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September 14, 2010

Today is my last full day of living in Florida as a resident.  After a year of planning and working toward a goal, I face tomorrow as the day I depart for my new life in Wales.   Am I afraid? No.  There is nothing to fear about living in the beautiful Welsh countryside.  Anxiety ridden?  Yes.  Why?  Probably because I’m 63 years old and change doesn’t come as easily for me now as it did even ten years ago. It also doesn’t come easily to my family, who are forced to sit by and watch as my life changes direction.

My motto of “dream, then do” is giving me a direct hit, and I find myself face-to-face with my own directive. Words are cheap and easy.  Action is harder. It’s now my time to step up, and DO, but “doing” requires that I leave my family behind. Hence, my anxiety. 

I feel like an Oreo cookie.  My parents are the chocolate crunch at the top.  In their late 80s, they live independent lives about an hour away from where I currently live.  I was there for them when mom had total knee replacement, living at their home for a month and taking care of my father while my mother recuperated.  I am there for them to provide a festive setting for Thanksgiving, Christmas and holidays in between.  I am always there for them.

My daughter, her husband, and my darling grandsons are the bottom cookie.  They depend on me for babysitting tasks and to be a relief station when the demands of life require a day of sleep.  I depend on my daughter to see our lives as independent of hers and to appreciate the diversity my life brings to theirs.  I depend on my grandsons for hugs, kisses and the unconditional love a little child lavishes on a grandparent. 

I’m the cream in the middle continuously dancing the dance in an effort to keep the sandwich together. Now, the cream in the middle is leaving the cookie, and the anxiety I feel is for my family.  My inner turmoil bounces between the guilt of leaving and the excitement of facing another adventure in life. And that’s the operative word – adventure.  At age 63, I still have a few adventures left and I need to follow my dream – which requires that I “do”.

So while there’s an uprising in the cookie jar, my friends have attached themselves to my (our – my husband is with me in this!) decision with sadness at our leaving, and then excitement at the prospect of us being the “pathfinders”, blazing the trail for their future travel plans.

We are surrounded by a handful of wonderful friends here in Florida, and throughout the country.  One friend flies from Los Angeles to wherever in the world we are to spend Thanksgiving with us.  That speaks for him, and for us.  Other friends from far away come to our home for rest, relaxation and the warmth they find in our home environment.  Local friends share our table, food, conversation and wine with enjoyment and appreciation.  And in turn, we share their homes and generosity.  We will miss that tremendously because their friendship is given without strings attached.  It is voluntary, and given and returned with love.

All of our friends have wished us safe travel and many are already booking flights to visit.  We love the fact that we are able to open a door onto a world where most people would never even think of visiting.  That’s our gift to the friends in our lives. 

The dinners will continue – they’re just a bit farther away! And we know our table will be full with visitors from near and far.  I just hope that my family finds it in their hearts to see this chapter in our lives in a positive light and that they will walk through that door knowing that an exciting and adventure-filled world awaits.  It may take them a while, but I pray it will happen.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Elizabeth Stephan permalink
    September 14, 2010 8:48 am

    I am excited for you! Many happy travels on your new adventure.

  2. Laura permalink
    September 14, 2010 9:17 am

    Wishing you all the best as you begin this new adventure. Safe journey…….

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