On December 1, 2007, I landed at Orlando International Airport. The lease on my new apartment was active, but my furniture and other possessions were on a moving truck heading slowly in my general direction. I stayed with Melissa, bought a car, signed up for a Florida driver's license, and registered to vote in the next few days.
It has been eight years, but the time has been divided into distinct segments that mirror in some ways the transition stages described by William Bridges: letting go; neutral zone; and new beginnings.
- December 2007 - August 2008. This was one of the worst times of my life. I was an astronaut who had landed on a alien planet; survival was my sole goal. I signed up with a consulting firm primarily for the group health insurance. I had to get my own business and never earned a dime. I found that Central Florida was still the South, with a high degree of segregation of the sexes. I had never gone to so many women-only functions.
- September 2008 - September 2009. Persistent networking turned up an assignment as the interim executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando. I was a one-woman turnaround team. I kept the doors open, made new friends, and decided I never wanted to do anything like that again.
- October 2009 - November 2011. This was time well-spent in the neutral zone. I went to Israel, reconnected with New York clients, and moved tentatively into Democratic politics.
- December 2011 - November 2014. This was definitely a time of new beginnings. With the support of the superb Obama campaign team, I re-invented myself as a grassroots political organizer. I found a community of like-minded people. Helping to carry Florida for President Obama in 2012 was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. I pushed out of my introvert comfort zone in 2013 to collect 2,282 petitions for a constitutional amendment to protect Florida's environment; I ranked 8th in the entire state in petitions collected. I spent 2014 supporting Democrats for governor and other state offices, but that was a bust. Virtually everyone I supported lost.
- December 2014 - December 2015. I pulled back from politics and invested my energy in other ways. I became an overage soccer mom for Gisela and spent more time with family. I wrote and self-published my first (and very likely only) collection of poems to capture memories and feelings I usually kept to myself.
- January 2016 ... I plan to get back into politics, working for Democratic candidates at all levels of government, including - and especially - the President's race.