My Decade in Retrospect

Ten years can be a very long time.


in 2010, I had just left Florida. I lived in Florida from the age of 8 through the age of 39, 31 years of warm winters and sweltering summers. I’d lived in Gainesville for the last seven of those years, in a relatively milder climate than the South Florida I grew up in.


I was laid off from a 5-year job in the beginning of 2009, and while I got a new job right away (I was a practicing CPA and it was January. Easy peasy), I knew I wanted to get a new job in External Reporting, the job I’d been laid off from. However, I also knew that no local company was large enough to require such a position, as the biggest employers in Gainesville were the company I was laid off from and the University of Florida, who didn’t require such a thing.


So I began to prepare to move cities for work, something I’d never really done before, not on a big scale. The move to Gainesville had been more prompted by affordable housing than a job. I started downsizing. I sold off or donated most of my 2000 books (down to about 500 – no need to go crazy here!)  I got rid of most of my unused craft supplies, including scrapbooking and candle-making stuff. I got rid of 2/3 of my clothing. Sold off or gave away furniture. All preparing for a big move.


In September 2009, I got a job in Bridgeport, West Virginia, and thus started a new chapter of my life.


I had to move alone, as my husband was finishing up his business degree, to be finished in March. I got a crappy little duplex in the student area of Morgantown, but it would take me, my cat, and eventually my dog and husband. Then I settled in for the first real winter I’ve had to deal with since I was 8.


I’d never driven in the snow. I’d certainly never driven on icy hills. Morgantown had plenty of both. My car was a Honda CRV – front wheel drive. There were… moments. Including one day when the first real snow hit. I went out to Wal-mart, and it was clear when I entered. When I emerged, about a foot of fresh snow was everywhere. I managed to get my car up the steep downtown hills, to the base of the street my duplex was on, but that hill was ridonculous. I wouldn’t be safe walking up that icy sidewalk, much less driving on it. As I searched in my slowly dying phone to find a mechanic I might be able to get to for snow tires or chains, I spied a salt truck going up the hill. The angels sang and I slowly followed it up and didn’t go out again all weekend.


In Morgantown, I met a group of great friends, got involved in the local LARP group, worked a few different jobs, and learned to drive in the snow. I also got a 4-wheel drive car, very necessary. I also began writing. First, a few travel guides at the urging and under the tutelage of my soon-to-be publisher and online friend, then a series of historical fantasy novels. I was hooked.  I loved it! I also kept doing art shows, selling my jewelry and photographs.


This was also the time when I made two very important attempts at change in my life.

  • First, I had gastric sleeve surgery to lose weight. I dropped from 350 pounds to 210, though I now hover between 240 and 270. I would 100% do that again in a minute. It has been a new life since I lost that weight. I keep trying to lose the rest, but that gets harder with every year.
  • Once I lost weight, I tried to have a child – but this attempt was, alas, not to be. I tried several fertility methods, but never managed to catch. We also tried adoption, but for various medical reasons, were denied.


Then I got a job out in rural Pennsylvania. Once again, packing up all we had and moved, but only 2 hours away rather than 10. The place we rented was a huge, 150-yo farmhouse on 4 acres of farmland in Amish country. Beautiful place. Crappy internet. No deliveries. The nearest grocery store was 40 minutes drive away, and the nearest anything was 20 minutes. Still, it was lovely at night when the stars came out. We kept in touch with our WV friends, friends in Hagerstown, but didn’t make many local friends. Our nearest neighbor was a delightful older woman who lived in the 40-acre farm across the street, and who had grown up in our house. Her grandparents once owned the entire valley.


Annnnd then we moved again. This time to Corning, NY. We found a house on the edge of town and I made new friends, this time from an author group at the library. My craft found a home, a group of people to help me learn, to learn from me, and to socialize and gripe about common issues.


It’s been quite a decade. I’ve moved halfway across the country, changed my job and even my career focus several times, made entire sets of wonderful new and lifelong friends. I’ve had major live changes in my health, my future, and my own self-confidence.


While I shiver in the winter as my Florida-acclimated blood tries to hide from the freezing wind, I treasure the friends I’ve made on the way.  They are the best souvenir of a life well-spent that I can think of.


Thank you to all of those who have offered your friendship to me. You are treasured.



Celtic Fairies, Fables, and Folklore! Bestselling author (top #100 Amazon Canada, #1 in Paranormal Fantasy, Amazon Canada) Christy Nicholas, also known as Green Dragon, is an author, artist and accountant. After she failed to become an airline pilot, she quit her ceaseless pursuit of careers that begin with 'A', and decided to concentrate on her writing. Since she has Project Completion Disorder, she is one of the few authors with NO unfinished novels. Christy has her hands in many crafts, including digital art, beaded jewelry, writing, and photography. In real life, she's a CPA, but having grown up with art all around her (her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother are/were all artists), it sort of infected her, as it were. She wants to expose the incredible beauty in this world, hidden beneath the everyday grime of familiarity and habit, and share it with others. She uses characters out of time and places infused with magic and myth. Combine this love of beauty with a bit of financial sense and you get an art business. She does local art and craft shows, as well as sending her art to various science fiction conventions throughout the country and abroad. Facebook: Homepage: Blog: Twitter:

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