We’ve all been on the roller coaster of love, right? It has its ups and it has its downs. But if you can’t get back up, well… you’ve got three choices: stay miserable, do something to fix it, or call it quits.
On my vision board, I have a photo of a woman kayaking on a beautifully blue calm lake, arms out and looking up as if in gratefulness that she has the opportunity to do such wondrous things. But she is alone, which is where I thought I would still be now. When I tacked that picture up, I was separated from my husband of 12 years and was certain I would need to decide in front of the judge whether to go back to my maiden name or keep my married one.
Seven months after I left him I was out with a friend and the band started to play our song. I couldn’t stop crying. “You need to go talk to him,” my friend said. Eventually, after a hyperventilating episode while attempting to trail run, I did.
I drove to the house I had moved out of and tried to find my words. I couldn’t, so I just hugged him.
“I don’t know how to fix this,” he said.
“I don’t either, but we have to try.”
Soon after, I moved back home, rounded up the plethora of brown furniture and accessories we had somehow collected over our decade + together and what we didn’t give away, I spray painted gold, powder blue, teal or rose. Springtime I visited my favorite local nursery and created a little corner garden on our deck where I have my coffee every morning. Inside, walls are being painted, new curtains installed and floors redone. But it’s slow going, because we decided that we aren’t going to let mowing and remodeling get in the way of adventure and romance.
So Memorial weekend I planned a trip to kickoff summer and see my Mom in Arkansas. She lives near the pristinely beautiful Buffalo National River so I called Wild Bill’s Outfitters to see if they had any kayaks available. They had 4 left when I first called but 2 were rented out as I was on the phone with them, so they said if I could be there in an hour and a half (and it was a 45 minute drive!) I could have the last two. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten ready so fast!
I was so nervous that I would capsize on my first time getting into the kayak but it was surprisingly easy. Once when I looked back Doug was floating down backwards and just laughing.
I would look back and catch him smiling at me. I spotted a cave and we madly paddled towards it (since of course, we were on the opposite side of the river) and admired the drip drip drip into the river below coming high from the moss covered rock ceiling above us. It was there that we realized what had been missing from our lives. We were letting life get in the way of living. Our girls were long gone from home, but it was as if something had us tied down. But we decided to cut the rope.
It seemed that with every little adventure we found along the way, his face lit up more. It literally took years off of him. I found myself falling in love with him again. Something I had not imagined to even be possible just one year ago. But here we were joking around, splashing each other, copping a feel.
Before we even got back to Texas, I began joining paddling forums and asking around about buying my first kayak. A future blog post will be about what I learned of kayaks because returning one is not fun. I wanted to love her, but she just didn’t feel right. But the second one did.
Doug doesn’t have one yet, but he’s looking. The right rugged but handsome one will come along to be Clyde to my Bonnie.
Doesn’t she just glow so beautifully? That’s what happens when you’re in love!
I hope I’ve inspired some ideas to rekindle your fire. Are you going to plan an adventure, or perhaps rearrange or redecorate a room? Maybe plant some flowers or paint some furniture. Refresh, reinvigorate, renew, revive. Feel alive, life is too short!