My mother used to say, “Donna, never say what you won’t do. It’s the very thing you’ll end up doing!” She had a lot of crazy cute sayings that, of course when I was younger I could have cared less about. As I began sprouting my own grey hair and with the advent of Andy Rooney crazy eyebrows, I knew she was wiser than I ever gave her credit for being.
I’m from North Carolina and when I was 28, “escaped” the South headed for the place I felt was home…Maine. Sitting in class at the University of Maine in Orono wearing my Bean boots and thermal underwear, I knew this place and these people were my tribe. It felt safe and warm even in those crazy long winters because I learned, it’s not the temperature, it’s the people you meet and come to love. People that value what you do, and welcome you into their kitchens to sit around a big lazy-Susan and talk about family and what’s going on right around you, and yes, asking “What in the world can we do about what’s going on in the world?”.
The only thing Maine lacked for me was enough light to keep my mood in the winter from shifting from a Unicorn to Eyore. After 17 years, I had to leave my tribe there and head to California where the sun shines so often, you forget what rain sounds like when it hits the pavement. Sunshine, amazing fresh vegetables, open skies, some wonderful people, vineyards ablaze with yellow mustard right in the middle of “winter”, Northern California has been a beautiful reprieve from Maine winters, but my heart has missed those places where friends gather around fireplaces, live more simply and because it’s “Life in the Slow Lane”, have more time for each other.
It’s time for me now to move back to that kind of life, so in two weeks, I’m headed for the Chicago “burbs”. Just far enough away from an amazing city to dip into small town life, and yet, a short Metra ride to some of the most amazing art museums, incredible music and theatre, Chicago-style pizza and hot dogs with pickles and tomatoes on them! It’s more than the food that will take me there to the Midwest. Yes, that place where I said many a’ time…“I can’t ever imagine living where there’s no coast.” See…my Mother was right!
I’ll be with my tribe again… my youngest son and his amazing wife…and the cutest, smartest, joy-machine of a 3 -year old grandson you’d ever want to snuggle. It’s Nirvana for me and I hope I will be able to offer these young parents more time to catch their breath…and a quiet dinner out that all young couples need.
My Red Chair travels well, so I’ll be there for the clients I’ve had the pleasure of serving over the years, and I can’t wait to see who else will come into my professional life seeking love and relationships that are healthy and full of the kind of joy love can bring, no matter how old we are. It’s going to be a blast!
More time to write, blog and snowshoe! Alas, Spring is coming fast there, so denial will be my friend until the first blizzard. I’ll be in touch as it all unfolds. See you in Chicago! Tell me things and places you love about Chicago…
Donna Bailey, MS
Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups
Donna’s Big Red Chair