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Is there a mistake you’ve made that turned out to be a blessing — or otherwise changed your life for the better? Tell us all about it.

In a way, every mistake is a blessing — because it is a learning experience. The more experiences we gain, the wiser our decisions become. I’ve made my share of mistakes, and lived through them. I don’t dwell on them because they’re in my past — no reason to relive things that are over.

A big mistake that I share with my husband was to move to England in 1984 with our four children. We’d thought it through carefully and had good reasons for doing it. My husband is English and his four siblings lived there relatively close to their parents. His dad hadn’t been well, and it was kind of a strain being on this side of the Atlantic when we knew he was ailing. My husband wasn’t that happy at the firm he was working at in Washington, so leaving wasn’t a big loss. I’d lived in Scotland (University of St. Andrews) and in London, between 1967-1973, and basically enjoyed Britain, and I was more than willing to go back and give living there a try.

So we packed up our belongs, including one car, and moved in June 1984 when my last child was just 6 months old. We flew over and stayed with his parents for a few weeks, then set off to see take a look at properties in different areas to the south of where they lived in North Wales, near Chester. Sticker shock hit us immediately; property was so expensive, and bought so much less than what we had in the States. Eventually, we ended up in Cheltenham renting a nice townhouse, and my husband took a job in his area of expertise. Working in Britain was a very different experience for him, and he wasn’t thrilled with it. We had two little ones in school, and they weren’t that happy — but of course their lives had been disrupted and the school was bigger than what they were used to.

We lasted a year. Paul’s dad improved. We realized that we wanted to return to the U.S. Obviously we felt like there must have been some flaws in our logic that led us to make the move — but we also knew that our place was not in England. So, my husband quit his job, we repacked all our possessions, and move in the other direction, the right direction for us.

The best thing about our “mistake” is that we’ve never had doubts since our return about where we want to live. We tried and failed and didn’t have any doubts about buying another house here, and settling into what has turned out to be our home for 28 years.

 

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