That was me yesterday standing on the edge of bridge so I could get a better shot. I felt pretty safe up there especially as it wasn’t my first time. I climbed up back in May of 2008 right after I had rented my house to strangers, quit my job, turned down another job offer, and sold my car and most of the stuff I’d spent my whole life accumulating.
You see I had a plan for a new life and there was no room for excess stuff. I was traveling light which meant hanging on to only the things and people that mattered most to me.
John and I were still a new relationship back then having only met in person three months earlier, but I knew I was doing the right thing in leaving for love like I did. Having lived a pretty full life for my then 47 years, I knew that sometimes risk was necessary even if when the outcome couldn’t be predicted.
Some folks back home in Georgia thought I was crazy for selling off my stuff and essentially moving to a country where I would be considered a visitor and only allowed to stay for six months out of the year, but I believed that no matter what happened I’d be okay.
I have always believed the Helen Keller quote that, ” Life is a grand adventure or nothing at all ” so off I went … following my heart to Cornwall all wide open with the possibility that the risk involved might yield the best possible results.
And as most of you know, it did!
If however, you’d had a window into my life and events the year before I met John you might be surprised that I had ever been willing to risk a single thing for love. What happened then is an old story with a modern twist and not one you’re likely to read here, but I’m sure it will turn up in the book I’ve been working on recently. I haven’t gotten very far with it yet. Most of it exists on index cards right now as I run through my memories mining for the events that have mattered the most.
There’s all kinds fear in writing memoir such as who might read it and get upset, who might remember it differently, and the really big one, what if revealing the past affects your present in ways you can’t control and ways you don’t like.
Having heard my stories since we first met, John has encouraged to me write them down. By stories I mean my true life stories, not the fiction ones which may have a thread of truth through them, but come mostly from my imagination.
During my recent summer of ” Lost and Found ” a few other people echoed the same message to me. Some of them were only repeating what they’d said before encouraging me once again to put my real life into words more permanent the occasional musings over coffee or a shared meal.
My longtime friend Patrice, and newer friend Greta Jaeger are two of the people I’m referring to. Both of them not only gave me ” the talk ” about writing my story, but they paid for dinner too. Greta works as a life coach and did such a good job over appetizers that I jokingly said I felt as if I should write her a check for a session as she left me with so much to consider.
My friend Carla Johnson did the final wrap up a few months later when she asked me some pointed questions about writing and my goals. Carla can cut to the heart of something with the skill of a surgeon and after years of working with medically fragile people, she knows how to help expose the truth without leaving you bleeding.
This post finds inspiration from many people, but the biggest push came from reading the revealing email below that I received from Marianne Elliot this morning.
I subscribe to more than I can read these days so most things like this go into the trash pretty quickly. This one caught my eye because I was interested to read about an event she had to cancel, one that for whatever reason did not work out and how she choose to see it as an opportunity to try a new way rather than an excuse to dwell in the negative messages that most of us tell ourselves when we feel afraid or overwhelmed by circumstance.
I’ll leave you with her email (along with another photo of me from 2008 ) and hope you find some encouragement if you need a little today.
Marianne Elliot’s email, Subject: Ever fallen flat on your face? I just did. And here’s how I’m dusting myself off.
” You know the Creative Flow workshop in Berkeley I’ve been telling you about for the past couple of months?
You can’t know how much this post means to me today. We cannot be afraid to fall if we want to move forward. I’m off to find a bridge to stand on (at least figuratively).
Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
@ Lisa ~ I’m so glad you found something useful here today. I know you have a lot of going on right now and a good deal of ‘ stuff ‘ you’re sorting through so I really appreciate that you stopped by and took time to comment. Nice to see you reaching for your own oxygen mask first as well.
Elizabeth, I’m so happy that you are pursuing this important writing project, I think it’s going to provide you with great satisfaction. And providing Marianne’s email is encouragement to me that there is more than one path to one’s goal.
I am thrilled that you have finally started the writing project I KNOW will be a huge success for you my friend! As I have told you over the years, your posts are powerful use them as your vehicle! And when you write of me, which I hope you do, be kind! hehehe
Wonderful post Elizabeth very thoughtful and a good read. Thanks for the mention, Greta
I read this post and it struck a chord with me…. For quite different reasons I guess. I am heartbroken that someone I think still loves me will not make a major change in their life to be with me. Yes, they would have to leave everything they have built up in the USA and look to join me here in the UK, but sadly the decision has been made that it’s too difficult, too many implications, what would his family do without him etc. I admire your strength and courage to do this, to move countries to be with the person you fell in love with.
I live in hope.
Beautiful. We are never alone, are we.