Cost of not living your dream

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Whatever you do will be insignificant but it is very important that you do it.  Gandhi

When we first begin to make changes, we don’t always make the right ones, especially if our decisions are made in haste. I learned the cost of my mistakes the hard way.

Making rash decisions

in 2008,  I became tired of waiting for my landlord to make repairs on my apartment.  I wasn’t allowed to make the repairs, either. So I made the decision to move.  Having accessibility issues, I took the first place that accommodated those, was approximately the right size, and fair price.  I learned quickly there is so much more that should go into a decision this large.

Where I moved was now 12 miles from any amenity, and almost immediately after the move gasoline prices started to skyrocket. This meant I stayed home most of the time, venturing out only a couple of times a month. This also meant  friends and relatives, I enjoyed spending my time with, couldn’t afford the gas on a regular basis to stop in.

There were other issues with the new apartment that I noticed before I moved in but disregarded out of a desire to find a new home. First being that while the building had previously been a small grocery store,  in the conversion to an apartment no changes were made to replace the standard stationary commercial windows with ones that would open allowing fresh air into the space.

The floors were commercial tile, laid directly on a concrete pad. Living in a cold climate this became unbearable to walk on during the winter months especially. I have had arthritis since I was a child and these floors aggravated the situation.

Finally, I realized my bedroom held  the electrical box. The only place to put my bed was between the furnace and the electrical box which controlled the entire building.

What I hadn’t counted on was my landlord.  He lived directly across the street from me and was a controlling and nosy landlord.  To give you an idea how bad it was, soon after I moved in he showed up while my son and his family were visiting to tell me my guests needed to leave by 7:30 pm because he went to bed at 8 pm and needed to know when they left.  He informed me he watched everything and wanted nothing to be going on when he couldn’t watch. I didn’t need a curfew and I’m too old to need a parent telling me what I could do at this stage in life.

Health issues arise quickly

Soon after I moved into the apartment I began to experience severe anxiety attacks. My disability also worsened leaving me feeling weak all the time.  With the only window being in the front of the building and the bedroom in the back natural light was a problem.  My bedroom was so dark I had trouble waking and without an alarm clock, which I never needed before, could not get out of bed.

The anxiety was so debilitating I needed to seek help. I was put on an anti-anxiety medication which caused a whole string of health problems as well, but I won’t bore you with those.

I knew moving again would be a problem and decided to wait it out. I believed in time at least the landlord problems would work themselves out when he saw I was a solid tenant. It didn’t. I felt disconnected from life; disconnected from nature, yet was living right in the middle of it; worse I felt imprisoned in a box. I craved the fresh air but could find no way to get any inside the apartment.

Taking back my life

Reaching the two-year mark, I knew something had to change and quickly. I was in such bad shape, but I knew I couldn’t do anything rash again.  So started the process of evaluating what I needed and valued.   Once I knew what really mattered to me, which were the relationships I hold dear not the belongings I had, I began to research where and how I wanted to live.

Once I found my new space I instantly began to feel better. I stopped sleeping all the time. I had energy now. My muscle weakness was improving. Best of all I found new friends who shared my values right in my own backyard. I had fresh air, privacy, and nature all around.

Four  months after moving, I forgot to take my anti-anxiety medication two days in a row. When I realized this I was stunned at how much better I felt. I decided to see if I could now live an un-medicated life  It’s been six months since that day and I feel wonderful.

Your dreams will reveal your needs and show you where to turn

By listening to your inner voice, listening to your dreams, you will find what works and doesn’t  in your life.  We must listen not only with our minds but our hearts. To do any less  you are short-changing your life.

Who could know that geographic location, or too much time spent alone could have such dire consequences.

For you, this may mean little tweaks to how you live your life.  You may need to incorporate a little more “me” time into your day, or making your home feel more comfortable. For others, this may mean working to find meaningful work that better suits you. In my case, I needed to physically move to a new space.

I could have continued to live where I was.  I could have told myself any number of things. Instead, I took things slowly, learning more about me before I  jumped. I needed a simpler life, a smaller space that allowed me more time for the things I needed in my life. What is your heart longing for? Answering that question will point you in the right direction, to your dream life.


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