As you already know if you’ve been reading my last few blogs, we recently returned from a family vacation to Cozumel, Mexico. This trip was really special because we had my mom’s 60th birthday to celebrate, and we were all together as a family (plus “others”) for a total of 8 of us! It’s a different type of vacation when we go with friends or family than when it’s just the two of us. But we had a couple-y vacation in Australia back in early December so I couldn’t have been more happy to have a family one this time. Always someone saving chairs at the beach, always someone to eat lunch with, to play volleyball or tennis with, to have a drink with at the bar . And I have gotten quite used to diving all by my lonesome with a group of strangers so I was especially thrilled to have 5 other divers to share in my underwater adventures. When you dive, you’re always supposed to have a buddy, which can sometimes be a little awkward when it’s a stranger (although generally divers are very nice people). But when you dive with your entire family, you’re all buddies. Everyone looks out for each other, everyone points out any neat creatures they spot, and we all stick together.
This was also the first vacation that I’ve ever taken where I really had nothing on my mind, not a worry in the world, no stress when we were getting ready to go, no inbox full of emails to dread when I got back, no “so sad that vacation is over and I have to return to real life” feeling when it would be over. And for the first time I can remember in a long time of taking tropical, relaxing, all-inclusive resort vacations, I didn’t get sick. I had a theory that my vacation cold would always show up on day 2 or 3 because somehow my body knew it had to be strong to get through whatever I was going through at the time, and then as soon as I would relax and my immune system would sigh in relief, my body would retaliate for everything I had put it through. This time I didn’t have a single sniffle! (You’re welcome, body)
Even though we had an amazing time once we arrived in Cozumel, we didn’t have the smoothest ride getting there. Literally. There was just a lot of turbulence on our flight. But I had to smile when my sister Jordana was complaining about the not-so-enjoyable bumps and Navin responded to her:
“There’s always more turbulence when you’re in the clouds” – Navin Chand
He’s so wise, that Navin of mine.
When I looked up the definiton of turbulence online, out of curiosity, I further appreciated how fitting the wisdom of his analogy really was. After all, when we talk about turbulence we don’t only talk about bumpy airplane rides, but we also use this word in the context of “turbulent times”.
tur·bu·lence [ túrbyələnss ] - unrest: a state of confusion characterized by unpredictability and uncontrolled change
And let’s be honest, my head is clearly in the clouds right now as I focus my energy full time of discovering what makes me happy and where my passions lie. Unpredictability? I’ve got it covered.
Another experience along the same theme was on one of our dives where we had a very strong current. We were all drifting along, not having to swim or anything, just letting the current carry us where it wanted to. Building on Navin’s wisdom regarding turbulence, sometimes to get to the best parts in life, you need to let go and see where you end up.
“Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.” – Gail Sheehy, journalist, lecturer and best-selling author
When we were diving, the current took us by some amazing marine life like turtles, a sting ray and a moray eel. Unfortunately it also carried us past them more quickly than I would have liked. Jordana had an uncanny ability, despite the current, to stay near the marine life that she wanted to spend more time observing. After the dive, when I commended her on her ability to do so, her explanation was that it was sheer willpower that enabled her to stay. She just wanted to stay still so badly that she was able to fight the current. And that’s okay too. Sometimes you don’t want to surrender, sometimes you don’t want to move forward. There are times where you just want stillness to enjoy the moment you’re in.
I would like to think that I’ve found a balance between the two. I have already grown and I know I will continue to grow during my “early retirement”, but I am also learning to appreciate the present. I’ve learned that it is important to take the time to discover and enjoy what I love (whether that’s turtles and eels or mosaics and singing) to make sure I’m growing in the direction that I want to go.
I’ll leave you with one last quote to further emphasize what I’ve been discovering through my soul dives:
“Don’t die with your music still inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul. Listen to that inner voice, and don’t get to the end of your life and say, ‘What if my whole life has been wrong?” – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, best-selling author