting something more. I was tired of working anywhere at any job just to help make ends meet. But I was still unsure of myself. Nevertheless, I'd had it with working outside the home. Some of the jobs were fun and the people I worked with were supportive, but I was unsatisfied with the working environment I found myself in most of the time. I hated to drive, to rely on rides to work, and having to deal with office politics day in and day out. But I wanted to contribute to our income in some way. So, I started a typing and design business at home (this was 1995). It was a big step, and I enjoyed it. I was able to put my creative talents to work for me, and my human services background helped me become pretty darn good at customer service. It gave me a chance to be independent, at least in the business world. It lasted a dozen years.
In the meantime, another change came. As I've mentioned before, Jim was badly injured in a fall in late 2003. That fall was what I needed to become more confident. I was forced to handle the bills, the closing on our house, a move, talking to doctors about Jim's care, and my own health issues. I had talked to Jim shortly before his fall about wanting to be more involved in decision making. I complained that I didn't know what to do should something happen to him. Then, he fell. And I found out how ready I was for it. It was a huge test and, incredibly, I passed! Was it easy? Absolutely not. Was it invigorating? Absolutely yes! Do I wish I could have gained confidence in a different way? OH yeah. But things happen for a reason. Jim's fall happened to teach us both that I could stand on my own two feet if I absolutely had to. If Jim hadn't been so badly hurt, I probably would have been doing the dance of joy all over town, I felt so high on confidence.
That life changing experience led to the decision to move out west. I felt closed in by my surroundings. I hated the long, cold winters we had back in rural New York. I wouldn't drive in the snow, which limited me as far as work and play were concerned. I was afraid to fall on the ice, I didn't skate or ski. The dread of winter bothered me all year. I was tired of feeling dragged down, limited. I could work at home, sure, but this didn't just have to do with work. It had to do with independence and freedom. I didn't feel as if I had it in New York. Someone was always giving me rides. I was always missing out on social, civic, and professional opportunities because I didn't drive. Enough!
We hit the road in 2007 for southern Utah. Leaving the place where I'd grown up, my family, everything I knew, was hard, but leaving my doctors was the hardest. I had an incredible team of physicians back in New York whom I trusted. But I also had to trust my gut. I wanted to feel more free to do things, go places, meet people, find myself, be myself, and so on. The moderate climate of southern Utah made that more doable. I was ready to give it a shot.
We've been in Utah for eight years this month. It's my home now. I've done things out here that I never dreamed I would, met people I never would have otherwise, and become even more independent and confident. I drive all over the place, I'm working at a job I love, I'm fit, I'm social, I'm healthy, and I'm living life on my own terms. Life is good.
Never settle for a life that doesn't feel right. Work at it, bit by bit, until it's the life of your dreams. You'll get there.