Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Changes in Life

A year and a half ago, a year after my divorce after 50, I put my things in storage, packed up my car, and started a road trip to discover where I wanted to live. I'd started out in NJ and drove across country, taking 2 1/2 months for my trip. I not only visited cities I thought I might want to live in, but I also visited places I'd read about and always wanted to see--like the Alamo and the Grand Canyon and Native American cliff dwellings.

I ended up, of course, in the one place I had ruled out because of cost--the Bay area just south of San Francisco. (I should explain that I'm a writer and that gives me a certain flexibility most people don't have.) I was stopping in Palo Alto only to meet up with my daughter, a recent graduate of Stanford University, who was going to be in town to see her friends. But...

A little voice kept nudging me to look at apartments because I knew I would love spending time here. I looked on Craigslist and sure enough, found listings for studios I could afford. A studio apartment? Me? Surely I'd go nuts in such a small place! But that same little voice nudged me to call one particular listing. And it was love at first sight. A converted top story of a house. A landlady whose daughter had read my books. A hummingbird on site as she showed me around. Built in bookshelves (a necessity for a writer!) and storage space for my sewing in the window ledge. I took it. All in the space of one morning.

I've never regretted that choice. It's been a blessing to be here. And I've had the chance to meet wonderful people and teach some classes in public speaking and creative writing for kids through a great place called the Communication Academy in Cupertino. But...

I've been restless, too, wanting a house. A place to set down roots. And so I've been looking for some time--driving up to Oregon, looking online at places I've been and places I might want to go. This past week, I flew to Austin, Texas, not even totally sure I wanted to move there. By Friday, I'd had an offer accepted on a house and by the end of the month, we close.

I'm posting all of this because I know how scary some of the changes in my own life have been and I wanted others, especially other women my age, to know that there are stll wonderful opportunities ahead of us! We can still make changes and go after our dreams. We can create the lives we want to have.

We cannot always choose what happens TO us, but we always have the power to choose how we deal with what happens. It's nice to know it can work out and I wanted to share that.

In my next post, I'll be writing a little about what I saw in Austin, especially regarding evacuees of Hurricane Katrina. I'd like to share what I saw that showed so clearly the power of the human spirit.

Long term, I plan to write about both life and writing. As I said, I'm a writer--31 published novels. I'll be sharing some of the things I've discovered about the writing process as well as the tools I've found that can help us not only survive difficult times in our lives but actually triumph over them.

Until then, wishing you good changes in your lives!

April Kihlstrom