Every November I buy my new appointment book for the approaching year. Thus begins the tedious but necessary task of setting up my calendar of appointments for several hundred very loyal and very organized clients. Some people schedule a haircut every four or five weeks, others have cut/color every three, four or five weeks. Then there are my once a week folks who just have a wash and blow dry on a regular weekly basis.
Planning a drastic life change like the one we are currently in the process of embarking upon has the tendency to bring up many and varied emotions. I’m expecting all these emotions to reach a fevered pitch as our date of departure gets closer to becoming an actual reality . At the moment, our goal is to be ready to move by next June. Right now there are so many projects and decisions around preparing to sell our home and minimizing our material possessions for transportation to a new country. So focusing on what this whole move will actually feel like for me emotionally isn’t the most productive activity at the moment. But still, I can’t help having moments like this, when I let myself ponder how hard leaving all that I know and love, will actually be. After all the flurry that comes with preparing for a move to another country settles, what’s next? I ponder what it will be like to say our goodbyes to all the people we know, and love and then get on that airplane headed for a new life in a new country . On that day I’m sure my heart will be filled with conflicting emotions. Part of me will most definitely be sad, and a little scared, and another part will be filled with anticipation, and excitement . It’s been my experience time and again, that the most difficult and challenging life experiences that I’ve faced have been the ones that have brought about the most meaningful and significant outcomes. This decision Scott and I have made is not a decision that we’ve made lightly. It’s been a culmination of six years of much thought, endless discussions , and never-ending research. Not to mention lists, lists, and more lists! But no amount of discussion or research will be able to completely prepare me (or Scott, even though I don’t think he’s too focused on how much he’ll miss Home Depot!) for the reality of leaving all that we know. With all this in mind , I’m confident that it won’t take long before we feel at home in our new town and are building new relationships and enjoying our new digs.
The other day one of my clients who really loves me and cares about me, said,” Is it really so bad here? Why leave?”. She was just so concerned and didn’t understand why anyone would want to leave the U.S. and especially California. California is one of the most beautiful places to live, for sure! I had to explain that we aren’t running away from anything “bad”. We aren’t so terribly unhappy here. Nope. It’s very simply a decision to experience a different way of life. Change. We aren’t looking for paradise or the “perfect” life. That’s not very realistic. We like to make things happen in our life ! As opposed to just letting life happen “To” us. Scott and I are very fortunate to be on the same page about our life and what we want to do. And we aren’t afraid to dive into a big adventure full of challenges as long as we have each other . We are sure to hit walls at times that are painful, we’ve certainly been there and survived it. Even grown from it! But we agree that staying put and not pursuing this dream is not an option.
Obviously expatriating is not for everyone! We aren’t following a path that most people would even consider. But I know countless people who have left their families and all they know to relocate to a different state here in the U.S. . It may not be a whole different country but the change is still very significant. Yes, the language is the same and the culture isn’t so different, but they still had to start their lives over again. New home, new friends, new job, new Doctors& dentists, unfamiliar surroundings. And family no longer close by. I have always admired these people and envied them too. To have an opportunity to redefine yourself and your life seems appealing to me. And very rarely, if ever, have any of these people expressed regret for having made such a drastic and somewhat difficult change.
I can’t write a blog about emotions without talking about the most emotional aspect of all……….Mariah ( my daughter). Yep, in normal situations it’s the “kids” who leave the parents! But we’re breaking with the “norm” and leaving the kid.(The Norm’s no fun!) Everyone wants to know what she thinks about our plans. From the very start she’s been supportive and says she understands the appeal of a simpler, less materialistic, less stressful life. As a matter of fact, she toyed with the idea of joining us. But after really thinking about it, has decided , for now, to establish herself here and pursue a career. Who knows, down the road she may decide to spend extended periods of time in Panama. I know there is also a part of her that’s sad thinking about us not being right here. But anyone who has ever known Mariah knows that she has always been fiercely independent! She’s not the kind of kid who needs a lot of face-time , she’s established a life of her own , which is the natural progression of life. School, Apartment, Car, Job, friends, bills , all the necessary ingredients for a life of her very own. She really knows how to make things happen for herself! Albeit , a bit earlier than most, she’s only 20! I don’t know where she gets that natural inclination to break with the “Norm!”. Hmmmmmmm? I don’t think I would be able to move forward with this plan of ours if she weren’t on such a good path. The timing feels right and I can see that she has a firm grip on her life and is more than capable of living her life with me in a different country. It’s not like she can’t pick up a phone and call me anytime she likes. But even now, we talk on the phone only about once, sometimes twice a week. Modern technology has made the world a much smaller place. So between Skype, Magic Jack, and Email, it won’t be too much different than it is right now. I’m pretty sure one of the biggest things she’ll miss are the occasional Mother/Daughter shopping sprees! I’ll miss that too! Lol!
The other subject that really evokes intense emotions is my salon. One Eighty Four Plaza South has been a part of me and has in a big way defined me for the last twenty years ! Me and my very dear friend, Madonna , designed and built the salon together in 1993. We ran the business together until about 2000, when her life took a different path and she moved to a different state. I have continued to run the salon on my own , making changes , dealing with non-stop maintenance and repairs, and enjoying most everything , good and bad about owning my own business . I have been extremely fortunate to have always found such amazing stylists to work with me. Through the years I’ve had the honor to have worked with four very special women that have been not only co-workers but very dear friends. Donna, Tessa, Natalie and Patti. Working together in such close quarters I always become so attached to the people I work with. We share so much of our lives working side by side for 8 to 10 hours a day. Laughing, telling stories, supporting one another through all of life’s trials and tribulations, laughing some more and sometimes even crying,( we are “women” after all ! ) . It’s impossible to spend so much of your life with people and not develop deep, lasting relationships! These four very special women will always inhabit a very special place in my heart. And most recently my list of four special women grew to five when Patti relocated to Texas and Elisabeth joined our little family. She is a very talented, ambitious young women , and Its so great to have the opportunity to mentor her and to pass on a little bit of my nearly 30 years of experience on to her. Watching her soak it all in and achieve success is rewarding beyond belief. ( Not taking credit for her success, she owns that and is earning it with each passing day! ) I know beyond a doubt that my clients who choose to give her a chance will be pleasantly surprised by the level of creativity, and professionalism they receive from such a young stylist. Leaving my little salon will be very hard, I’ll miss so much about it. And when I think back to these twenty years I’ll always smile! I’ve been so lucky! Actually, LUCK had very little to do with it, hard work has really paid off, for sure!
When I look back at this time of my life I’ll have no regrets because I’m confident that I’ve succeeded in conducting my business and my life with honesty, integrity and kindness, mixed with a bit of humor! It’s always been my hope that every person who walks into my salon feels important and cared about. And I think I’ve succeeded in creating a very warm, welcoming environment where people enjoy spending time. I’m very pleased that my dear friend Natalie wants to take the reigns when I go . It will be her turn to make the salon reflect her personality and I know she’ll enjoy making it hers. To me, it’s been a bit like welcoming people into my home everyday . I hope she gets as much pleasure from running the business as I have. I like to think its a special place and I know Natalie feels the same way and will do an exceptional job at keeping it that way!
I’ve got a lot to say about the subject of emotions, as you probably noticed! :). And I’m pretty sure there will be other posts that touch on even more aspects of how this journey makes me feel and all the many emotions that come into play surrounding this next chapter of my life. Let me say though, that the over-riding emotion besides fear, sadness, anxiety,and anticipation, is intense excitement ! There’s so much to experience and learn and see! I can’t wait to start the part of this blog that shares all those new experiences with you ! The Adventure is coming! And you’ll all be with me in spirit as you read my long-winded blogs( in between snoring and falling asleep !) :). Lol!