About 10 years ago, my hubby and I “retired” and moved across the country blissfully anticipating a life of, well, I’m not sure what. We just knew we wanted something different. Life changed from hectic freeway commutes, 12- hour work days, and living on a tiny lot in suburbia. Now there was time to linger over coffee in the mornings, explore our new surroundings, and relax. Those weren’t the only life changes. We had to learn how to be “country mice” instead of “city mice” – not necessarily an easy transition.

That whole retirement thing lasted two or three months.Just long enough for the newness to wear off and boredom to set in. . . I knew that there must be something more to do with my life than this.

And that’s when I decided to become an iris farmer. . .

The thing is I really lofield of irisesve irises. They’re my favorite flower. And since we have several acres of open land, I thought, “Why not grow masses of gorgeous irises for sale?” Like so many choices in life, it seemed like a wonderful idea at the time –especially since my vision revolved mainly around having a gigantic Bloomfest every year. It was going to be amazing — food booths run by non-profit organizations. Music. Flags and balloons. Artists setting up their easels to paint in the fields. Hordes of happy people wandering through the irises buying like crazy. As the old saying goes, I wanted the “fringe around the edges too.”

To be honest the “fringe” is mostly what I wanted.  I didn’t have a clue about the amount of physical labor it took to set up and maintain an iris farm! Didn’t take into consideration how exhausting it would be to work in the heat and humidity of summers in the Deep South.  The truth is I got so caught up in my whole Bloomfest fantasy that I overlooked the most important question I should have asked – “Is being an iris farmer really how I want to spend my days?” After a few years I had to swallow hard and admit it wasn’t. 

It wasn’t easy to let go. The money poured into this project. So many days spent on my hands and knees yanking up weeds in the sweltering heat (no joy there). And the biggest obstacle — that gut-wrenching feeling that I had absolutely no idea what to do next.

Maybe that’s where you are now —  in the process of letting go. . . perhaps of a dream or a relationship. Maybe it’s a career that just doesn’t fit. Or something else close to your heart. You may be wondering “What’s next? Where do I go from here?” I get it because I’ve walked in those shoes too. I know how they can hurt!

path through woodsSorting out what was important and meaningful to me from all the “shoulds” I’d bought into over the years was tough. But without answers I couldn’t write the next chapter in my life story.

Trying to find a new path, not one born of magical thinking or what others think is best or what you feel locked into doing is crazy-hard. It can be raw, painful, and emotional. It takes time and if you’re anything like me, you want those answers NOW — not next month or next year.

So what’s my point? Before you decide to settle for the path of least resistance or jump into a “What was I thinking?” choice you later regret, STOP! Slam on the brakes and ask, “What is it that truly makes my heart sing? What satisfies my soul? Who was I born to be?” Pay attention to the whispers of that small voice within. If you’re on the wrong pathway, even if you’re way down that pathway, there’s still time to change direction.

We’re all on this journey called Life together. So let’s help each other find answers, collaborate, encourage, and nudge each other forward when our courage and resolve begins to falter. I invite you to become part of the Make Your Life Count Movement and join a global community of women who refuse to get to the end of their lives with regrets and “if onlys. . .” Together we can all succeed.

Have you ever found yourself going down the wrong path? How did you change direction? I’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment.

Bonnie Pond is an inspiring speaker and founder of the international Make Your Life Count Movement. She’s the author of The Power of Three: How to be Happy and Get What You Want in Life (Without Doing Anything Illegal, Immoral, or Unethical) and Unlock Your Creativity: 30 Days to a More Creative YOU!, host of a weekly radio show, and self-described “Bahooda Kicker” who helps women stop settling for less than they really want in life. Her mission is to motivate women around the world to live their purpose, love their lives, and make them count.

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