“Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.”
– Isabelle Eberhardt, The Nomad
The last time I was in Marbella, in the fall of 2015, every aspect of my life came into question. I knew things had to change but I was frozen like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming car driven by stress and overwhelm. I was spending three months every fall in Marbella, winters in Tucson helping my elderly mother, the spring back in Marbella, and summer “home” in the Northwest. I was working on my business, writing my memoir, healing from a frozen shoulder, and dealing with menopause.
We flew home early that fall, but I still pushed myself and ignored the messages my body was screaming at me. When spring came we bought tickets back to Marbella. But two weeks before our flight during a routine ultra sound for uterine fibroids the technician said she thought I might have uterine cancer (I didn’t.). I went home in shock and an hour later we found out my step-daughter died after a stroke two months earlier. During that dark night of the soul I finally woke up. l needed to find the path back to the home within myself, and that meant slowing down. We canceled our flight back to Spain.
That’s why going back to Marbella last week was bittersweet. One morning I watched a little boy playing along the shore with a small fishing net. He happily scooped up an empty net over and over until finally he ran to his mother with his net held in front of him, “Look Mom, I caught some seaweed!” His mother clapped her hands in joy. “Go get some more,” she said.
This was the best kind a reminder that what matters is the process of fishing and not what we catch. What matters is having someone we love clap for us and tell us to keep on trying. What matters most is remembering everything can bring us joy, even when our net seems empty, even when we’re hoping for fish and only catch seaweed.