As the whisper of ferry engines slid us away from Argentina, I looked out onto an endless horizon with water all around. It was soothing, the low rumble that serenaded my travel to Uruguay.
It was barely past noon, but I sipped the glass of champagne they offered upon boarding while gazing out at the water. I toasted my decision to take the last week of working and living remotely in Buenos Aires off to relax for a few days in Colonia and then jam pack as much dancing into my final weekend as possible when I returned to Buenos Aires before saying my goodbyes…for now.
The smooth glide of the ferry calls up memories of the two vals tandas I danced twelve hours before my trip surrounded by the pulsing, vibrant city of Buenos Aires. Vals is just as you would imagine – tango danced to songs in waltz timing. Unlike regular tango songs, vals music is most often happy, light, and fluid. To glide across the floor in the arms of another person as if you are on ice feels sublime…and it takes a significant number of years of practice and dancing to do so. As much as I’ve dedicated myself to being a master coach and a healthcare innovator, I also committed, a number of years ago, to seriously studying the art of tango.
Never, in a million years, would I have envisioned my life as it is now. I thought I’d forever work in the film industry. I thought I’d grow old with my late husband after raising the daughter we’d planned and hoped for but never had. But thoughts are just thoughts, not choices. And sometimes the choices we would make for ourselves become impossible when life decides something different. These are the moments that are pivotal and the opportunity is to turn them into pivot points, changing our trajectory to make the best of life.
There is one decision I made early in life while still a child. In a moment of clarity, while walking home from school, I decided that, no matter what, I wanted to live an extraordinary life. I wanted the opposite of ordinary. And while life, as it does with most of us, has handed me moments I would never choose for myself, I’ve consistently turned them into a unique opportunity somehow. It’s not always easy. It doesn’t always happen right away. Some took years of struggle, internal personal work, and a lot of support. Others required less effort – a change of perspective or a willingness to take a perceived risk and make a change.
As I settle back into life after Buenos Aires (well, to be honest it feels like I’ve been tossed into the middle of an arcade game with flippers and bells and lights going on all around me) and walking through the uncertainty of the times we are living in right now, I remind myself of two things.
- It is REALLY important to have that glass of champagne, take that boat ride to Uruguay, and include something in your life daily that you love spending time doing.
- I can only control my response to things that are out of my control.
Life isn’t perfect…not in Buenos Aires, not in Canada where I was raised, not in the United States. We don’t have a say in every moment and event that happens in our lives. But we can choose to slip away from the busy-ness of Buenos Aires and into a sleepy seaside town for a few days. We can say yes to the glass of champagne in the middle of the day every once in a while. We can commit ourselves to mastering something we love. We can choose to create action plans that reduce our stress and give us the chance for an optimal outcome. What do you choose?
For some helpful tips check out 5 (or so) Strategies for Coping During an Outbreak