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Friday, November 8, 2013

FOOLISH OR FEARLESS by Alison Henderson

FEARLESS FRIDAY
It's Fearless Friday and my guest Alison Henderson has quite a tale for you. Please elaborate, Alison!
 
Ten months ago I stepped off the edge of a cliff. Or more to put it more accurately, I jumped. In the space of a few short months I changed nearly every aspect of my life…on purpose.

In July of 2012, the day job I had loved for sixteen years began to devolve. My beloved boss and mentor died in March of that year, and his son and daughter took over the day-to-day operation of the business. They immediately began to make changes, as was their right as the new majority owners. However, the first major change involved dismantling my position, removing the aspects I’d found rewarding, and leaving only tasks that sucked every ounce of pleasure out of coming to work.

I won’t go into the gory details because, thank God, they are no longer important, but within weeks I knew I had to leave. I rarely slept, my hair was falling out in handfuls, and a particularly unpleasant encounter gave me a prolonged episode of cardiac arrhythmia. I hadn’t planned to retire for a few years, but with the support of my husband we moved the timetable ahead, and I took (very) early retirement December 31st.

I had spent most of those last six months on the job trying to decide what I wanted the rest of my life to look like. I knew I wanted to continue writing, but I also wanted to stretch my creative wings and learn some new skills. I majored in Art History in college and have always been a very visual person, so I decided to try my hand at cover design. I taught myself Photoshop and began by designing several covers for a friend who was getting ready to self-publish a series of romantic suspense novellas.  Working with her was a wonderful experience, and we were both thrilled with the results.

Buy Link: http://tinyurl.com/kqskn69
Although I adored the cover of my first book, the next two were a bit disappointment, so I decided my next project would be to design my own cover and self-publish my fourth book. Unwritten Rules, released in September, was a first for me in many ways: my first contemporary, my first romantic suspense, my first self-designed cover, and my first foray into self-publishing. I got editing help (a must) but did everything else myself. What a learning experience!

For a normal person that would be enough novelty for one year, but not for me. After twenty-three years in Minnesota, my husband and I decided to move to Carmel, California. Did we do the easy thing and move into the vacation condo we’ve owned for a couple of years? Yes and no. We moved into the condo, but only while the new house we bought is being remodeled from the studs out. It is scheduled to be finished by the middle of December, and I can’t wait to move in, unpack everything we brought from Minnesota, and finally settle into some semblance of a normal life.

So much change in such a short period of time has been challenging for my husband. He’s still struggling to adjust to the all the changes, from the effects of the time zone change on his TV schedule to having to find a new barber. Some days I wonder if I should have been more cautious, taken more time to consider and evaluate my options. I’m a thinker by nature; I don’t usually make rash decisions. But for some reason, this felt like the time to take risks. I’m an eternal optimist, and my heart tells me everything will work out for the best. I hope I’m right. Only time will tell if I was fearless or foolish.

If you’re curious about the ups and downs of my big year of change, I took a page from Brenda’s book and started my blog The Second Half (http://alisonhenderson.blogspot.com) in January to chronicle the challenges and opportunities of re-inventing yourself after fifty.

Alison Henderson

12 comments:

  1. I know the feeling of uprooting and big changes, Alison. After 20 years my husband and I decided to return to my home state Oklahoma in 2007. We'd lived in Modesto, California since Feb 87, raised our three daughters (one from birth) and hubby working his way up in a prosperous construction company. We left it all and our three girls, two with husbands and one with a baby, moved with us. Youngest wanted to graduate hs with her cousin here so we let her move out ahead of us. I think in some ways that was the biggest challenge for me. Empty nesting for six months before the move. On top of that I finally sold my first book three years after getting to OK. But it was a good move for us. I hope yours is too.

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    1. Wow, your move was even more challenging than ours, Calisa! Our daughter had lived in Chicago for 8 years before we moved. I'm not sure I couldl have done it otherwise.

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  2. I can't imagine that a move to Carmel won't have a positive end, despite the headaches you're dealing with now. It is such a beautiful place. Soon, you'll be able to kick back and just enjoy!

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    1. You're right, Jannine. The sheer beauty of the place refills my well every day.

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  3. I have to vote for fearless not foolish. Great post, Alison!

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    1. Thanks, Brenda. Your adventure inspired me to make the leap.

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    2. Then I hope it turns out perfect for you. Wouldn't want to be blamed otherwise. LOL

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  4. Kudos to you for choosing such drastic changes, Alison!

    I'll have to admit that most of the drastic changes in my last year were forced upon me. If I'd had the courage, I'd have moved house much sooner, but then again, I didn't have the means that came along just in time to help me transition when it became unavoidable.

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    1. Sometimes things fall in place just when you need them, Naomi.

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  5. Oh, you're definitely fearless in my book, Alison! The bravest thing we've ever done was also a move from the North Island of NZ to the South Island. Our son was only two at the time, and we left everyone and everything we knew for a job opportunity for my hubby. The pay drop was drastic as we'd moved from the big city of Auckland to the smaller but beautiful city of Nelson. But it was the best move ever! We're surrounded by natural beauty with beaches, national parks and mountains all within a few minutes drive - and they even did some filming of the Hobbit here. I feel my creative side woke up when we decided after a couple of years that this is home. Having said that - we were in our late twenties, so our move wasn't nearly as brave as yours!

    By the way - I've seen some of your cover art and think you are fabulous! You've definitely made the right move for you. :)

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    1. Thanks, LaVerne! I'm not surprised that your surroundings stimulate your creative juices - it's gorgeous there. I find Carmel does the same for me.

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  6. Kudos, Alison, for all the changes. I made 2 similar changes only separated by 5 yrs. I, too, had a job that devolve. I had to stick with it since it had health benefits. As soon as I was close to Medicare & we could afford COBRA, I quit. Best thing I did. Our move was 2 months ago. Not anywhere as far as yours (only 120 miles) but definitely great as now we can see our grandkids more often. I think you've been very fearless. Best wishes.

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