As I continue reading The Alchemist, I find myself contemplating the omens I’ve been shown and wondering how many I’ve failed to see. Coehlo says, “When you really want something to happen, the whole world conspires to help you achieve it.” I very much believe this to be true but feel that the real challenge lies in knowing what we want….what we truly want…what is our Personal Legend.
Prior to this visit, my last trip to Key West was in November 2012 with Jole. Husband #2 and I had already divorced so the trip was a hybrid girls getaway/solo trip with Jole spending three days and then me staying for a few more on my own. It was a great way to ease into the idea of vacationing alone…not that I wanted to vacation alone but I could see the writing on the wall. I knew solo vacations were in my future.
As we waited to check into the house we rented, Jole snapped the accompanying photo of me. Ironically enough, we joked about it being the photo for my book jacket cover. The book I hadn’t even contemplated writing yet…an oman? I hope so….time will tell.
After we got settled in, we took a short stroll down Duval to La Te Da where we immediately started making friends. The Sweet Swede, as I like to refer to her, was traveling alone but had visited The Keys many times making new friends with each visit, of which Jole and I were now considered to be. Over drinks I confessed that I’d be on my own soon and was a little nervous at the prospect so she thoughtfully invited me to have dinner after Jole left.
The first full day on my own was empowering but a bit lonely so dinner with the Sweet Swede was a welcomed endeavor. The plan was to eat and then catch a show. Over the course of dinner, my new friend and I got to know each other. Our stories were quite similar actually. We had both climbed to successful positions within our companies and shared similar outlooks on relationships and family. From where I sat, the differences were few: she was 10 years older than me and had recently decided to leave her job. She was traveling around the US visiting friends and family and was entertaining the idea of buying a house on the island and moving…or at least having a permanent vacation destination. Funny how looking back now, even our differences became similarities…
As far as relationships went, she had been involved with a long-term boyfriend but marriage wasn’t in the cards, neither were children. This didn’t please her family who hoped for a more traditional family for the Sweet Swede, but this was not her dream. Her life was unencumbered.
Listening to her story, I was very much reminded of my own. How could I not be? Sure I had managed to get married but it hadn’t worked out. Maybe I would have been better off just having long-term boyfriends? I envied her fearlessness….leaving her job and traveling. The very thought excited me and terrified me all at the same time. But I also started to sense a sadness seeping in as we continued talking. It was as if I was looking at myself in 10 years. I could hear some of the same words coming from her mouth that I myself had said to others, yet hearing them unsettled me to the point of near panic.
I politely declined the show and excused myself from dinner early. As I walked back to the house, I could feel the tears welling up. I barely made it into the house before the sobs embraced me. I was distraught at the thought of becoming the Sweet Swede….no, I was distraught at realizing I was her…but I didn’t want to be.
That was nearly two years ago and to say it was a wake up call would be an understatement. The encounter shook me to my core and forced me to look at who I had become and the trajectory of my life. It wasn’t just an omen of what my life could become…it was an omen showing me what I needed to change.
I can’t thank my sweet beautiful Swedish friend enough. She lives an amazing fulfilling life and I couldn’t be happier for her. She entered my life to shed light on the path I was on so I could see that it was time to take a detour. That detour is why I am where I am today…and I haven’t looked back. This island continues to be magical for me…showing me signs and omens each day. While I may be on a new path, it’s comforting to know that I still have access to some of my favorite old haunts where new lessons can be learned….where I’m able to see the omens guiding me toward my Personal Legend.
Day 7 in Key West 🙂
PS: Good news on the Mom front. Cancer cell count is down and tumors are shrinking! Keep sending good thoughts and mojo her way…it’s working. xoxo