My friend said to her husband, “If she takes him back, it will be for Alaska.” I didn’t learn of this until later when I actually hadn’t taken him back. But in reflection I had to admit that I was so entrenched with the life-long desire to experience Alaska that I had been willing to accept a relationship that wasn’t fulfilling. And if I’m honest, his willingness to indulge my gypsy spirit was most of his charm.
Alaska represented new and stimulating; a place to explore a new frontier and possibly find myself; a last-ditch effort to bring back my gypsy days of wandering off for the heck of it and just seeing what happened; a new teaching experience with an unknown population with their own struggles; and perhaps breathe some life into my own floundering relationship. Thus Alaska.
Receiving my Alaska Teaching Certificate in the mail recently was a soul-crushing moment when I reflected on how much I’d invested (emotionally, financially, personally, and physically) into this new endeavor. I wanted it so much! But just like spring brings light and life back to Alaska, the realization dawned on me that I would lose more than I would ever gain by leaving “home.”
I DID leave him and the dream, but what I FOUND cleansed my soul much more: friends that had always been there and would always have my back; colleagues that made me feel like what I did mattered every single day to my kids; a new respect and love for my sons who I’d learned COULD live well without my constant nagging; and new uncharted territory. I didn’t have to leave to find me, I found “ME” reflected in the eyes of those relationships I’d worked hard to build and cultivate.
Now, I will be seeing Alaska at some point – but only for an extended vacation. And with the help of a great friend (thanks Lisa!) I learned that I could have adventures AND stability. One didn’t necessarily preclude the other. I was reverting to my old scorched-earth method of forcing change. I’m slowly learning a new, softer method of discovery.
So far it seems to be working…but I won’t lie…there are moments when I think, “what the heck…I’m going to Alaska!” The gypsy in my heart surfaces on occasion.