It was a crossroads day. I decided to move to an independent retirement community from my wonderful townhome that brought much joy and laughter into my life and to everyone who entered my house. People hated to leave, calling it “A Happy House”. Coming home, I often found a friend in my living room, reading. Another regularly walked in, went directly to my kitchen and proceeded to make dinner for us. There was so much positive energy, laughter, peace and love in my home. Those were the happiest years of my life. My youth was filled with sadness, and I never felt peace during my 42-year marriage because my late husband did not like having people in “his” house.

For these reasons, my decision to move was not made lightly; yet I didn’t clearly think through the consequences of that decision. I assumed I could easily change my mind if a buyer did not put a good offer on the table. ‘If I’m meant to stay here longer, this gave me time to figure out “what’s next” for me. Either way, I decided to listen with my eyes, ears and open heart and be positive to whatever happened.

Beware the thoughts we put into our heads! One week later I not only had a cash offer for more than I was asking but was asked to vacate within a month. Surely you understand the stress and agony of saying good-bye to years of memories, giving away what no longer has meaning, packing and then unpacking those boxes in a new home. In less than 3 weeks, I sold, gave away or donated more than two thirds of all my worldly goods.

Meanwhile, doubts about my decision snowballed. “Is moving to a retirement community the right choice? Should I rent for a couple years asmy son suggested? Or move to North Carolina with my step-granddaughter and her family”I did not have time to think about other options; there was too much to do and limited time. The most curious thing happened during this tumultuous month. Every single roadblock and problem associated with moving began to disappear. I was not in control and felt like a fly on the wall, watching the momentum.

Fast forward to moving day into my small apartment at Masonic Village of Sewickley.  The last thing I did before locking the door to those wonderful memories was sit alone and reminisce about what I was giving up. How would I recapture that same contentment in my new home? I promised myself I would embrace my new reality with enthusiasm, positive thoughts and bloom where planted.

Boxes are now unpacked; routines are beginning to take shape; and new friends are beginning to poke their heads around corners. I still have doubts and questions. “What did I do? I’m too young. I don’t fit.” Ahh! But I am here. Slowly I am changing my mental thought processes and attitude. I am beginning to learn why I made this life choice.

One thing is becoming absolutely clear: the universe has a plan for me and wants me here at Masonic Village. Moving here was the first step on my new journey which is now to recapture that lost contentment and peace.

My first three months have been devastating, depressing, sterile, undefined. Recently, however, as I walk around the campus, I find myself smiling and for the first time actually feeling comfortable being here. Colleagues from the writing and art groups are coming to my apartment for meetings instead of the meeting rooms. My friends are beginning to stop by, hang out and then leave contented and laughing.

My life at Masonic is a work in progress. Like the flowers that are sprouting outside my patio, I am planting seeds into my new environment and beginning to see buds sprouting, roots slowly forming. I look forward to seeing what blooms.

Questions for my readers:

  1. Think about one of your own current life changes (a new job, retirement, loss of a spouse, a move to a different city or country). How will you handle it? What will you do to embrace your new situation with confidence – or at least a positive outlook that everything will turn out as it is supposed to?
  2. What life lessons did you learn in past situations that will help you now? What lessons have you learned from what you initially thought was a poor decision?

Let me hear from you. I’m interested in how you answered the questions. Email me at donna@donnabillingscoach.com or call 412.418.8738