Recently--as in six weeks ago--I closed the doors on the home I'd lived in for nineteen years. I left behind the view I loved, the lilac bushes I'd nourished, the garden I'd toiled in, and the house I'd worked on lovingly for almost two decades. I'd built a life there, raised children...even held my husband's funeral reception there. But the last few years as an empty nester and widow depressed me beyond words until my creativity felt forced and even fake on occasion.
As a writer, one needs to create to live, to be happy, to understand ones's self at a deeper level. Not only am I the sole support of the family so not creating anything new is a huge problem, but my identity is wrapped up in art. Whether it be sanding down a piece of furniture to bring it new life or painting the house or gardening or, of course, writing, I am a creator.
But I'd stopped creating.
I haven't had a new release in nearly two years. That's unheard of for me. I have projects that are half-started but are simply waiting for me to do something. Anything. My mind would scream at me, "do something!"
So I did. I sold everything. I left. I came to a new city in a new state where I know no one. It's an artist colony. All my research about it said "don't come here looking for a job, there aren't any. You need to be self-employed." Art surrounds me everywhere I look. I see people who are so talented they blow my mind.
I downsized into a house half the size of my last home. I left my gorgeous mountain view for a city yard where neighbors are a bit too close. Thanks to nineteen years of equity, however, I was able to buy this new home outright--no more mortgage! Less stress. New places to explore.
What I'm finding is that I have moments of wild, heart-wrenching grief over all that I have left behind followed by longer moments of serenity where I understand I needed to change. I needed to let go of the past because I no longer fit there. I didn't belong with the ghosts of kids' laughter or memories of a handsome husband who died too young. I needed to recommit to who I am as Amber, the writer, the overly-curious one, the one who was once so passionate about everything.
This new place may not be my forever home. I may need to move again in a year or two, but that's okay. My creativity is coming back to me. I'm finishing a few of those projects. I'm having new ideas. I'm exploring--my goal is to discover a new place once a week. I'm meeting really interesting people.
Change wasn't easy. In fact, I still get homesick for that view I left. But I was dying there. I was experiencing a slow death where I clung to an image of myself that no longer fit. So here I am, recreating myself into the woman and writer I am meant to become.
I'll keep you posted about my progress!
Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of romantic thrillers, contemporary romance, women's fiction, and nonfiction. She also writes five different blogs, works as a professional editor and creativity coach, creates a line of inspirational journals, volunteers for children's literacy, travels as often as possible, and advocates for suicide awareness. To find out more about her books, please visit http://www.amberleaeaston.com.