Adventures in Conquering Fear and Starting My New Life
After returning from my Florida home purchase I decided that I had to go back to work until I was ready to retire. So I flew comfortably into Decision Not To Make A Decision (DNTMAD). Hey I was proud of myself! I had the house decided upon and purchased. It was rented to nice tenants. Life was good! No need for further changes! But by the following summer’s end, it was obvious that my spinal cord injury was creating havoc with my ability to function in today’s fast paced, high stress office environment. And the air conditioning that blasted from vents all around me caused me pain every day. Winters were no relief from the A/C as the corporate-required 69 degree air blew cold drafts on me constantly. It was miserable. I was miserable.
By the time 2015 rolled around, I had actually made another decision! (Feel free to applaud). It was time to retire and head to Florida! I started with the work of getting my house together to sell and my target date was April 1 to have it on the market. But my handy man’s appearances were unpredictable at best and when he was here, 4 hour stretches seemed to be the maximum time he could spend helping me. And then IT happened. On March 24, at 2 o’clock in the morning, I woke up in agonizing abdominal pain. WOW! Never had gas pains like that before! What the hell did I eat this time??? OMG! At one point, I actually broke out into a cold sweat, ripped off all my nightclothes (the person who is always cold, remember?) and laid on the floor waiting for whatever it was to pass. Finally, I felt a little better, so went back to bed – and there I pretty much stayed for 2 days thinking I had the flu – or food poisoning from eating some out-of-date food item (a subject for another post). To make a long story short, it wasn’t the flu. My appendix had burst and by the time I finally got to the emergency room, I had developed peritonitis. I was in the hospital for a week and when they sent me home, I was still sick. Ten days later, I was whisked into emergency surgery when my temperature hit 102.9 and they realized I had four abscesses growing and pressing on other organs. That led to another 10 days in the hospital and a recovery period that I could not have imagined. And so began another version of the Decision Not To Make A Decision (DNTMAD).
See, that little tiny organ called an appendix had a lot of power. It made me terribly sick, but it also bit a huge hole into my self-confidence. I am a fairly independent person, but suddenly I found myself unable to take care of me. My dear friend Karen had to do my grocery shopping for me and buy meals for me. I had to leave my dogs in the care of my friend Jo the vet as I just did not have the energy to deal with them. I would get up in the morning, eat breakfast, do my dishes and collapse on the couch, feeling like a wet dishrag. I did not begin to feel like myself again until August. I suppose that I could have put the house on the market then, but my psyche had taken a huge hit. What if I got sick again? I have people who love me here – who would help me in FL? I have snowbird friends there – what if I got sick in June when they were gone? Suddenly, moving to Florida was not very appealing. I was seriously scared. And so, I hunkered down. Decision Not To Make A Decision (DNTMAD) was really comfortable at this point.
That delay did have a beneficial effect however. First, it allowed me to heal. There was no way I could have handled the physical demands of moving with a 6 inch, still-mending surgery wound on my abdomen. And then my dear friend Karen, who so kindly did my grocery shopping and other errands while giving me tremendous emotional support, was diagnosed with cancer in May. There was no way I was going to leave her to do that battle without me. I drove her to her chemo appointments and stayed with her while she went through those truly frightening appointments. Karen and I have been friends for 46 years and I can honestly tell you that our sicknesses brought us closer than we have ever been. She is not just my friend – she is my sister. And her family is my family. And of course with that closeness comes another reason to NOT change my residence…….
As I happily spent the winter of 2015-2016 nestled in Decision Not To Make A Decision (DNTMAD), I had what I guess you could say was an epiphany. One day when I was staring out of my window looking at my yard, I thought of my Dad. I had begged him countless times to leave his house and move to a retiree community. He stubbornly refused, but he paid the price in loneliness. Before he died, he said to me “I should have listened to you”. And there I was, staring out of my window and saying to myself “You aren’t taking your own advice! Ut-oh…..I hate when this happens!!
So in January of 2016, I started back on prepping the house for sale. Which of course, initiated an extended session of I’m Too Busy To Make A Decision”, the ITBTMAD. I worked like a dog. I cleaned. I organized. I bought things with which to stage the house. I moved furniture. And I am not kidding when I tell you I spent the entire month of February in my basement. What the heck was in the basement you ask? I think my entire life of “things I just couldn’t part with” was there, that’s what. Folks, let me tell you something I learned. Get rid of that stuff NOW while you still have the chance! OMG! I had my very own TLC Hoarding: Buried Alive starter kit!!!
OK. In all fairness, that mess you see is what it looked like after I took it all out of neatly stored boxes, but still…..AIEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!
After 3 yard sales and countless trips to Goodwill, my house looked like a normal person lived there. And I fell in love with it all over again! It was comfortable and clean and organized…. Ahhhhhhh!!!! And then spring came and the yard just looked so……. beautiful!
A little unwarranted medical scare at this time moved me back into another Decision Not To Make A Decision (DNTMAD) session. When that disappeared, I went into an extended Scarlett with the oak tree you see in the picture as the backdrop (just use your imaginations and picture a swooning redhead there by the tree). My inner (my friends might say outer) Drama Queen was in full swing. What to do? What to do?