The hardest thing about starting a blog is the first post. What do I write about? Will anyone read this? How do I post pictures? Will I sound like a dork? Will any of my younger readers even know what the word “dork” means?
So, why am I blogging? I’ve been reading everyone else’s blogs for the past two years, and I’ve seen a wonderful community online, people who are sharing their lives, sharing ideas on how to make life better, people who are comforting and supporting each other when troubles large and small get to be too much to take. Quite frankly, I’ve felt kind of left out. I want to join this club.
First, a little of my back story: Last September, I turned 50. A milestone. I also bought my first house in a town more than 200 miles away from where I had lived my entire life, away from all of my friends, and most of my family. Since a 200-mile commute was out of the question, I also quit my job, the same job I’d had for 25 years. I’m sure a lot of people thought I was crazy, quitting a job in this economy, moving 200 miles from home at age 50, essentially completely changing my life in a time of life when one tends to want to be settled. Well, don’t think I haven’t had my 3:00 a.m. doubts about the house, the move, the lack of job, the loneliness. It’s a HUGE change, and there are days when I wonder whatever possessed me to think that I could do this. I mean, I moved from the concrete and the traffic and the malls of Orange County, California, population 3,010,232, to the fog and the farms and the wide open spaces of Tulare County, California, population 442,179. I went from an 800 square foot upstairs apartment that was a few hundred feet from a major freeway to a 1600 square foot home with a huge backyard in a medium sized city that’s surrounded by farms. I went from a 40 minute, 8 1/2 mile morning commute for my advertising job, to no job and no commute at all. I went from the sounds of traffic and music and crowds, to a peaceful suburban community, with nights that seem so deeply quiet I start to wonder if I’m all alone on this earth. I went from a place that when I left the house in the morning, I smelled my neighbor’s perfume, to a place where, when I leave the house in the morning, I often smell . . . COWS!
But, even though I have those 3:00 a.m. doubts, I also have a lot of hope for the future. I was stuck in a rut in Orange County. I was tired of the fast pace, weary of the traffic and the concrete, and sick to death of a job that simply paid the bills, but wasn’t really what I wanted to do with my life. I had never planned to spend 25 years in advertising. Quite frankly, I really didn’t have a career plan at all. I wanted to marry, have a bunch of children, live in a small town, and write novels. Since no one even remotely resembling Prince Charming ever materialized, and I needed to support myself, I sort of fell into advertising. It was a paycheck and I needed to keep a roof over my head. It didn’t make sense to move to a small town alone, freelance writing wasn’t a secure profession, and my family was in Orange County. So, I did the practical, sensible thing and created a life that was relatively safe and predictable. But along the way, I sort of lost myself. I look back at my college days, and think about the girl who thought that her life was filled with so much hope and promise and realize that somehow, some way, I lost the idea that I could have a life that I loved. I settled for a life that I could tolerate. I became afraid of failure, so I stopped trying new things and taking risks. I became boring and complacent. And although I know that none of us have the life that we planned for, and that there is nothing wrong with choosing to be sensible and practical, I’ve always looked back in regret at what I could have been, had I not been too afraid to try.
So, I took a chance. Since I couldn’t afford OC real estate, I knew I would have to move to the middle of nowhere, at least by Southern California standards. My nephew had moved to Tulare County to live closer to his fiancée and her family, and I found that I really liked the area. So, I used an inheritance to buy a house, saving enough to support myself until I could find a job, and moved away from most of the people that I love. I am facing an uncertain future. I’m sometimes a bit lonely, and without a job, often bored. And I fear that I will fail, that the house will fall apart, that I won’t find a job, or that I just won’t be able to acclimate to my new surroundings. So, even though I hated the traffic and the concrete and the stress of Orange County, even though I was sick of living in an 800 square foot upstairs apartment, at least it was familiar. Central California is unfamiliar territory. And that’s scary. But I’m willing to try, and am looking forward to turning my 49 year old house into a home, to turning that huge backyard into a beautiful garden, to finding a job that I truly love, to making new friends, to becoming what I might have been.
So, I hope anyone who might be reading this will join me on my adventures in decorating (on a STRICT budget, mind you), gardening, crafting, collecting, job hunting, exploring a new city, etc. I welcome your ideas, suggestions and opinions, and hope you’ll visit often.