I thought this weekend’s very spontaneous trip to New Mexico was just that — a spur-of-the-moment getaway. But, it was more than spontaneous. It was serendipitous.
After Winter Storm Q left a thick blanket of snow, sleet and icy slush across much of the Midwest, my friend, Pamela Foster and I decided it best to cancel our trip to visit the Saturday Writers on Friday to listen to Deb Marshall speak about the Warrior Arts Alliance anthologies.
I was disappointed for two reasons:
- I’d been looking forward to visiting with Deb and other contributors to Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors as well as meeting new authors of the Saturday Writers.
- I’d been greatly looking forward to getting out of town with Pam.
So, upon Pam and I agreeing we should cancel heading east, I twiddled my thumbs for a few minutes, wondering, “What now?”
I remembered my sister, Cyndie, would be heading to Oklahoma City that day to drop off some of my books at Sabi, a store which “brings a unique perspective of many of the world’s spiritual traditions to the region.” What a perfect opportunity to go with her to meet the proprietors of the store and thank them for carrying my book.
To my surprise, she told me that she was not only going to Oklahoma City, but would also be driving westward to New Mexico. I had about two hours to pack and fulfill my obligations of the day before I’d need to leave. Could I do it?
I did! In less than two hours, I crossed off what had been on my list for the day, got packed and headed out the door.
This could become a very long blog post if I’m not careful. I could go on and on about how I loved Sabi, the conversations Cyndie and I had on our 9-hour drive, how good it felt to get away on the spur of the moment.
But my purpose in writing this post is to talk about serendipity.
In the transition I’ve experienced in the last month, one of the questions that arises is what to do to support myself. Before Stephen and I married, I was an 8-5 girl. All of my adult life, I’ve worked in an office performing traditional, SAFE jobs. By safe, I mean, a regular paycheck, benefits, 401k. Every day, every week, every month, every year, I knew what to expect. No surprises. But no real joy of following my passions either.
While I was married, I was lucky that Stephen supported my writing and painting. I’ll always be grateful for that.
But now, as I face a wide and open field of possibilities, what am I doing? I’m thinking about finding a “real” job. A regular, safe, 8-5 job. But there’s a little voice inside me saying, “Jan, now is the perfect time for you to take a chance. Focus on your writing, painting, speaking. Take . . . a . . . risk.”
But, it’s scary, and the SAFE voice is so much louder than the small, squeaky voice of my passions.
But on this trip, I met many interesting people who have cast aside the traditional 8-5 and followed their passions. And each had a glow that touched me.
I first felt it as I sat in the back seat of Deborah’s car on the way to Yellow Hills Ranch, listening to Deborah’s story of how she arrived at this place, in the role of the leader of eco-tours at the ranch. Admittedly, my mind drifted in and out of the conversation as I watched the passing landscape, recalling memories of New Mexico, thinking of all the stories that have happened in those places. But, I heard enough to know she has made the same journey I am now on. From being an HR-Director at a hospital, to traveling around the world, to leaving her home in Seattle, to arriving in Santa Fe to be on the ground level of the development of Yellow Hills Ranch.
At the ranch, I met Jeff, a man who has lived on the ranch for five years, pulling together everything necessary to bring the dream to life. I learned that he, too, has written a few books, and is involved in screenwriting and filmography. I saw the joy of a dream coming to life in his blue eyes.
And Melody and Cip, a couple who though celebrating thirty years together are still aglow with companionship and passion. They, too, live on the ranch. Cip assists with the care of mustangs on the ranch, as well as accompanies on the eco-tours. Melody is an incredible artist whose paintings of the mustangs drew me into a world of horses with which I am unfamiliar, yet loved immediately. Click HERE to see some of Melody’s art work.
All of these people have followed their dreams, risking everything. I know they’ve had difficult roads on this journey, but their faces do not show this difficulty. Instead, I saw joy and satisfaction. No regrets.
Though I still have that SAFE voice hounding me, it is no longer so much louder than the voice of my passion.
I hear a voice that asks me, “What’s more important, a regular paycheck or the satisfaction of knowing you gave your dreams a try?”