Your Stories

  • Shelley Bradford Bell, Consultant, San Francisco/Paris

    I have believed all my life that I can achieve my dreams.  It just seems I kept getting in my own way and the dreams I had were always deferred.  Deferred because I had a son at 17 because I married at 17 and divorced at 29 because I was the sole provider for my son.  Through it all, I never gave up on my dreams, I just kept recalculating how.  How do I support my son and finish school? How do I work and work on my dream?

    Born in Chicago, I always wanted to live in San Francisco and Paris.  But how do you do that when you’re married to someone who has no desire to live Chicago.  Then, after divorce how do you do that when you have a son to care for.  First I fought to make sure I received child support, then one day I made a call to a friend in San Francisco and said I was moving HERE.  Its now 31 years later, next week my son will be 45 years old and I have lived between San Francisco and a rental apartment in Paris for over 9 years.

    The best advice I received that supported me on this incredible journey was from my father the day the movers came and emptied out my apartment in Chicago.  I was on my way to life in San Francisco, no job, no place to live, my son with my ex-mother-in-law until I worked it all out.  I was scared and started to cry at the enormity of what I was doing so I call my dad.  He said “If it doesn’t scare you it’s not worth doing!  Do you get scared when you brush your teeth in the morning?”  I stopped crying and with every risk I have taken since, his voice resonates through my head.  I am now in the process of my next great journey.  I am a consultant to keep a roof over my head while I write the next “Great Gatsby”.  I WILL move to Paris permanently by my 65 birthday.

    I have travelled to Portugal, Spain, Africa, Canada, France, Italy, Switzerland, and I will add even more adventures which require I am healthy with the energy and ability to travel.  So, I am working on my health and physical fitness.  Two women – Ernestine Shephard, and Tina Turner, our my examples of a healthy life throughout my 70’s and 80’s.  I want to experience every day with joy!!!

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