...how one week helped me rediscover joy and laughter that I didn't realize I was missing.
It's was a busy year to say the least. We made a major move last April to a new house (187 years new), Fitzgerald Travel built a new office, Collins and I re-branded our business, I had surgery, we started renovating and our 6th grandchild entered the world, all within 365 days. Even today as I sit here in reflection, I have no idea where the time disappeared. Precious, precious time.
Life. It gets busy no matter what stage of it we are in. I hear the voices in my head repeat the messages,"'when I get time", "when I slow down", and "soon as I get caught up". As days and months progressed over the past year, the echo got louder and louder and those messages played over and over until it became my new normal. So subtle was the change, that I didn't even notice it until early December on a Viking River Ship surrounded by 6 of the greatest people I will ever know.
A childhood playmate, my business partner and a stranger walked onto a Viking ship. Together, exchanging pleasantries. By our second day together, it was as if we had been friends our entire lives. We were eight like-minded people wanting to see and share the same experiences on a river cruise.
The eight of us created our own space in the lounge as if it was our own living rooms. We looked forward to meeting in 'our spot' after dinner every night. In some ways it became the highlight of our daily activities. We'd gather, we'd order our 'regular' and tell stories.
The conversation was never ending, the stories (and the tall tales the boys told got taller and taller every night) grew, and the deep belly laughter had us rolling until our stomachs literally hurt. Before any of us realized it, the sun was practically on the horizon and this was nearly every night for 7 nights.
During one of these nights, I suddenly became extremely aware of my surroundings. It was almost like an out of body experience. Everything in the lounge got very quiet except for the sound and words of my friends immediately before me. This strange sense of euphoria surrounded me. Joy came rushing back into my life. I let go of this heavy coat of anxiety I had been wearing for three years (that is an entirely different story for someday). I listened to them, I heard every one of their words so clearly, I noticed every smile. Suddenly the rest of the sound in the lounge came back. I was present, I was physically, spiritually, and mentally present for the first time in what has felt like an eternity.
In this wildly bazaar moment that felt like forever (reality, it was just a few moments) I realized that I am no different than anyone else in this world. We all have 'stuff' but when we let that stuff steal our joy without permission, we are left with only the "have to", "when I get time", and "once I get caught up".
When your joy is stolen, you lose what is important. Love, life and being present in the moment. This feeling of euphoria and this peace and calm surrounded me that night. It was and still is pure joy. A simple three letter word that means so much. I embraced joy and I have been carrying her with me every moment since. All because of a childhood playmate, my business partner and a stranger who walked on a ship.