Two weeks ago, I wrote about my arduous decision to return to India. I was an empty-nester, weighing the pros and cons of relocating. Did I want the comforts of my safe Colorado lifestyle or the risks associated with living in a Third World county? My emotions were running wild as I vacilated between my options. I had a tough choice.
- Was I too old to consider such an adventure? Certainly not.
- Was I apprehensive about changing my lifestyle? Absolutely.
- After decades of being married, was I willing and ready to take a solo journey? I wasn’t sure.
While my decision was monumental, the actual day of departure was even more grueling. Few people supported my decision. I felt alone, but at the same time determined. As reality set in, some doubts began to surface like the small bubbles that form in a pot of boiling water.
The following excerpt is taken from May This Be the Best Year of Your Life.
I drove to the airport while Ira sat silently next to me. Jordan snoozed in the back. It was unnatural for us to go so long without talking. Tears were welling up like lava in a volcano about to erupt. I remained composed until Ira had to coax me out of my seat.
“I’m going to miss both of you,” I said as I dabbed my eyes.
“We’ll be fine. I’m more worried about you,” Ira replied.
I slipped a Kleenex out of my pocket and blew my nose. “Josh will take care of me.”
As Jordan removed my luggage from the car, Ira spoke. “Hopefully, I’ll see you next quarter.”
Tears were gushing when I replied, “But that’s not until October.”
Jordan was staring down at me when I grabbed his lanky body. “Jords, I’ll see you at Josh’s wedding. Love ya.”
Hugs, kisses, and long embraces followed. Ira repeatedly offered to tote my bags into the airport. I insisted on doing it myself. My survival mandated no assistance.
When I turned my back and walked into the airport, I became nauseous and light-headed. It was similar to what I’d experienced in the Keystone Clinic as Ira’s comatose body lay in the adjacent room. Plunging, once again, into unchartered waters required me to gain control. I couldn’t look over my shoulder for fear that I would gallop back to the car. If Ira and Jordan had called out to me, I’m not sure how I would have responded. I was conflicted. My inner turmoil had been building for years. Ira’s career path certainly had caused an upheaval in our lives, but the crux of my indecisiveness was rooted much deeper. Staying home and raising my children had been an amazing experience while it lasted. People who’d loved raising their kids had warned me that the years would pass in a flash. Indeed, they had. I had attempted to prepare myself for the day when I would become an empty-nester.
Other than a love of learning, nothing else could explain my dedication in plowing through two master’s degrees between 1993 and 2005. Nevertheless, I never anticipated that external factors would prevent me from fully utilizing my updated education. I never had attained my dream of having a rewarding career, but instead had sputtered from one job to the next.
Like other women raised in the ’60s, I had choices. My choice was unpopular to some—choosing motherhood over a career path. Somewhere along the way, I began to challenge my decision and wondered how my life would have been different had I combined motherhood with a career. Knowing the demands of raising four sons with an assortment of complicated childhood medical issues and living with a high-powered attorney who frequently traveled and spent long hours preparing for trial, I realized that I had made the correct choice for my family. The result of my decision was that I could provide a nurturing family environment and prepare my children for adulthood. But apart of me still felt empty and longed for something slightly beyond my grasp.
With my children no longer needing my day-to-day care, I saw a small window of opportunity. I could kick up my heels and do as I pleased. Was I undergoing a midlife crisis, as I had alluded to when I spoke with Caroline? I didn’t know. I wasn’t interested in divorcing the love of my life (a common response to middle-age questioning)—I simply wanted to see if I could find a sense of individual purpose that was separate from those of my husband and sons. Undertaking this task was risky, but a small voice inside me egged me on despite my reservations and the negative feedback I received from others.
Four years later, I remain steadfast with my choice to be an international teacher in India. I am proud of what I accomplished. I have amazing memories and pictures. I did not allow my fears or other people’s naysaying to alter my decision. I was not afraid to step outside my comfort zone to pursue my dream. In my 50s, I worked in a foreign country. For decades I was content to let motherhood control my destiny. As an empty-nester, I took advantage of a once in a lifetime experience to teach in an international school in Bangalore.
Was this adventure worth the risks? Yes.
- Do you have a risky decision that you would like to share?
- Has your job ever caused you to be separated from your spouse for a significant period of time?
- Anyone sharing his/her decision making experience in the comment section (see below) by May 4 will be eligible for a random drawing. The winner will receive an autographed copy of May This Be the Best Year of Your Life.
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Sandra Bornstein is the author of MAY THIS BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE. It is available on Amazon. Sandra’s memoir highlights her living and teaching adventure in Bangalore, India. She is a licensed Colorado teacher who has taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad as well as college level courses. Sandra is married and has four adult sons. The memoir was a finalist in the Travel category for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards, the 2013 USA Best Book Awards, and received an Honorable Mention award in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category for the 2013 Global ebook Awards.