BY TABATHA RENEGAR
I have a magnet on my refrigerator that claims, “Ever notice how What the Hell is always the right decision?!” Trust me; I recognize that this isn’t a very mature mantra to live by and it’s intended to be funny but… more times than not, it has actually proven itself out as sage advice!
For example, when in early 2017 I received an e-mail from a close friend requesting that a few of us gal-pals join her on her 40th birthday trip.
With girlfriends and a free place to stay for a week.
I practically tattooed the words of that magnet across my forehead! Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. In my heart, I said YES immediately, but in real life, there was much to consider. The impact on my family of taking such a big trip, both financially and logistically, was the primary roadblock to throwing all caution to the wind. In retrospect, I am glad that I took the time to give very thoughtful consideration to the idea. ANY big decision does indeed deserve reflection, and this was no exception. By taking time and really thinking through the opportunity, I have come out on the other side of it with a greater appreciation for the blessing that the trip truly was.
I committed to the trip and bought the airline ticket in the fall of 2017, and the journey was planned for July of 2018. How did I finally take the plunge? When I had a vision of myself as a very old woman, sitting in my rocking chair looking back at my life. Did I want to be thinking, “Remember that summer I could have gone to Bali?” Absolutely not. I owed it to my future senior self to push boundaries and accept this wonderful and adventurous gift that had been presented to me.
My husband was supportive as the months went by and planning was in full swing. Luckily, he, too, has wanderlust so he could completely appreciate the desire to see this magical, far-away place that not many people get to experience. But he also did not love the idea of 30+ hours of air travel, so he wasn’t feeling sad to be staying behind.
The vacation that came together was six women spending a week in Sanur, Bali, followed by a 2nd week traveling north for the three of us that were able to stay longer. Our home in Sanur was the amazing house of our hostess’s father and stepmom, who welcomed us all with open arms and hearts. The journey was long, but everyone traveled smoothly, without delay or frustration and we arrived within hours of each other to a land like no other.
We were six American women, ages 40 -71. We were made up of educators, a naturopath healer, a bakery owner, and an event planner. We were up for anything and refused to let jet lag impede the incredible things that our hostess had planned for the week when all six of us would be together. From bicycling through the rice paddies to strolling through the famous Monkey Forest, from seaside resorts with Azul pools to the mystical beach beside the Tanah Lot temple… there was a true wonder at every turn, and we found ourselves as giddy as children at the beauty and thrills of Bali!
I must confess; I write like I talk and keeping myself to required word counts is always a challenge! And it has never been harder than when I am talking about my 2018 trip to Bali! Writing about it brings the memories into vivid focus, and I yearn to start at day one and provide an hour-by-hour recap of what we experienced! Yet, I will wrap it up with this final summary:
Say yes. Find a way. Believe that you deserve it. Whatever *it* is. Life is a beautiful and complex gift that challenges us all, can be hard at times and, at other times, even tragic. But it can also be joyous beyond words and awe-inspiring. Keep your eyes wide open for the unexpected treasures and when in doubt, I highly recommend practicing a little “what the hell!”