Guest Blogger Sarah submitted this piece:
2014 In Review….oh Lordy, are you sure you want to do that, I ask myself?
Where to begin…..ok, let’s see…Well, it wasn’t exactly my favorite year and that’s putting it mildly! It might be easier to say that just about every expectation “blew up in my face”, just about every intention or decision I set up “hit a brick wall”, my well earned faith, hope and trust in myself got totally knocked around and even my all time favorite subject, possibilities, was badly beaten down and smashed!
Three years ago I left my beloved home at Bridgewalk in Boulder, Colorado vowing to reinvent myself, a new me, by traveling the world, exploring and immersing in different cultures. I got started anyway, I spent two winters in Costa Rica. Half of the time there I volunteered on an eco tourist, self sufficient, working farm and the other half at a delightful hostel. At both places I blossomed! And in that blooming I met amazing people from all over the world doing amazing and wonderful things. I was hooked! I figured I would do this travel thing for a long time…..after all I was becoming more of the person I dreamed of being.
So what happened? I’ve come to understand that the person I was as a single mom and private business owner for 25 years, though very respectable and honorable, that model of my behavior, in all its complexities — that of struggles, anguish, the amazement, the celebrations, tears of joy and sadness, impassioned pride and the deep well of strength and courage to face fears — they could not sustain the new foundation needed to pursue the very thing that was grabbing me and holding my attention! It was like my heart, soul and spirit were being rewired for this new adventure but I couldn’t find the training manual or maybe I had misplaced the instructions. So it felt like all the hard earned rewards of what might be called beginners luck fell flat or better yet the bottom fell out.
The culmination of the two winters away in Costa Rica provided me with a bittersweet set of challenges, mostly good. I had learned and experienced so much about myself, it was so profound that I had difficulty putting it all into words. Yet I would return to Boulder each time to try to resume my all too familiar life there, making sure I had an exit plan such as selling my gardening business, moving to Oregon to be closer to my two older kids and grandson or figuring out how to live in Europe. And then reinvent myself. With my new found self, full of potential, I felt invincible — endearing but not, not quite the case, though I give myself a lot of credit for trying! I kept wondering what was happening to me: I felt odd, out of place, like I was the alien, misunderstood, uncomfortable in my own skin, searching for something or someone I could talk to but there were so many things I couldn’t even explain. Maybe it was like a deep ache to return, literally, to those places that I traveled and to the people that were there. More I think it’s a deep yearning for a sense of “place”, hoping to recapture those new feelings growing inside me from my travels and then create, reinvent myself from all of it, using that deep connection and sharing in our humanity, that profoundness and wonder to propel me (all of us!) forward into immersion.
I’ve since learned of a phenomenon called reverse culture shock.
I will tell you this though: it was the strength, courage and the enduring power of love that go me thru this whole hodgepodge of crazy-making turmoil!