“We’re moving to Florida!” Those were my husband words in February when he decided to get a new job. Although I knew the possibility of him getting a job outside of Grand Cayman was high, part of me hoped he would find one where we lived.
When I first heard the words, panic struck me. Move away from the only place I’d ever lived? Leave all my friends and family behind? Give up my job of 18 years and nice salary for a considerably lower income? What about the business I started in July? How would I run it from overseas? My in-laws lived in Florida, but they were over two hours away. Isn’t Florida the state for the highest child abductions? I didn’t share these fears with my husband. He’s the worrier in the family and I knew he had his own reservations, despite expressing excitement at moving back to the states, and being ready for a change.
As the reality of it sunk in, and I moved past the scary thoughts of getting our house ready to sell, and uprooting my kids from their friends, and family, I decided to focus on the benefits. I had shrewdly negotiated with my husband to let me write full-time from home. I had a 2-5 year plan in the works, and the move would fast track my dream. Sweet! My children would get to spend time with their other grandparents (my husband’s parents) who only saw them once a year other than Skyping on Sundays.
The opportunities for me as a writer would be considerable. No more spending $1200 to attend a writing conference, and paying 30% tax on the income I made from freelancing and book sales, not to mention the money I lost on the exchange rate from US to KYD. I’d get to meet more of my favorite authors and expand my author platform.
I’d have a whole year with my daughter at home before she started school at four. We’d have ridiculously lower electrical bills (only people from Cayman and other Caribbean islands can appreciate this) I’d cook homemade dinners for my family and keep the house clean all the time. Just kidding! That’s my husband’s dream.
But seriously, the more I thought about the opportunities awaiting me and my family the more excited I got. The chance to live my dream was neatly laid at my door. How many people got those kinds of opportunities everyday? Not many!
I won’t lie. The road was rough. Getting our house on the market in March in hopes of selling it in time for the new school year so we wouldn’t have to manage two household expenses, including private school fees. Doing this all by myself since my husband started his job in March and had to leave early to find a place to live, renew his driver’s license, and other fun stuff because he hadn’t lived in the US for 18 years.
The stress of walking away from a buyer because they kept extending the closing deadline, after we signed the lease on an apartment in Florida, is not a situation I’d want to repeat. Having one month to pack up my family’s entire life and ship it, all while running a business, meet writing deadlines, and delegating responsibilities at my day job. Let’s not forget all the documents the kids and I needed.
Leaving the people I loved was definitely a challenge, especially my family and best friend Katie, who was off island for weeks before I left, so I didn’t get to spend as much time with her as I wanted. The people I worked with was equally hard. They’re a great bunch of people and I’d missed them along with the writers who attended the monthly meetings or participated in the online CayWriters group.
The kids wanted to see their father again, and I was excited it’d be almost two weeks before our shipment, and the mound of boxes, so many boxes. Mountains and mountains of boxes even after giving away carloads of stuff and two garage sales. So many boxes…wait what was I talking about again? Oh yeah. I’d get a break to relax and unwind before the shipment of boxes arrived. Boxes. So many…[Slap self swiftly across the face]. Right. And I was happy to see my husband again, too. Lol!
Everything wasn’t as wonderful as I’d hoped. I hadn’t been feeling myself for weeks, but I figured it was all the take out I’d been eating because I’d packed away the pots/pans and the stress of the move and everything else on my plate, but the results from the doctor said otherwise. Thankfully it was only low iron, but it took a toll on me. I needed two-hour naps after walking my son to school, and the school was 10 minutes from our apartment. Some days I couldn’t muster the strength to get out of bed. Not a great feeling for someone who’d never had a serious health problem in their life, and used to getting up at 5:00 in the morning and going non-stop until after dark and sometimes long into the night. It was disconcerting and scary, but I discovered all my symptoms were normal, and I found options to combat the low iron in addition to supplements. I’m now back to my old self.
My son is settled in school, although he’s missing his friends, video chats with them regularly. My daughter is loving being at home with me, although we’re both adjusting to mommy’s work time. My husband is enjoying his job and being back in the states, and his parents are thrilled when we visit on weekends.
Life is good, and I have no complaints (although more book sales would be nice), and I’m grateful for the opportunity to do what I love and help others do the same, I hope, through CayWriters and the Cayman Islands Book Fair.
People say follow your dreams, other says do what you love, or go with the opportunities whether you want them or not. I say life will throw them all and it’s okay to roll with the punches and choose either or all.
What risks have you taken to live your dreams?