Life is a treasure hunt

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“I’m an adventurer, looking for treasure”
― Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist

Let me avoid sugar-coating the last few months of chaos…

• Starting another blog and feeling completely inspired again
• Training for the Chicago Marathon (after last year’s crash and quasi-burn at Marine Corps)
• Training for my 1st Triathlon in July (eeek)
• Getting promoted at work – new role/new division/new coffee routine/new demands
• Struggling to carve out time for myself, my family and my friends
• Starting monthly quests to better myself through H20, meditation and soon to be gratitude

…and feeling this overwhelming sense of questioning…call it a quarter-ish life crisis or maybe just a case of the 30s, but the last few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time wondering where I fit in into this big crazy, stunning and complex world.

The last few weeks have consisted of me obsessing over the little personal time I had at my disposal, the overwhelming corporate bureaucracy in my new role, feeling rushed in every marathon/triathlon-training workout, and dreading the drive into work every morning…generally only pacified by several morning calls to my college/lifetime friend and partner in crime in DC, Lisa.  I woke up last Thursday morning and thought, what is this all for?

Bottom Line: I was utterly lost.  Have you ever felt that same feeling of uncertainty?

Fast forward to this past weekend in Maine…home in mid-coast Maine to pet sit my parent’s dog, Murphy.  The weekend started off with a bomb-cyclone or, to us hearty northeasterners, a good ol’fashioned Nor’easter – I drove home to Maine in sideways rain and wind blowing the car all over the highway – felt eerily similar to my present circumstances in life.

Waves at the Beach
The aftermath at high tide from the bomb-cyclone – the beach is just magical in this chaos

After an evening soothed by the fireplace, a glass of wine, and some much needed sleep – I woke up the next morning feeling oddly out of place.  In typical tradition, I pulled myself together and went out in search of a good cup of coffee and some eggs – 1st stop to my usual breakfast sweet spot (arrived to closed doors and no sign of life…bummed but not defeated).

Plan B – I called my parents, who were now blissfully soaking up the sun and heat in Florida, and they recommended a cozy little spot called Betty’s in Bath, Maine.  Determined to check the box on breakfast, I arrived at Betty’s and walked in to a big ol’wait (ugh).  A small woman standing next to the coat rack with a beautifully-crafted wool hat approached me (just as a 4-top opened up) and said  “would you join me for breakfast?”.  Desperate for eggs/coffee/seat and feeling a little more adventurous than usual I agreed.

…enter Martha Dow Fehsenfeld – a pleasant, well-traveled, eloquent, and incredibly engaging woman who had worked directly with Samuel Beckett.  Her stories about working with the famous novelist + playwright, traveling the world, and her move to Maine felt like a breath of fresh air.  However, the most important moment came when she looked across the table and said to me, “You know life is like a treasure hunt.  You need to keep your eyes open so that you don’t miss any of the clues left for you.” 

Selfie with Martha.JPG
Martha’s requested selfie with her iPhone at Betty’s in Bath, Maine

I sat there regurgitating that phrase in my head while feeling like weeks’ worth of angst, frustration, and fatigue suddenly lifted.  Whether you believe in fate or not, I felt like Martha and I connected on that morning for a reason.

I also attributed this light-bulb moment to the meditation challenge – which has given me the opportunity to reflect, “clear the clutter” for even just a few minutes each day over the last month, and, more importantly, opened the door to possibility.  Again, maybe not just coincidence, but the last day of my meditation challenge was this last Sunday, and I couldn’t think of a more fitting ending to the “story” by including a chance encounter with a local celebrity and some deeply profound words of wisdom.

Last Meditation During Challenge
Last day of the meditation challenge overlooking nothing but wide-open water

There have only been 2 other instances in my life that I can recall having similar reactions and these moments (albeit to some, are cliche) are important when I think about my path in life and journey…they generally have resulted in a significant “pivot” in the journey.

Having a fresh perspective about life being a treasure hunt has actually helped me reconcile the short-term headaches and constraint caused by let’s call it my day job in Finance.  Feeling inspired by writing, connecting with new folks across the fitness/balance/culinary space, focusing on finding a few minutes of quiet each day and cutting myself some slack for everything else – I know that this may be the start of a new chapter…

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