Billy Joel’s lyrics tell us about a “New York state of mind.” Frank Sinatra and Liza Minelli belted out with gusto, if we can make it in New York, we can make it anywhere. What is this New York state of mind? New Yorkers might sip wine, but they don’t whine. When life hands them lemons, they make lemonade [or margaritas] at a profit.
Enough with the cliches, already!
In my Life Rafts section, I’ve told the stories of celebrities and famous people who have survived tough times yet gone on to thrive and find joy. This story is about Carole May, the proverbial girl next door. We met at our apartment complex swimming pool. She’s a teacher by profession who spent her career with the Brooklyn diocese in New York City. Here in Washington State, she is the web goddess for David Lanz, a Grammy nominated pianist.
Shortly after getting her feet on the ground here in Washington State, she learned the devastating news that what she had been told was bronchitis, was in reality compensated cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure. Tough news for anybody. Rugged news when you are a stranger in a strange town. Her support system was back in New York. She couldn’t work. She was told to sit on the couch with the remote control and do nothing else. Eventually, the doctor consented to allowing her to go to cardiac rehab and suggested that she lose weight and exercise if she wanted to survive.
Of course, my friend Carole had herself one heck of a pity party. Her news sucked rotten eggs, and she grieved for her dreams that died with her diagnosis.
But, Carole’s a New Yorker. She’s got that New York state of mind. Her mother had told her every day of her life that she felt God had blessed her abundantly when Carole was born. Children who receive this kind of blessing from their parents are able to be more resilient. They have the confidence their needs will be met.
Carole got busy on the internet ferreting out all available resources. She made the conscious decision to perceive government agencies as venture capital angel investors who could provide her with the seed money she needed to blaze a new trail for her life. She dreamed a new dream to become a whale photographer. Then, she crafted a step-by-step plan to make it come true by leveraging all available resources to the max.
She found a trainer, changed her diet, and lost a lot of body weight. She signed up for photography courses and took numerous books out of the library. She sold precious collectibles on eBay. She pinched pennies to save for the equipment she needed. She adopted a rescue cockatiel named Dundee who is her companion and best friend.
Dundee’s photo by Carole May
The hurdles and obstacles fell by the wayside because she kept herself focused on her goal. She found organizations who shared her passion for marine life. She found whale watching boats.
Each day, Carole moved one step closer to her goal. She’s launched her web site and sold her first photos.
When faced with the choice to be a victim or to be victorious, Carole decided to win. She has survived, thrived, and found joy. I feel blessed she is my friend.
You can purchase Carole’s amazing photos at her web site: WhalesandSails.