About this time, two years ago, I was sobbing in my therapist's office requesting meds and searching for answers. Donna seemed not to have any answers.
Instead, a script was written to give me temporary relief from my anxiety and malaise, but with it came an assignment: "Make a list of 100 things that make you happy," Donna requested. "Don't over think it, just make a list, even if you repeat the same thing 100 times."
What did make me happy? My house? The things in it? The success of my businesses? The comfortable lifestyle my "success" afforded me? My marriage? The prospect of having a family? None of these things made the list.
Instead, my list was mostly a mix of people and food that I loved (my niece and nephews, banana cream pie); places I wanted to go (Argentina, Greece, Egypt); adventures desired (learn a foreign language); and many things tango. TANGO! (The embrace, the connection, the movement, the shoes.)
Within days of making that list, I realized that my marriage didn't jive with my happy list. Within a year, I realized that I no longer needed to be medicated to be happy. Today, as I turned the keys to my apartment over to my landlord, I realized I am happy even homeless. (Possibly happier homeless?)
My yearbook quote my senior year of high school was “Follow your bliss.” (It was my second choice, but they wouldn’t print my favorite Paul Simon lyric, “When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it’s a wonder I can think at all.”)
At some point since those innocent days, I got off track and started following other peoples' bliss. I made choices based on what I thought should make me happy, rather than my heart’s desire.
I went the traditional route. Got married. Nested in a big, beautiful home. Prepared to have babies. Drove my career. It seems blissful, right? I should have been really, really happy.
But here’s the truth about me. I was not a great wife. I hated the big mortgage and the stifling confinement that came with the beautiful house. I don’t want to have babies, but I love being an aunt. And I don’t want my sole identity to be about how I make my income. It took my happy list to figure a lot of this out. (My happy list, a divorce, hours of therapy and an extremely open minded boyfriend.)
Tomorrow, I am hopping on a plane with my sweetheart Matthew to take a little pre-adventure to my big adventure. (A Seattle/Puget Sound Island appetizer before my Buenos Aires main course.) When we return in two weeks, I will have just enough time to grab my overflowing suitcases (six pairs of tango shoes are already packed), kiss my Matthew goodbye (until he comes to me in November), and head south for 3 ½ months. Very far south.
Am I scared? Yes. Terrified. Do I speak Spanish? No. But I will learn. Do I know anyone one there? Not really. But I will make friends. Do I know what I am doing? (No.) Yes! I can tango. I am following my bliss.