“I was doing what I thought I should be doing and didn’t see a problem,” Gary Yarno confided. At the time, he was working up to 100 hours per week as a fire fighter. His department seemed to be in perpetual mandatory overtime. They were required by a municipality ordinance to keep each twenty-four-hour-shift staffed, but they just couldn’t find enough people to hire in order to relieve the current battalion. He felt lucky to have a supportive spouse who was taking care of their home and children. From his point of view, his personal life was in great shape.
It was hard for him to be working such long hours. It meant he couldn’t attend activities to support his children, but his wife was there and the kids seemed to be happy. So, he thought all was well. That all changed when he came home one day for a rare evening off, and his wife seized a chance to speak with him privately.
“My wife pulled me aside and said, ‘It feels as if we’re just living in the same house. It doesn’t even feel as if we’re married anymore. Something needs to change,’” Gary reminisced with a smile. He was surprised because he was doing what he thought he should be doing: providing the money they needed; money to make their house payment, provide food and clothing, and everything else that comes with raising children.
“From my perspective, as a man, I was doing a great job,” he said. “Luckily, I could see the sincerity and love in my wife’s eyes as she spoke with me in earnest. She wasn’t attacking me. I knew she was able to see something I couldn’t see.”
So, they talked together for hours and came to the realization that they could make a change if they wanted to. Gary was in position to retire from his current work as a fire fighter, because he’d put in the years to do so. He had just become of age as well; at a young fifty years. The door was open for them to construct change.
Their realization of an open door changed everything. The entire family sat down together to study a huge map while dreaming of possibilities.
“Where do you think we should go for a visit?” Gary asked each of them.
They made a plan to travel across the United States together, seeking a community they could all love. Their creation of a new life, the one they had all envisioned together, had begun like a leap off a high-dive.
“We traveled to the four or five areas we thought would be a good fit for us. Of all those places, there was one we fell in love with. So, we sold our house, packed up and moved there. I didn’t even have a job! It was a risk for each one of us. We discovered there are some risks worth taking.”
The Yarnos have been living their created dream for just over four years now.
“I never thought about becoming a fire marshal when I was a fire fighter in our old community, but here I am! Everything seemed to magically fall together for us and we discovered that our envisioned future turned out to be a jumping off point — a leap into something unimaginable. Our real life is much better than what we had imagined!”
“It all started when my wife pulled me aside. That was the beginning; the jumping off point — a discovery that what we had never imagined could be possible.”
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.