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Tell us about a time things came this close to working out… but didn’t. What happened next? Would you like the chance to try again, or are you happy with how things eventually worked out?

That’s happened to me a number of times throughout my relatively long life, and generally things have worked out for the better. Divine providence, luck, more knowledge and maturity — I don’t know, but I am happy with the life I have lived so far. It would be nice to cut out some of the pain and uncertainly, but then I wouldn’t be who I am today. Unfortunately it takes getting through hard times to grow.

When the kids were young, we moved to England. My husband is English so this isn’t as off-the-wall as it sounds. He has a large family and at that point his dad’s health wasn’t that great. (He went on to live until 95.) Only two of our kids were school age, one was a baby. Our dream was to find a house with enough room for a vineyard. We had looked around Northern Virginia for property, and weren’t having much luck. Husband was in a job he didn’t particularly like (with a no-competition clause for a year after leaving) and so we decided to try our luck in England. In the southern part of the country there are several vineyards, many doing well.  We even saw a couple of places we like a lot — but not quite right. We tried hard to make square pegs fit into round holes.

After a couple of months of roaming the countryside, we finally settled in Cheltenham, a lovely town with good schools, culture, and historic and natural beauty. My husband took a job with a long commute, and again, didn’t like that one either (nor the travel). So after only about 10 months in England, we returned to the States — Virginia. My husband and valiant bread-winner then started his own business, and has been gainfully employed ever since — with a great boss. It took a year of wandering, physically and mentally, to realize that the grass wasn’t greener, and what’s worse, it cost more. We like many things about Britain, but don’t regret the move back. Was it stupid, foolhardy, a waste of time — not at all. It dispelled a whole pile of what-ifs and set us on a surer course for our lives.