Hello readers and dear friends! I know it has been a minute since we last chatted! I have been off chasing life and seeking new challenges to overcome. I have also been enjoying the thrill of life's adventures.
In spite of the craziness of this Covid-19, I decided to embrace the mentality of no fear. I was facing a reality of isolation and still trying to work virtually from home in a career that is truly driven from the face to face interaction. Management recently let us know we were to be returning to the office as per usual and back out in the field as soon as the state of Kentucky allowed us to be. I had this fear of unknown and what if risk mentality looming over my mind.
I realized I have never been a person to live in fear or from the lack mentality so I called out my fear and shouted out to the universe that I would no longer allow myself to think or act from fear. I would be safe and take precautions as needed. Wearing a mask ,seeing clients on the front porch sitting and social distancing to the best of my ability while in a presentation.
I have taken it a step further and applied the no fear mentality to other aspects of my life , bringing about the realization that the universe answers back! When she does she does it with a sense of humor! It would be the beginning of my next adventure and a trip through time and present beauty.
A few weeks ago
I received a message from someone I knew almost seventeen years ago. It was just a hi ,how are you ? kind of message. One that surprised me because it had been so long since we last saw one another. I had talked with him for a few minutes five years ago. I called him then just to say hi and see how he was. I think we talked long enough to catch up on the fact that he had settled down with someone and he seemed happy. That was it until he had messaged me a few weeks ago.
When he messaged me I was in the midst of deciding the current romantic situation I was in was not for me. I had been in the throws of those nightly conversations that had turned into disagreements and frustrating arguments. I had started to realize that while this person is a great person he probably was not the right person for me. I asked for some time to be alone while I sorted out my emotions and focused on work. It was hard to do that because I am not the person who likes to disappoint or hurt anyone.
If you remember though I had begun 2020 by ending a relationship because it was not the right one for me. I had made a commitment to myself to walk away from the relationships and situations where I felt I could not be my authentic self. I can not thrive if I am not free to be exactly as I am .
As I decided once again I needed to focus on this commitment and called out my fears I felt a shift in my everyday life. Work was no longer a chore and I was sleeping properly. I was recovering from a lack of sleep and not consumed with emotions that were unbalanced. I was taking a breath and that message came through. I asked for his number and I called him. We talked,really talked. It was a conversation reminiscent of days lost among the years and recovered memories that woke up the part of my soul that had fallen asleep in the fugue of current fears and insecurities brought up by the recent emotional roller-coaster I had some how gotten myself caught up in.
I realized not only had I missed this person but I had been missing the pieces of myself that I had lost a long the way. In a way the universe had aligned me with this blast from the past so I was faced with the challenge of furthering the personal development journey I have been in pursuit of since I had begun my work with my beloved coach and friend Paula. The journey with in had become dormant as I became focused on work and moving and all of the million other distractions I had allowed myself.
This phone call carried on for several hours and through the next week. Somehow it turned into an invitation to catch up for a weekend in Cape Coral Florida. I was not sure I should accept,but then of course as I looked up at the sky the full moon smiled back and I knew I needed to go. A few hours later I booked my fare for the following weekend and charged head long into the next week.
It was business as usual,which I might add still felt pretty weird, the office full once again , some faces in masks and nobody shaking hands or hugging. Many desks were now empty as many agents turned in their resignation letters and quit. That in itself is it's own story. Any ways returning to seeing perspective clients and countless phone calls and chasing down leads was what most of the week consisted of.
Wednesday morning I pulled out the suitcase and packed for a light weekend. I went into the office for our weekly meeting and handled something us agents refer to as service work. Collecting further medical questionnaires,signatures and preset some appointments for when would return on Sunday afternoon. It was business beyond normal and the flow felt incredible.
Upon returning from the office on Wednesday evening I began to think of how I had not really thought this out. In a supposed pandemic society was it really the best idea to be boarding a plane and to see someone I had hardly thought about in almost 17 years? Was I officially loosing it? Was I simply facing the universes challenge to my claim to no longer living in a state of fear or was I simply being careless?
I phoned a friend and reiterated my internal conversation. She was listening intently and then with a pause she asked "Should I just listen or do you want advice"? I knew she was well aware of the fact that in spite of my temporarily freak out I was not going to abandon this part of my journey. She knows me pretty well and she knows I am aware of this fact. I thanked her for listening and she offered to drive me to the airport. We made a plan to meet the next day and I continued packing. After a long shower and some music I had determined that the only thing to fear is the unknown and the only way to conquer that fear was to allow the unknown to become known.
Thursday morning came and I awoke ready to further investigate this adventure. Coffee in hand and yes mask and gloves as well in tow. I was ready to immerse myself in the challenge of travel and chasing gate changes through the airports. I was ready to look back through time and travel forward to yesterdays memories and see exactly how 17 years changes a person and to hear the reflection of that from someone else's perspective. I was also ready to embrace the experience moment by moment.
Airports felt like the after hours in a mall. Very few people and most of the kiosks and little shops were closed. The bourbon store was till open and since I had made it through security with plenty of time to spare I managed to find a bottle to take with me to give my host as a gift. Though I know he prefers Jack to Jim I felt like it might make for a nice icebreaker when we started to catch up on life in Kentucky and his in Florida. I noticed the first flight through Philadelphia was nearly empty. I did not mind it considering this whole travel thing might not be the brightest idea. Too late ! By 4 pm I was waiting to board the plane to Ft. Meyers Florida.
At that point Eddie and I spoke on the phone and I could tell from the tone of his voice he was getting excited and at this point so was I. Other than the confines of my mask and the attendants not being able to serve food or drink aboard the flight I had settled in and started to relax. I was enjoying the views of the sky and earth below. It happens to be one of my favorite things while flying. I almost never care what class I fly but I am in need of a window seat.
Behind my mask I smiled at the thought of guessing what other passengers looked like beyond their covered faces. I watched as the attendants stayed seated after take off and even giggled at the fact they had mentioned removing face coverings in the event of an emergency to use oxygen if necessary during the event of an emergency. The fact that this wasn't obvious made me realize that though not funny if it were to become reality was odd. Wouldn't that just be common sense?
I then realized most of my concerns were silly in comparison once again to the reality of what some others might actually be. I really began to relax and allow the time to pass and before I knew it I was on the ground and in the land of palm trees and who knew what possibilities were in store. Getting of the plane and heading for a restroom to freshen up and get this weirdly awesome reunion started. I realized that I had no idea what Eddie would like after all this time. Though we had exchanged photos He wasn't exactly a fan of selfies and it showed. I took a breath and headed towards the exit . He was of course there waiting and he still at a distance looked somewhat the same to me.
We hugged and I realized we were both nervous. Somehow I found this to be comforting to me and just like that we started to talk, He asked about my flights and I gladly regaled him with my inner commentary. He was a gentleman and took my luggage as we headed out into the Florida evening. The breeze was beautiful and the moon was bright.
We paused at his green pickup truck and sat for a minute. I was taking in the night air and he I think was still in a state of disbelief. I am not sure if he actually believed I was there. I offered to pinch him so that he would know I was really there and he laughed.. "No thanks Joanie" he said with a smile . I looked into his eyes and I could see his mischievous streak was alive and well. It was one of the things I appreciated the most about him back in the day. That and his slightly warped sense of humor. I knew it was a matter of seconds before he said something blunt and off color and I was looking forward to reciprocating with humor of a similar kind.
We turned up the radio and headed back to his place. We listened to some old school classic rock and laughed about how the first time I really listened to any of his music I had no clue who or what we were listening to. He reminded me of another world of time that I had mostly forgotten or altogether moved on from . Now we laughed together at how this music was no longer considered classic because it was so old. Yes the nostalgia was in the air hardcore for sure but it was definitely worth the journey just to laugh out loud with an old friend. There is a comfort in familiarity that I think is found only when reconnecting with some one from so long ago.
As we walked towards his front door he offered me the disclaimer of nothing but friendship tonight and I laughed and said of course. We have a million years and miles to catch up on.I placed my bag by the bedroom door and we headed for the kitchen to pour the jack and diet coke for him and jack neat for me. We talked of loves lost and broken hearts and moves made and miles covered. I asked of his recent divorce and was surprised at the fact that he had ever married. We discussed at length the hardship that comes with heartache when you realize the one you were with is not your person.
We talked of the trail of tears and broken hearts I had left behind in that small town where we first met. We talked about how when he as a trucker headed back out on the road how I invited myself to tag along and how grateful I was to flee behind the long ago nightmare of my brothers sentencing.
I needed to escape the small minds of that small town and Eddie somehow understood. He also had offered me the peace of mind with that initial disclaimer. "Nothing but friendship here". He drove and I wrote. I poured my bleeding heart out in those pages and never had to say a word.When we did talk it was about where we were headed or about some sort of randomness that came about quite naturally. We talked about when we stopped for clam chowder and he explained the difference between Manhattan and New England clam chowder and I tried both.
You get point ...We talked and laughed and it was awesome.
The morning started late and with coffee served to my sleepy wild haired hang over while I was still wrapped up in covers. Which by the way is an incredible way to start the new day. We hung out and watched the morning news and just kind of chilled out. The local news station is so much more pleasant to watch by the way. Bright and sunny in spite of politics and pandemic updates. While there were still precautions in affect it seemed as though things in Cape Coral were still happening.
I knew I wanted to see the sights and head for the water as soon as possible but no sooner than we had left the house it started to rain. It was cool though because the rain brought out these dinosaur sized turtles. It turns out that in Eddies neighborhood these turtles actually have designated and protected habitats. This is when I actually saw a turtle cross the road. You know like in the age old joke "why did the turtle cross the road? I actually got out of the truck to introduce myself as well as to observe this creature as he completed crossing the road safely. I know my antics were funny because my friend was laughing as I hopped back in as though it hadn't happened and off we went to explore the tree farms and get lost in the sights. It really is the little things that make life awesome!
I have to say that while I wished I had taken more pictures there was something about just being in the moment and taking it all in . Seeing with all of my senses verses being stuck on the other side of the camera lens the whole time. We wandered the water front and explored the center of the little island . We sat by the water and just watched the fish swim by and chatted . It was a beautiful day and it was just the break we needed to take from the chaos of busy and restlessness.
I tried grouper for the first time and discovered it was delicious! When traveling I always want a taste of what can be sourced locally and this increases the opportunity to try something I have yet to experience. Of course this meant some sort of seafood. I am very Leary of seafood because I have had some bad experiences but I am glad to say with the help of an awesome server and an open mind every bit of our dining experience was worth it. We were able to sit down and have a lovely meal including one of my all time favorite bites ..Alligator nuggets!! I loved every bite and I loved sharing something new with someone I now feel as though I really know well.
Later back at the house we found ourselves vegged out on the couch and we fell asleep watching the second IT . .It was a great way to end a beautiful day!
Yup! that is me learning to kayak! Saturday Morning we went for an original adventure. In continuing to further the commitment I made to make this my year of yes I am now in this picture floating along without a clue as to how to control my direction or maneuver this Kayak. I will say that Eddie was a great guide/ instructor and neither of us ended up in the water . I did spend time in the reeds and tangled up in the treeline and nearly missed a full size boat. We paddled for over three hours and by the time we headed back to the dock I had become proficient enough to make my way to shore with some awesome new skills! It was a great way to explore the lake and excellent exercise. The sunburn was very real and left me with the strangest of tan lines from the thighs down to my ankles.
About the River
The Estero River, in Southwest Florida, is 6.52 miles long. It flows west and spills into Estero Bay estuary. The Estero River has abundant wildlife and is an important habitat for endangered species such as the American Alligator), Key Largo wood rat , gray bat, and the whooping crane among others.
The mangroves on the banks of Estero River support a variety of wildlife and play a vital role in supporting the large biodiversity of the river. The majority of mangroves can be found at where the Estero River merges into Estero Bay. These were just a few interesting facts I learned back at the boat shop. All in all it was a great experience and if you find yourself with the desire to try kayaking for the first time definitely give this river a try.
After the sunburn and workout wiped me out.. We headed for a drive through the center of the city of Fort Myers and home for naps, showers and late night Chinese food. We were definitely spent but it was a weekend well spent reconnecting and exploring and laughing. I would say I was glad not only to change my mind set but to reset the button on a long lost friendship. Yes this world is full of difficult and scary moments but we are not meant to live in fear. Call out the thing that needs to be changed or adjusted. Expect the universe to challenge you and accept the challenge. This will lead to a life of adventure, exciting experiences and the opportunity to learn and grow.
I look forward to seeing you all soon and to sharing my voice with you when I get back to Kentucky!! See you all soon!