It's true what they say, "teamwork makes the dream work." 2022 has been a year of many changes for my family. There have been changes that were cause for celebration and changes that knocked us off course. We started 2022 strong out of the gate with some big accomplishments. I published my first book, started a website, and was sure I would quickly be a superstar. My other half accomplished a lifelong goal and got his captain's license. We supported one another through both processes, celebrated our accomplishments, and overcame setbacks together.
I didn’t catapult to superstardom as quickly as expected so we decided to focus on getting the captain on a boat and living his dream. We did the arduous research of island hopping in the Caribbean to find the best place to start our next venture and start our life on the water. I planned to sell my book, build my life coaching platform, start beach body boot camp and paddle board the days away. We stumbled across the island of Bonaire and were convinced there were divine signs telling us this is where we were meant to go and so we kicked our life plans into high gear.
We made the decision for Michael to “retire “ early while I worked remotely until our plan came to fruition. We sold real estate and anything we possibly could to prepare for our next venture and away we went for our Bonaire test run. It didn’t go without its challenges but even so, we were in the Caribbean so what could go so wrong, right? Well….. our real estate deals did not go smoothly and I lost my job. These unforeseen circumstances forced me to get on a flight back to Pennsylvania to deal with these things leaving my mom and Mike to fend for themselves on the island. While the poor things managed to survive hiking, swimming, fishing, and enjoying adult beverages without me I was back home feeling hopeless, helpless, lost, and desperate, but I did what I needed to do and handled the business on the home front and I was able to rejoin them for a bit more island time before returning "home” again for the foreseeable future.
Now as the last of the leaves fall from the trees and we prepare for winter we are also preparing for the next season of our lives. A season of separation will be beginning for us. While it’s impossible to not feel sad that we will be apart indefinitely, I’ve shifted my mindset to focus on the potential benefits and positive outcomes this time may produce.
In order to bring our long-term vision to life we need to make sacrifices in the short term to get there. At this juncture, it makes the most sense for us to divide and conquer. It is the right time for Mike to begin to lay the groundwork in Bonaire while I stay put in Pennsylvania to get my business up and running, manage the responsibilities we have here, and most importantly spend time with my son and celebrate the milestones of his senior year with him.
I could have been selfish and told Michael he couldn't go without me and he would have waited. The thought of being alone for the Pennsylvania winter to fend for myself is scary. The thought of freezing my ass off while he soaks up the sun makes me envious. Thinking about spending the holidays alone makes me sad. I could have put my own needs first and let these feelings dictate our plans, but I knew that wasn't fair for me to do. That's not what good partners and teammates do. Being a good teammate can sometimes mean that your needs are secondary to the needs of the team. It was hard, but I had to put my wants and needs on the back burner momentarily so that my partner can grow, thrive, and improve knowing that in the end, it will benefit both of us.
This is a chance for us to overcome the challenges and obstacles that living apart will inevitably create and make us stronger as individuals and as a couple. This time will undoubtedly test our relationship and our commitment to ourselves, to each other, to our goals, and to trusting God’s plan.
Missing each other will surely evoke feelings of sadness, but it may also help us appreciate and care for one another more. It’s so easy to get complacent in a relationship and take the other person for granted when they are around every day, but when that person is gone you begin to realize how important they are to you. The things that annoy you get pushed to the back of your mind and you start to remember why you fell in love with that person and what you love about him or her.
This time will best serve us if we can use it to self-reflect and grow as individuals and grow as a couple. We have an opportunity to better ourselves so we can be better together. We have joint long-term goals, but at this present moment, we need to focus on our individual goals in order to achieve our joint goals. We must make sacrifices in the short term in order to be successful in the long term. Our dream has an exponentially better chance of coming to fruition if we act and operate as a team.
Now more than ever it is critical for us to trust one another and put our ultimate trust in God. Along this journey, we have begun to pray, trust, and grow our faith more and more each day.
The timing has not been working out the way that I had planned, but that’s because it’s not supposed to happen according to my plan or my timing but rather according to the plan and timing God has for us.
Has there been a time when life’s circumstances forced a separation between you and someone significant in your life? Did you start to appreciate that person more while they were gone? Did the physical separation bring you closer together in other ways?
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