New Beginnings

Life has a way of coming together in just the right ways at just the right times.

On a lazy Saturday morning, my husband, Brent, was listening to a podcast by Leo LaPorte that mentioned blogs. That led Brent to ask me if I would be interested in having a more formal blog than the one I had on Bebo . That led to a discussion of having my own website which led to securing as my domain with BlueHost as my hosting service (this all happened in a matter of about 45 minutes mind you).

Then I plopped myself down to eat a late WeightWatchers-friendly breakfast and the TV was on our local PBS station (because Brent’s regular Saturday shows on that channel). It was pledge time so Dr. Cristiane Northrup pops up with a new show on life beyond menopause for women. I LOVE her books and have found so much happiness and wellness from her medical wisdom. So I found myself watching that show and it ended up being all about women reinventing themselves! Which is exactly what this Saturday morning had already been about!

That’s why I say… life has a way of coming together in just the right ways at just the right times.

This is not an accident. I know it’s not. It all fits together too perfectly to be an accident. I know I am being led through this process of finding myself at the tender age of 40.

It all started a year and a half ago on Halloween 2005 when I found myself in post-op after having spent 3+ hours on an operating table having a hysterectomy that included the removal of 20+ years worth of never-before-detected endometriosis scarring that had fused all my reproductive organs together as well as fusing the mass to other internal organs. Surprise Doc! She thought she was only going in to remove some ovarian cysts and perform a routine hysterectomy. Her surprise was actually my vindication, because it finally explained the hell I’d been living through almost my entire life.

The next year was filled with healings and awakenings. An excitement kept building within me. I was getting a chance to start my life! It was such a freeing and unique feeling to feel like I actually had a life. I thought I’d had one before but I hadn’t really. The world was my oyster! What to do, what to do!

One of the first significant things I did was to join WeightWatchers online through my Kaiser Permanente membership on July 4th just two months before my 40th birthday. July 4th is now my personal Independence Day. That was such a wonderful step toward caring for my body with good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle that I hadn’t known how to maintain before.

The next significant thing I did was to venture out into the world of eBay in order to sell some vintage items for my neighbor as a favor to help her out after there were some unsold things at a yard sale she held in the heat of August. The learning curve was easy thanks to eBay University. I learned how easy it was to ship items (even to foreign countries). The thing that helped me go through the learning process so easily was that I was doing this for someone else—I didn’t feel like it was my own moneymaking scheme (something I loathe). It was a “charitable act” so all the mental blocks that I normally would have had were gone. During the process, I learned about eBay stores and opened my own in order to reduce the fees. I named it Rosehaven Cottage after our own sweet little home of the same name. It stayed dormant for most of its early existence—something for which I felt horribly guilt but now realize it was all part of a larger picture I couldn’t see at the time.

Then came the major step in November 2006 of us completing a major phase in our home remodeling—the master bedroom suite. It enabled us to finally move upstairs and utilize the entire square footage of our home. Spreading out finally allowed my creative juices to not be blocked like they had been for the past 6 years. By vacating the bedroom that had been ours during all the remodeling, I finally had the studio space that I had dreamed of for 6 long years! I could finally “breath” creatively. I could finally think. I could finally be the artist and creator that I’d once been so long ago that it seemed like a different lifetime.

But having the space and having the courage to use it are two very different things indeed. It’s scary to finally have permission to be creative again. It’s intimidating. It’s overwhelming. It’s in need of a good swift kick in the rear!

That kick in the rear came in January 2007 when a long-term temporary houseguest moved into the room that was still not serving as my creative space (too scary, remember). The 16-year-old boy that moved in gave us a taste of parenthood that we had never had the privilege of having. It was wonderful, overwhelming, sometimes stressful, and overall fun. We enjoyed his company for 8 weeks, which ended when we took a vacation to O’ahu to celebrate our anniversary, and he moved back home.

Why is this relevant? I’m still not sure, except it just is. I found myself in Hawai’i with our little digital camera (that we had with us on every vacation) on the beach at Turtle Bay on the tranquil North Shore taking photos of crabs and tide pools. Then I brought the camera the few yards back to our beachfront cottage to download the images to our laptop so I had more memory available in the camera to take more photos. As I looked at the images on the laptop, I realized that I had forgotten how much I loved photography. I was also anxious to share my photos with my husband because he couldn’t climb around on the rocks like I could (he has neuropathy in his feet due to diabetes). As I shared the images with him, I realized I had a passion and talent for capturing how I see the world in photographic images. And those images were beautiful. I shot photos the rest of the time we were there on the island.

I came home with a rediscovered passion of photography, a newly vacated room that would become my studio, a physical energy that I hadn’t ever experienced before in my life, and a drive to do something with it.

Shortly after coming home, I built a free website on freewebs to share my portfolio with my family and friends. I was feeling passionate about something, and it felt so good that I had to share it.

Then within a week or so I read an article in the April issue of Reader’s Digest talking about PhotoShelter being a place to archive photos and share them with members of the photographic community (including potential buyers). For an introvert like me, this was the perfect forum I needed. It was exactly the next step I needed to take to gain confidence to really investigate how to share my photography with a broader audience then just my sweet Hubby.

Everything else has cascaded from there… buying a new Sony Alpha 100 for higher resolution photos; buying a wonderful Canon PixmaPro 9000 photo printer on close-out at our local CompUSA that was going out of business; discovering the wonderful world of informative podcasts on iTunes; spending more time in my backyard wildlife habitat taking photos of the flora and fauna I am so fortunate to be surrounded by everyday; getting amazing support from friends and family as I share my personal passion with them; starting an Etsy store to showcase and sell my textile pieces; and most importantly, realizing that although all this technology seems to have created a frenetically-paced life for a large portion of society, it has actually allowed me to slow down and enjoy life in the simplistic way that it is meant to be enjoyed and savored while connecting me with friends that I never would have met without the technology of the internet.

I truly found life at 40. This is my new beginning.
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