How much is “enough”?
Before Ron was diagnosed with cancer in December 2005, we’d been talking about our retirement plans for years. Due to a variety of circumstances, Ron had retired some years earlier. But I was still working away because we both felt we didn’t yet have “enough.” Our financial planner suggested my retirement was still a ways off.
I was incredibly fortunate to have the job I did and worked with terrific people. However, I’d known for a long time … at least the past ten years … that this job was not what I was “meant” to do. I knew there was something else out there for me … but what? I didn’t know.
So, I had kept going, earning my income … and dreaming about the future day I could “really start to enjoy life.”
Ron and I had long ago decided we didn’t want to stay in Calgary. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great city to have a business career … entrepreneurial, relatively young, active, and situated just an hour’s drive to the Rocky Mountains. But we were both done with winter and big city traffic. Oh, yeah, and did I mention winter … ?
We’d explored many possible destinations and set our sights on the province next door, British Columbia … a large province (as are most Canadian provinces), situated on the country’s west coast, known for its natural beauty and mild(er) climates.
Spirit had already planted the seed in 1999… seven years earlier
I vividly recall a(nother) pivotal event … this one happened one Sunday morning, in 1999 …
I was reading the Calgary paper and noticed an advertisement for a place called “Fairwinds” on Vancouver Island, B.C. It was a planned community, built around a golf course (a “must” on our list of retirement destinations), in a gorgeous setting, right on the ocean. Wow!
Now, when people hear “Vancouver Island,” they often just hear “Vancouver” … the third largest city in Canada. A city well known in some parts of the world, especially after hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics.
But this was not Vancouver, it was Vancouver Island … the largest island on the west coast of America … larger than five of the American states, and larger than some countries. Belgium, for example.
It sits in the Pacific Ocean, about twenty-eight kilometers (seventeen miles) off the west coast of British Columbia. So, yes, technically an “island” but it didn’t really feel like we’d be dropping off the face of the Earth.
Hmmm, a possibility … I needed to learn more. Not knowing anyone in the area, I called the Pro Shop at the Fairwinds golf course and asked them. What’s the winter like? Is there snow? Can you golf year-around? You know, all the important questions in life!
While winter wouldn’t offer sunbathing weather, snow was a rarity. Yes, there really are a few places in Canada where winter doesn’t turn the ground to stone for up to six months each year. We were determined to land in one of them!
So, I added it to the file folder of possibilities for future consideration and put it out of my mind as we went on with our life.
Spirit then watered the seed … 2002
Three years later, the next pivotal event took place …
My close friend and retired business partner, Joan, and her husband, Doug, came back one day from a vacation. They knew we continued to muse about retirement destinations.
They’d just spent three weeks touring Vancouver Island. On their trip, they’d visited friends who lived in a development they thought we might be interested in. In fact, while there, they’d walked a property that they would have jumped on themselves, if they’d been planning to leave Calgary.
We joined them for dinner and they told us all about it. It sounded quite wonderful and was worth investigating. I asked what it was called. “Fairwinds,” Joan said.
Fairwinds … ? That sounded vaguely familiar.
As soon as we got home, I pulled out my file folder of research and confirmed my suspicions … yes, that was the community that had caught my attention in the Sunday paper three years earlier.
Hmm, interesting coincidence!
Pay attention to coincidences!
Although I hadn’t yet started down my spiritual path at this point, I already had an innate knowing that coincidences were meant to be paid attention to. (I later learned they’re called “synchronicities.” )
So, I said to Ron, “We’ve got to go check this out.”
I remember our trip. Within weeks, we were on a plane to Vancouver Island, to this place called Fairwinds. This was no boondoggle … our intention was to come home as owners of a retirement property. A piece of land where we could build our dream home … years down the road.
There were numerous lots for sale and we scoured the area. Then we found it … our dream lot. We fell in love … with the property and with the entire community.
We found a bench in a small, forested park. It was perched on a rock outcropping, looking out over the local cove, Brickyard Bay. We envisioned a life in the future when we could walk down to this very bench, settle in and soak up the serenity of the ocean and abundant wildlife for hours on end. Truly heaven on Earth.
We submitted our offer to purchase and stopped by Joan and Doug’s friends to say hello. From their house perched on a hill, they could see the specific neighbourhood we were targeting.
When we pointed out which lot we were buying, one of them said, “Oh, interesting … that’s the same lot that Joan and Doug wanted to buy.”
A whack on the side of the head
So, now here we were, in the spring 2006, facing a serious situation that was upending our lives. Suddenly, we realized the truth … as a good friend of mine puts it, we had been trading our lives for money.
I’ve since come to understand that …
When you’re off track from the life you’re meant to have, Spirit will nudge you back on. If you don’t listen, Spirit resorts to stronger and stronger measures, until you’re compelled to act ….
Like, say for example, if you were to stay in a job for ten years after you know it’s not what you’re meant to do …. If I wasn’t going to change my life on my own, then Spirit was going to make it impossible for me not to.
And there’s nothing like a cancer diagnosis, especially one with a reputation of being terminal, to refocus your priorities! The “safety” of building a bigger financial nest egg … and staying working in Calgary to do it … paled in comparison to getting on with what we really wanted to do in life. We simply had to trust we had enough.
After our six-month endurance race through the medical system to learn there were no easy or hopeful options, one part of the path forward became crystal clear. I gave my one-year’s notice to my business partners … I would retire in June 2007 and we would move.
Discovering my true path
While Ron’s diagnosis gave us the incentive to make a move, I was also making a personal discovery … BodyTalk was my absolute passion. Who knew??
The last several months had finally revealed what my life’s path should be … helping others to heal. I would become a Certified BodyTalk Practitioner … we would move to Vancouver Island … Ron would recover … and I would open a BodyTalk practice.
We started anticipating with much excitement our new life on the west coast while we carried on for the next year.
I kept working and moving toward my BodyTalk certification. Ron mostly stayed out of doctor’s offices and pursued various complementary health treatments. We continued to enjoy our golfing passion. And we planned the next chapter of our lives … to start June 15th, 2007.
And, unbeknownst to us, we were about to benefit once again from Spirit, this time lending a hand with our transition ….