Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Midsummer Night's Dream

'It's been awhile...'. I swear I write a post every year that begins with this sentiment. True to form, here I am again this year returning from a rather lengthy blogging hiatus. I'm starting to realize that certain seasons of the year are busier for me than others and I'm wondering whether this may also be a reflection of the larger 'seasons' of life. Every year, summer is a write-off, with endless visits from friends that have moved 'away',  sun-stained patio nights, staycation adventures and weddings. And now that I'm well into the summer of life, I feel equally short on time to squeeze in everything I want from these wondrous months and years.

As I write this I am sprawled out on a couch in  condominium of a couple I have never met.  It's a gorgeous spot, smack dab in the heart of Kitlslano Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia. I am here for the wedding of my dear friend, Andrew. I met his bride-to-be only last week and in my very humble opinion he has chosen wisely.  The wedding is set for Friday, but the parties have already begun. Being an 'out-of-town' guest has its perks, as I've been invited to the rehearsal dinner and also get to help out with pre-wedding decorations (this is genuinely fun for me!).

While I've been on the West Coast I've also had the chance to catch-up with some other very dear friends. I made the trek to Victoria for the weekend and stayed with my very wonderful, adventurous friend, Natasha.  Sometimes I feel like she's my younger sister, other times the closest confidante a gal could wish for.  My friend, Chris, whom I met way back in 2002 while doing my first co-op work term in Ottawa, also lives in Victoria with  his wife of 8 years, Wendy. They just had a little boy, Paul, who is legitimately as super-cute baby (come on, we all know they're not ALL cute when they're babies. so let's just admit it!).  It was an extremely enjoyable and rewarding trip, complete with farmers' markets and a mountain hike that made me feel better about all the sangria I drank to celebrate my birthday.

Returning to Vancouver after the weekend, I met up with my friend, Christine, who is truly an indomitable spirit with a ferocious talent for making food taste divine (she's a Red Seal Chef). She is getting married in a few weeks to an equally impressive man.  I'm pretty sure they're super heroes by night. 

On Tuesday night I had the great fortune of meeting up with my kindred spirit, Donna. Donna and I met back in 2011 at a rural tourism conference in the interior of BC. To be perfectly honest, I have no idea why my employer bothered to send me across the country for a conference that was clearly province-based, but I am so glad he did. Donna ended up being  my 'roomie' in the chalet I had booked and we hit it off immediately. I am so grateful for my intuition, which allows me to pick up on compatible energies really quickly. Well, we had limited time in rural BC to truly cement a friendship, but kindred spirits cannot be kept apart, so when I messaged Donna that I was coming to Vancouver, where she now lives, she made a point of planning a special evening and inviting me to be part of it. I had a most fantastic time with her and two of her four daughters, as well as her daughter's friend, at Theatre Under the Stars in Stanley Park. TUTS, as it is known, featured a Broadway musical adaptation of the movie Shrek; it was spectacular and hilarious!!

Me being me, I am always searching for the deeper meaning and messages from my experiences in life and this trip to the West Coast has provided much by way of reflection on life and relationships. I've been gifted with slices of time in the lives of some beautiful people. I've observed snippets of their existence and had conversations, big and small, with them. All of the moments I've spent with them have been illuminating. Everyone is at a differing stages of life in their relationships - from newly single to almost married to LT married with a new baby. They're also at different stages in their careers- from the friend that finally has a job she absolutely loves to the friend that's suffering through a fifth year at a job s/he hates, to the friend contemplating a career change to the one that's on the search for a job aligned with their beliefs.

What I was reminded of through these interactions is that life is an exciting, never-ending series of experiences. Some will be more challenging and stressful than others. Some will feel more stable and safe, others will feel more like a roller-coaster ride.  Ultimately, however, each and every one of these experiences will morph into  anew experience with the passage of time. The newly weds will be old pros at the marriage thing, the single gals will more likely than not find themselves in the throes of another relationship, the parents of the new baby will soon be sending their little guy off to school. Some may leave their current jobs for more fulfilling careers, others may move into new positions at beloved workplaces. 
 We do not often make the time to take stock of the grand experiences that life has offered us. We are so focused on what is coming down the pipeline we forget to stand in gratitude of all the experiences we have been gifted with so far.  Sometimes it takes a vacation to a place far from home and a peak into the lives of others to make us realize how wondrous each stage in life is, and how very unique our journeys through this world truly are.

We don't really know what the future holds, but with each new day the future transforms itself into the present and there we are, moving through it and dealing with all that it has to offer us, both the challenges and the rewards. This year has been an epic one for me in terms of experiences and change. I feel that I am in the midst of a phenomenal shift in the trajectory of my life and I am nothing short o ecstatic about the current relationships and opportunities for growth that life has presented me with. 

I stand in gratitude for the friends who have invited me into their worlds, I am inspired by each and every one of you.  Thank you for reminding me that life is an accumulation of experiences that are best shared with those that you choose to love and that choose to love you.

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