The pandemic brought about a lot of changes in our lives, both professionally and personally. Some changed professions or married their lockdown partners, while others ended marriages of 10-30 years. Almost all of us were forced to work remotely and soon came to realize our newfound freedoms as a result. We connected or worked with anyone, anywhere from anywhere. Embracing this new reality, many people moved towns or states.
I moved to another country.
CBS Sunday Morning called it “The Great Reshuffle”. I call it “The Global Reshuffle”. Americans relocated to different cities or states. If you take one step out of the U.S., you’ll find many moving to different countries. American or not, people all have one common denominator:
We all want to be happy and healthy. We all want to thrive. After the pandemic, most of us will do whatever it takes to make that happen.
In fact, Arianna Huffington founded Thrive Global on this very premise: You MUST be healthy (balanced mind, body & soul) to be happy and thrive.
I’ve always known the importance of health since childhood when the sole focus of my existence was my horse. Competitive show jumping wasn’t just a passion, it was the center of my world. There was no way I could be competitive unless I was healthy and strong and focused. Since age 10, I have eaten clean, stayed very active, and made sure to sleep at least 7 solid hours per night.
I attribute this wellness lifestyle as a key component to my career accomplishments. I graduated from Emory University at the top of my class; I have my MA in Middle East Politics; I was the youngest Director of Marketing at a top 10 law firm in NYC; I was the youngest appointed diplomat in the history of the Israeli Government to North America; I achieved “Top Producer” status of realtors in Miami within the first 12 months of my career; and I surpassed target goals as the Chief Development Officer of the Usher’s New Look Foundation.
Fast forward 40 years later and my self-care program remains solid. In fact, I found a place on the planet that makes wellness commonplace. I hid out in Marbella, Spain during the pandemic and fell in love with it. The culture, the food, the mentality, the weather, the environment – it’s the quintessential wellness lifestyle. Here wellness is naturally built into the culture. You don’t need to seek it out, it’s how life is lived here. The food is clean and fresh; the people are warm and friendly; the microclimate provides for a total of 12-15 days of rain annually; lunch is a 2/3-hour orchestrated affair with no one rushing off to a meeting or having “a hard stop at X:XXpm”. Life here simply flows. It took this A+ Type native New Yorker some time to adjust to this flow, but once I did, there was no turning back. I knew my Miami/NYC Real Estate 80hr-Work Week World was over. I returned to the U.S. in Summer 2021 to organize my affairs and move back permanently.
I made the ultimate commitment to a wellness lifestyle. I moved to another country (where I knew very few people) to make sure the rest of my days would be healthier and happier than ever.
I returned to Marbella in November of 2021 and checked into a modest hotel with the intention of securing permanent work and then moving close to my new office to avoid a commute. Once work and my new home were secured, I could get a car, a dog, a nice group of friends and a handsome Spanish boyfriend.
Instead, all I got was COVID; then Long COVID; and, then… COVID again; and, then… Long COVID again. Cumulatively, I was bedridden for 3.5 month and on a very light schedule (out of my room for 3-4 hours per day) for 4.5 months. Once that 8-month debauchery ended and I started to get better, I came down with strep throat within a couple of weeks. This led to a 10-month battle with four different residual chronic conditions.
I spent 21 months in a small hotel room alone in a foreign country, of which 18 months were spent sick to varying degrees – from very sick to bedridden. Although I was a fierce gatekeeper of my mind and emotions, knowing that staying positive was the key to my recovery, the sheer endurance of it started wearing me down. Given my business mentality, I posted on a LinkedIn Group looking for some strategies. What happened next was surreal:
Out of nowhere, in the wee hours of the morning, from the East Coast of the U.S., there was a reply from an angel in New Jersey, Vicky Roncero. She was incredibly knowledgeable, and I was taken by her passion and commitment to helping people. “It’s all about energy!”, she kept telling me. I am a conservative business lady who has always been open to non-Western healing modalities. But, Vicky is in New Jersey and I’m in Spain. Under usual circumstances, I would never consider such a thing. But, these were definitely not usual circumstances. Vicky explained how effective remote energy work is and genuinely wanted to help me. So I went for it.
We had two 2-hour sessions together. If you are like me, someone who needs to “see it to believe it”, these pictures say it all.
With renewed strength and energy, I was able to move out of the hotel room!
Here I am today, 19 months after my first COVID diagnosis, waking up in my own room, in my new home, with enough energy to go for a morning walk which has been part of my self-care routine for 40 years….. So, I head down to the beach and find this:
Yeah. Me too – never!
I’m sure my Global Reshuffle was different than most. But, through this ordeal I’ve learned that if you stay open-minded, miracles can and do happen!