I just took the biggest risk of my life. I quit my job, sold my big house in the country and moved to a new city to start redesigning my life.
My former life as a college professor was fulfilling and full of great people, but also all consuming. I was better at taking care of my work and my students than myself, and I found it difficult to make time for family and friends. With our long commutes, my husband and I often felt like two ships passing in the night. I was exhausted, and it was taking toll on my health. I wasn’t living the life of the person that I had always dreamed I would be.
I needed a drastic change. I am not independently wealthy, and I knew I would have to make financial sacrifices. When would the time be right? Should I wait for retirement? We are not guaranteed a future. If I kept on my path, I felt sure that I might not live to see retirement, or at least not a retirement where I was active and healthy. I am not generally a courageous person, but I took a leap of faith to live the life that I dream of.
And so, I am combining my love of reading and writing in a new way- Life Redesign 101 is born. Reinventing ourselves seems to be a generational movement, although I suspect there is more talk about change than actual change. New Year’s resolutions anyone? Not a day goes by that I don’t see a headline screaming, “Ten Things to Do This Minute to Change Your Life Forever”, or ” 7 Ways to Be Happy Now.” Headlines promise a quick fix to the good life, but as my friend, teacher and Hobart Shakespearean leader Rafe Esquith always tells his students, (and titled one of his books)” there are no shortcuts.”
I know that there are other people out there who feel the call to improve some aspect of their own life- to lose weight, or organize their home or decorate without being a millionaire. Maybe you want more joy and laughter in your life, or more calmness or more time with people you care about. Me too. I don’t have all the answers, but I am on a journey to find out how to live more simply, happily and well.
When I took a long, careful look at my true talents, skills and passions, I realized that redesigning things is what I am best at. A supervisor once described me as someone who has both the vision to see how things can be improved and the work ethic to make it happen. I have often been a voice for change, an enthusiastic, energetic leader for projects. I have redesigned programs, schools, and houses. I should be able to redesign my own life.
If I am being honest, I have to admit that I am a little bit nervous about giving up my profession. I worked hard to earn a Ph.D. and to build a successful career. Am I wasting my education? Can I really give up being a teacher? As a child, I once earned fifty cents for teaching my cousin how to tie her shoes, an accomplishment which had long eluded my aunt and uncle. I have been helping people learn ever since. It’s not just what I do, it’s who I am.
I decided to trust myself and listen to my own wisdom. I know I can work hard, and accomplish much; is not my own life worthy of at least as much effort as I put into the other areas of my life? Ella Fitzgerald once said, “If there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can ever go wrong.” And so, I am inspired to boldly go forth.
I am, at heart, always a teacher. I believe that a teacher is not someone with all the knowledge, but someone who facilitates learning for others. This is my classroom now; welcome to Life Redesign 101. I hope you will join me in creating a better life.