“[S]he who is brave is free.”- Seneca
This is my first blog post. Ever. I decided to start this blog to share my varied life experiences in the hopes that maybe one of my stories will resonate with someone or help someone somehow. I also love sharing about all things related to health and wellness, fashion, and self-improvement. I don’t claim to be all-knowing on any of these topics or to be some kind of sage, but I have something to say, and if by chance what I write connects with someone, then great!
This past year was one of great change and movement towards making my dreams come true. It was a year of high risk and high reward, and after all the uncertainty, I ended up exactly where I was supposed to be…in sunny, beautiful Southern California.
The fact that I moved to California from Chicago about 5 months ago may not sound like a big deal, but how and why I got here is.
I had always wanted to move to California after I came here in my 20’s and drove down the coast from San Francisco to Big Sur. I just thought I would end up here when I retire, and just shelved the idea for later in life.
I had an epiphany in 2014 on my first ever trip to Hawaii that I needed to move to California now. The warm weather, beach, ocean was food to my soul; but again, I pushed the idea to the back of my mind.
In January 2015, I got incredibly sick with adult mono. I didn’t go to work for nearly three months. What made matters worse was that I had recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia which I probably had for 10 years without even knowing it. That is a whole other story! Having fibro made my recovery an intense uphill battle. During that time, I vowed to leave the cold winters which were becoming unbearable and wreaking havoc on my health. I was also unhappy at my job. I had been teaching for 9 years in a middle school and couldn’t do it anymore. I felt stuck in so many areas of my life.
That summer, I went back to Hawaii and met someone who told me about Newport/Laguna Beach in Orange County. I decided that I would go check out areas in and around LA to see where might be a good fit.
I came to Laguna in October of 2015 and I felt an incredible pull to this place. On my last day, I was walking on the beach in the morning, and it was like my heart was magnetized. I did not want to leave, and I saw myself living there and really building my life in this beautiful area. I decided that I wanted to move there.
I put a plan in place and gave myself until the summer of 2016 to move. I am a teacher so I had a finite window of time to do my resume (mind you, I hadn’t done mine in 10 years!), get certified to teach in CA, and find a job. Sounds simple, huh?
It wasn’t, but I did it. I finished my resume in the spring and started networking. I was on a curriculum board at a company where my brother worked and the person I worked for happened to know a contact in Newport Beach. He then referred me to a school administrator in one of the school districts in Orange County.
There came a crossroads at the end of the school year where time was running out, and I had to either quit and see how things worked out in California or stay another year. I made the choice to quit. It was risky but I couldn’t stay in a job that no longer made me happy. However, every job I applied to that summer, I wasn’t getting. Finding a job out of state with limited connections was proving to be an arduous task.
It was now July and my lease was up at the end of the month. I had to make the decision to not renew and just go to California…with no job, no place to live, no family and knowing only one good friend in LA, and two acquaintances! So I did. I moved out of my apartment, shipped my new car to California and bought a one-way ticket to L.A. for August 1st. When you are in your 20’s, this sounds like an amazing adventure, but when you are 45, it was a “stress-induced” adventure!
The only good friend I had was in LA, and luckily I stayed with her for 2 weeks until I could figure out what I was doing! I still wasn’t able to find a teaching job…and where was I going to live? Yes, I wanted to be in the Laguna/Newport area but only if I got a job there first!
My school administrator connection (my guardian angel) was relentless in helping me find a job and she had never even met me. A week after I arrived in LA, (most schools start in 2 weeks, so time was running out) her colleague told me about an opening at a high school in Irvine, and he happened to work in the English department, so he said he would give me a recommendation.
August 9th I applied for the job. I decided that regardless, I would move to Newport Beach and I went looking for apartments that next weekend. I signed a lease on August 13th without a job! What grown adult does that? Not me, that’s for sure! What would I do if I didn’t get a job? The rent was astronomical!
I left my friend’s in LA and came to Newport on August 15 and stayed for 2 days until my apartment was ready on Thursday, August 18th. On Wednesday, August 17th, I got a call from the high school that I applied to asking me for an interview that Friday. Yes! 🙂
I moved in on Thursday, the 18th, interviewed on the 19th, and an hour and a half later, they called and offered me the job! It was surreal and so emotional. It all actually worked out! I started a few days later and now here I am, 5 months in, living in my dream place, in a dream job, and had I not risked everything, I wouldn’t be here today.
What I garnered from this experience is that there is a grand design to our lives, even though we may not know it at the time, and that the plan was for me to be here in Newport long before I realized it. Probably when my brother got his job at his company, and I started working on that curriculum board, probably when I grew weary of my job, and my health started failing, probably when I went to Hawaii and met someone who told me to think about Orange County, probably when I was in my 20’s and fell in love with California for the first time…
So, this year, it’s all about soaring even higher. Building a life and creating a beautiful world in this second phase of my life. If I can do it at 45, think what life-changing things you can do?