A brochure headline caught my eye the other day. It read, "The legacy you leave is the life you lead.” It made total sense to me in the context of creating my second childhood.
I began 2008 with the awareness that I needed more adventure in my life. So, I took my first unaccompanied "real” vacation since before I was married (almost twenty years). It was one week on an all women sail training adventure in the Virgin Islands. I had never sailed before, but who cared. I was drawn to it, so I did it.
The reactions I received were interesting. Other moms wondered what my husband and daughter would do. Some were excited for me but couldn’t see doing it themselves. I’m sure others were questioning the money I was spending. Believe me, I struggled with deciding whether I was worth it.
There was a sense of selfishness that accompanied my decision. But it soon became clear that it was actually self-fullness. It was one of the best things I could have done. For one week, I was free. I didn’t have any roles to play (other than crew member). Nobody knew me. I could be myself.
It turns out that I spent that week in the presence of a woman whose light radiated, and whose intention it was to share, which empowered the rest of us to remember our own light. I carry her with me as a vivid reminder of what is possible.
What I learned was that this adventure was an important investment in my well-being. I was barely recognizable when I returned. My family literally had to do a double take. I was excited and full of life again, like a kid.
Without a doubt, solo vacations will continue to be a part of my planning and I strongly encourage other women to do the same. We need time to remember ourselves and move to our own rhythm. It is amazing what one week can do. And no matter how difficult it is to accept, we are worth it.
Returning to my routine was uncomfortable, as I had freed a part of myself that I had suppressed. I liked her and wanted to keep her around. I was realizing that I wanted a life that was more brilliant than what I had been settling for.
The process helped me begin to see the many ways that I say no to my "self”. I’ve decided that I will give enthusiasm to ideas and activities that interest and excite me, pushing beyond limiting beliefs.
I also accept that not only do I need my personal time and space, but I also deserve it. I trust that the universe will surround me with people who respect that.
Who knows where this path will lead. I will remain open and welcome it as a thrill rather than a threat.
If my legacy is the life I lead, I hold the vision that it will be the by-product of living my own adventure story (literally and figuratively). I trust that this will ease the way for my daughter to live the full abundance of her own life. If it expands beyond that, I am honoured.
How often have you encountered someone who is simply glowing and magnetic? I believe that this energy is within each of us and I invite you to reunite with it. It will be a legacy worth living.
Marla Hunter-Bellavia is a writer and owner of Ocean Spirit Communications in Nanaimo.