It was July 2013.. for the very first time, in close to 16 years I was traveling alone. Divorce was finalized not even three months ago and my children were spending time with their father and his family in Spain. I am not sure how I packed. It was the last minute ordeal… shoes, clothes, make up.. swim stuff and books, five at least. I pulled the books off the shelf where they were housed for at least six years or so, and finally it was the time to reconnect and read. It was the first time, after a long time, where I was looking forward to a continental distance. Leaving home, work and daily routine was exactly what "doctor prescribed."
Destination Venice.. My heart fell in love with Venice… the colors, the music, language and the fascinating architecture, never mind beautiful people, crazy delicious food and good old Italian vino. I walked the streets having nonchalant dialogue with my long time friend Kathy, moments filled with laughter and simply admiration of this beautiful part of the world. I missed this… the historic beauty, washed out colored facades, laundry being dried on balcony pinned with different color clothes pins, gondolas, mediterranean melos. My heart was beating just a bit faster and for once I felt alive.
You see, divorce is not easy. Divorce is also as much about separating from someone else, as it is divorcing your “old self.” And going through the process was like having the “flu” that lasts for months. You learn to live on automatic.. get up, brush your teeth, shower, coffee, get kids ready.. drop of kids.. work .. some more work, get home, kids, activities, figure out paperwork, organize movers, de-clutter.. look for a new place to live.. You get it… Exhausted.
I was beyond ready to travel and …. “step into a wondrous world adorned with a sapphire jewel at its center” - Adriatic sea. Next day destination… Split… Croatia.
The cruise ship we boarded was “huge” and a home to a few thousand people… kids included, yet I did not mind. I had plenty of opportunity to enjoy the sun, sip on a cold drink, meet new people and simply reflect… The books I threw in the suitcase in the hurry ended up being “perfect”. Each one filled with words of wisdom and a message.
“That moment” will be tattooed forever in my mind. Sun was perfectly reflected, almost in a dance motion, on the waves. Sea was pearly blue and glittering. Kathy was quietly resting next to me as I gasped and sat up from the lounge chair…Struck by realization …
All my life, all the events, situations, people and challenges I always viewed through my parent’s beliefs…And hence responded as perhaps they would.. You see, my parents were born within of few years of WWII ending… both brought up in scarcity and harsh home environments with simply “not enough” in the air. For them living was a struggle and at some point I inherited the same belief, plus many many more..
Memories of different situations… some good and some not so good trailered right in front of me… I leaned back in the chair and let it all come up… one breath at a time. All I remember saying to myself, “These are not my glasses”, “These are not my glasses” as it hit me that as for long as I knew myself, I viewed my life and circumstances through my parent’s perspective or “their glasses”. And I knew very little of who I was.
Feelings blended one into another.. relief of “finally getting it” to frustration “why I did not get this sooner?” to “What my beliefs are?” “OMG how did I parent so far?” to… Ok take a deep breath… all will be well … to anger.. and back to “ok.. this is a good, actually great thing.”
And it was. I took those glasses gently off… and slowly embraced my inner intensity and curiosity to know and live to the fullest. Many trips later, national and international, wonderful connections, stronger relationships, new home, and many challenges conquered with the mindset based on courage and faith… …What I learned .. It is not about destination as it is about the journey. Any moment you get to know yourself, is perfectly timed and perfect for you.. And being you is ALWAYS “en vogue”.