I came here to LIVE…with no regrets

bookshop window blog photo


“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”

 – Oscar Wilde

(Part 2 of a 2-part series on Reinventing a Home)

 I once worked in Boston as a high tech PR executive for an up-and-coming agency.  My office overlooked Copley Square.  As a 20-something, I tasted the brief thrill of a more sophisticated life than I would find years later in the more introverted solitude I enjoyed in my country home.

Yet, back then I commuted to work via subway from either Newton or Watertown, far enough away to never truly feel in the thick of things.  Many of the younger administrative staff lived on Newbury Street in small apartments above the retail shops.

Reviewing my life recently at 50-something, I regretted having never lived in a city, with the experience of being able to walk to many activities.

So when I chose to downsize as an empty nester (See part 1 of Blog Series—Reinventing a Home), I decided to release that regret by moving to Newburyport, one of the smallest cities in Massachusetts.  The charm of this vibrant seaside community with its plethora of restaurants and activities is enhanced by its easy access to so much natural beauty, from beaches and parks to biking and walking trails.  I thrive in nature.

New friends and connections were waiting for me upon my arrival, many of whom were people I met a long time ago but never got to know.  Some of these people expanded my life in new ways—on the dance floor or through cultural activities.

One local woman I met while walking said “Every day feels like a vacation here.” I concur.  In fact, disciplining myself to write or market is often a challenge—particularly on a sunny, warm day.

Still, even at work, I am engaged more fully with life here, often meeting my clients or writing at one of the many local cafes.  Most of my friends and business prospects enjoy coming to Newburyport for a visit.

Solitude and reflection still have a huge place in my life—only now I find the soulful quiet more by being outside in nature or writing offsite than inside the home.

Each time I step out my door, which is only a few feet from the street, I feel a sense of adventure and openness.  When I return home and put my key back in the door, I enter my condo feeling expanded and nurtured by the day in this friendly community.

The joy of walking along the riverbanks versus in the more rural settings of my last home is that I feel “anonymously connected.” I may pass 20 people walking their dogs or doing errands, yet still be in my own world (often “writing in my head”) on my excursions.

Small city living was the “right” choice for this stage of my life.  I feel so very blessed.

What change could you make to live more fully? What regret could you release by taking a new action?

Choose wisely.  Choose life—and all the ways it invites us to grow. 

With joy,




 1.    I allow myself to risk living more fully engaged with life.

2.    I allow myself to take an action that would release a regret.

3.    I allow myself to expect life to improve with change versus fear it as the unknown.

This vibrant London bookshop window pictured above was photographed by Beth Shedd. The message speaks to the promise of bright beginnings that come from living in a fully engaged way. 




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  • Kim says:

    Place had always been important to me. Glad you found your place. Having lived in Newburyport at one time, I know just what you are talking about. Make sure Ann Ormond reads this!

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Kim: I remember fondly meeting you here in Newburyport at leadership training, and walking Plum Island with you too. Miss having you nearby. Gail

  • I am so glad that you feel that you are finally HOME! It is a wonderful place!

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Thanks, Gail: This “home” fuels my writing soul and love of community. Hope you’ll visit me one day if you’re in the area. Gail

  • maria says:

    I know exactly how you feel. Newburyport is the best place in the world to live. It is like the Secret Garden. I have traveled and lived in many different cities and towns throughout the U.S. and it is always great to come home to a place that is safe and beautiful. When my mother passed away, the only place I have longed to be is Newburyport. I am grounded when I am there. It is my “Secret Garden.”

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Maria: I love how you described “the Secret Garden” of Newburyport…so beautifully said. Thanks for sharing. Gail

  • Dirk says:

    I’m jealous, Gail. Reading this I can feel the houses next to me, which are only 20 feet away as it is, closing in. I do see a patient in Amesbury first thing in the morning and love driving along the river with the sun just coming up. Unfortunately that’s a s close as I get to “country living”.

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Dirk: Yes, Newburyport is the best of best worlds…small city living surrounded by nature. That drive along the river in Amesbury is beautiful,too. Glad you get to enjoy it when you visit your patient. We are so blessed to have so much to enjoy in this area. Gail

  • Gail,
    Once again your words evoke such a sense of wonder and peace and thank you for reminding me to remember GRATITUDE.

    We are blessed to live here.

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Ann Marie: YOU exude a life of gratitude! I appreciate your kind thoughts about how my words touch and inspire you. Yes, we are so very blessed to live here. I thank God every day on every walk and with every encounter. Gail

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