As I finished painting the bedroom walls and trim, I couldn’t help but think about why we were doing all that we are doing. I reflect on various conversations I have had over the past few months with friends and family and their reaction to the news that my dear husband Ray and I would be moving to Cuenca, Ecuador.
The reaction of friends and neighbors went from shock and disbelief to the shaking of heads and wanting to know if we were out of our minds. The reaction of family was of complete surprise. The reaction of my daughter was of shock and then wanting to know why couldn’t I move to a closer country like Canada; my son’s reaction was “go for it Madre, but be careful.” Most wanted to know why, why now?
Looking back at all that has been done over the years, my answer is why not now? For years I have always done what I was told, what was expected of me or put what I wanted aside so that I could see to the happiness of others. First it was being a wife and mother, when that marriage failed, I did what I thought was the best for my children even though it caused me great pain. The happiness of my second marriage was short-lived when my husband was diagnosed terminal with a dread disease. We put off all plans of travel and exploring with the promise to each other that when he was well, we would resume our plans. When he died, that dream also died.
Not knowing what to do or what the morning would bring, I moved from Nevada to Arizona and tried to make a life there. Being deep in debt with medical bills and bills my late husband had accumulated, I had to put my dreams aside and come up with a way to survive and get my head above water. Then I moved from Arizona to Michigan and thought a slower pace might be the ticket to help me get my head on straight and come up with a good plan that would allow me to be able to follow my dreams.
It was during this period that I met Ray and something clicked. I met his son and the three of us started making plans and I don’t know who was happier when Ray proposed, me or his son Bart. Our happiness, however, was cut short as his son died in a tragic traffic accident 2 months before we were to be married. That took the wind out of our sails, so to speak. We went through the motions of working, doing what we had to do to get through the trauma.
When Ray began getting ill every year, almost the same date every year, we decided to move to Florida. We gave sold the home that we loved with its acreage, beautiful pond, fruit trees and peacefulness for a home in a congested neighborhood where homes are close together, very little land and learning to live in an environment quite different from Northern Michigan. Life in Florida has been good and we couldn’t ask for a nicer neighborhood or neighbors. But something was missing.
Once night we were watching House Hunters International and started talking about how “some day” we would do something like that. The more we thought about it, the more it became clear that if we didn’t try to follow our dream now, instead of making excuses of why we couldn’t, we might not be in good health to do it later. We decided that the time had come for us to do something for ourselves instead of doing what family or friends wanted us to do. To do something while we were still able to do it and not have any regrets later about not having followed at least one of our dreams.
It is all well and good to live for family, to do what is required or expected, but to forego your dreams simply because someone tells you that you are being selfish to think of yourself is unacceptable.
So here we are, packing and purging and getting ready to make a huge change in our life. Are we scared? You bet we are. But at the same time, we feel like high school graduates who are getting ready to leave the comfort of what they know for the unknown of college life in a different city or state.
We are making a leap of faith. After all, no one knows the day or the hour when they will cease to live. Only the man upstairs knows that and he isn’t sharing that information. Life is too short to say, some day I’ll travel, or some day I’ll write a book or whatever the dream you have on your mind. When I have enough money, or when I have more time. Trouble is that time is not on our side and you can’t take money with you when you depart your mortal coils. We have decided to live what life we have left to the fullest. When our time comes, we want to look back and say, “Wow! What a ride! We have no regrets, other than wishing we had done it sooner.”
My wish for all of you is that you follow your dreams. That you don’t fear the unknown or make excuses as to “why” you can’t do something. Instead of looking at the “cons,” take a look at all the positives. Live life to its fullest so that when you report to the man upstairs, you slide into home yelling “Man, what a ride!”
Until later my friends, take care and God bless.
Terri at the Drake’s Nest