At least once a week, I get the “moving” bug. I constantly get these emails saying how my life will be transformed into a living paradise if I move to Mexico, Costa Rica, or Equator; how each morning I will wake up and have no worries or cares; how I will be surrounded by loads of smiling, friendly locals and how I will have many new expat friends to socialize with. They describe the beautiful beaches, and extol the virtues of just relaxing in a café, or strolling the local markets, picking up fresh produce. But, I know that sooner or later, I will be bored out of my skull. When I lived in NJ, after my divorce, Saturdays were spent roaming around, maybe going to a movie, going to Costco or the bookstore, but I was very lonely because I did these things alone. My husband was an extrovert, and we had a group of friends we socialized with. But when we broke up, and my new boyfriend was gone too, I was alone. I am one of those people who actually enjoys my own company, sometimes more than being with people. This does not always work to my advantage because left to my own devices, and being the introvert that I am, I tend to isolate. Now that I am not “officially” working, I have virtually no social interaction except for the gym, or Starbucks, which doesn’t really count because these are not personal relationships. I am surrounded by many “acquaintances” that I would call friends, but nobody that I would socialize with regularly. Basically, everybody seems to be attached by the hip to someone else or they’re busy with their own lives. But, the bottom line is that wherever I go or wherever I live, I bring myself, and unless I undergo an extreme personality change—maybe a lobotomy—I will have the exact same issues as I had in NJ and now in Augusta. If I am looking for a geographical cure, it won’t happen because I will still be me, afterall. Yet, no matter how unrealistic, the lure of moving away to a quiet and serene life, where it would be cheaper, with a group of new friends like you see on TV, keeps me dreaming.
Every so often, I find myself getting impatient with someone ambling across the street with a cane. It’s so easy to forget that less than a year and a half ago, that was me. Sometimes when I quickly get up from a seat, and stride very briskly to the other side of the room for something, I find it amazing. Unlike most people who are not impaired, I am acutely aware of how well I simply “walk” and never take it for granted. I know that just plain “walking” without losing balance, fear of falling, or having to hang onto the walls is a gift. Sometimes I become aware that my feet, belly, legs, and back are no longer numb and tingling. I look at my right leg, which was withered as if I had polio, and see a nice, plump muscular leg again. I know that not having my crutch parked beside my bed for help in the middle of the night, is something I never thought I would experience again. Just like anything, it is human nature to not appreciate what you have until you lose it. Things that I thought I would never do again, such as running (a run/walk now) I am doing. I was a prisoner to my disability, never being able to just pick up and go, and I will be forever grateful for that miracle bestowed upon me. OK, if I had not persevered and kept insisting that something was wrong with me, and not just accepted a life of an invalid, I would not have had that “miracle.” So, it all went together and my tenacity was in itself, divine intervention, I believe. When I remember to practice gratitude and appreciation for how I was literally given my life back from the brink, I have a better day. When I focus on the same old petty, annoying, neurotic insecurities (which I will probably never totally lose) I am lost. I know that I have been given a daily reprieve and there are no guarantees in life, but for now, my life is infinitely better than it was, and I cannot forget that.