Lorena, Conrad and the boys came by to sing me Happy Birthday this morning - my heart is full!!!
You would think that finding myself was a steady path, arriving at this age of fifty. Maybe it was and I just didn’t see it until I came to Barbados. I feel more myself here now than I have since I was a young girl. Confident enough in who I am, to narrow it down to my three essences.
Anita lived a couple of houses down from me, growing up in Lambeth. I don’t remember what it felt like the first time that I met Anita, but I knew she was my “BFF” before it was a thing. Maybe we were destined to meet, just as I feel many of us here were destined for Barbados during the pandemic.
Our teenage and then adult lives could not have been more different. I was the maid of honour at Anita’s wedding when we were 21, her son was the first baby I let be lowered into my arms a few years later, and I would visit her every year within 20km from the houses we grew up.
It would appear that Anita and I have little in common. Those that know us well, know that we share parallels in life. We both lost our fathers in childhood and have a difficult relationship with our mothers. This is the catalyst for a bond that is so strong between us – the constant striving to not let these things define us, rather, for the struggle to transform us.
If you are a person that believes that we are put on this earth to be the best human beings that we can be, I don’t need to have met you to already love you!
[If you have strong, beautiful women in your life, and I have many, you will know the value of female friendship. This is another theme in my life]
Adventure closely tied to travel, has meant different things to me over the years. Barbados is the third time that I have lived overseas – to England for work in my 20’s, to Ireland for love in my 30’s and now to Barbados in my 40’s. I have traveled to 52 countries (there is an app for that). I would love to say that I always traveled for an adventure, but it was often an escape. Even coming to Barbados, I took flight from the pandemic. But there were great adventures along the way – skydiving and bungy jumping in New Zealand, pooping my pants in Africa, getting drunk and ending up on TV in Australia, hiking in Patagonia, learning Spanish in Guatemala.
I now live on a tiny island, 166 square miles, and have traveled less in the last two and a half years than I have done the rest of my adult life. Yet, my life in Barbados is all about adventure. I learned to surf, a challenging sport at any age. Adventure now means pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. The surf break is where I have met my closest friends here, not necessarily because they surf but because it is one more adventure in a series that landed them in Barbados.
People often ask me why I didn’t have children. My response: To have children, I thought I should want them more than anything in the world, and I didn’t. What I wanted was a lifestyle of freedom. [I mean it is more complicated than that, but more than a blog’s worth.]
I have never felt freedom as I have in Barbados, and it makes my heart soar.
The freedom from the expectation of getting married and having children, and many other expectations that society placed on me. The freedom to work not only from home, but at my desk in the living room wearing shorts often 20 minutes after I run off the beach from surfing.
This move has made me question everything that I know and remove the parts I no longer believe in. I now know is that true freedom is being who you are meant to be, not what others want you to be.
True freedom is standing firm in who you really are.
And I still have half a life to go to figure out the rest.