I am writing this in Pictou, Nova Scotia, across the Northumberland Strait, from my home in Charlottetown, Price Edward Island.
I am visiting with my new boyfriend, John. (I’m 43—44 in October; why don’t we have a different word for boyfriend/girlfriend at this point in our lives?!)
My visit is the test.
Can I come for a week and keep up with deadlines and clients’ needs from back home?
I am a heart centered entrepreneur, running a business that serves clients in my home city. Results, happily, are so far so good. I am able to truly say, anything is possible.
My morning, and unknowingly this blog post, began with a drive and discussion about work-life balance. So many people we know sacrifice one for the other.
Looking back, I remembered when I, too, felt trapped in such a script—until an ah-ha moment changed my life.
It was 1995; I was 25 years old and walking to and from work in 12 hour cycles. No, I didn’t work shifts. I was the director of two growing departments: youth leadership and international development education at a non-profit. It was a permanent, salaried job.
Of course, I was working 12 hours in a seven and a half hour work day because I had been raised in a pull yourself up by the boot straps, entrepreneurial, thrifty household.
Work hard first, play later was all I knew how to do. So, it’s what I did. Oh, and save money, save money and save some more.
When I had time to think about anything other than work, I was consumed with how I would fit in my passion for travel and international development service. More importantly, how was I going to become that woman I so admired? The one who could do anything a man could—be single or involved, live in her gypsy heart centered spirit, have a bank account with money in it and be worldly? When and how?
With my world revolving around that walk to and from work every 12 hours, how was I ever going to fulfill that life dream?
To my credit, I had a stint as a volunteer in the Dominican Republic with the Santiago, YMCA, and had traveled solo four months through Europe. I had discovered myself and discovered that I still had more discovering to do. But I also had a good job, steady employment, a life insurance plan, a vehicle, a nice apartment, lots of antique furnishings, a savings account with money in it, a boyfriend (it feels better using this word for that time in my life—but back then I called him “my partner”?!) who was leaving for more adventure in international volunteerism and I wasn’t.
The tension between passion and security was stemming the life from me. I fumed more and fantasized less. Something had to give.
On one of these walks home from work, on sidewalks traveled by the founders of our country, I stopped in my tracks, looked in the window of one of Charlottetown’s historic buildings and noted that I was wearing the same thing I had been wearing the last time I picked my head up from my work reverie. I froze on the spot.
I realized right then, the next time I stopped to look I could be 40 years old, doing the same walk, for the same job, with the same monkey mind going over work or relationship stuff, with less and less room for daydreams and passions, not knowing where the time went.
That terrified me.
It was fall of 1995, and by October 1996, I was in South Korea, teaching English. I had cut the cord of sleeping while awake.
Yet, I still wondered what the next steps were. Yes, ok, so I’d taken the leap, but now what were the next how steps in creating a lifestyle driven by passion and a balance of work, life, adventure, risk, money to spend? The balance of the gypsy life with a bank account and a happy family, I was so hungry for.
Funnily enough, it was just that, one step, one step after another, to figure out how. One step at a time.
Today, 16 years later , I feel I am finally getting the hang of it. It has taken a lot of trial and error, many risks, more faith and certainly much kindness from others, but indeed, I have a gypsy heart centered life, a bank account with money in it, a new relationship with someone who doesn’t live in my city (yet we are very, very, very much together) and Jamaica travel information most bookmarked.
Indeed, anything is possible.
And it all began with a look in the mirror, a pause for reflection, and one step towards the Gods, who will always take one thousand steps back towards you.
See you on the way.
Kele Redmond is a woman who can do anything a man can do, almost, though she no longer is concerned with such things, is a communications, promotions and events strategist with a heart centered entrepreneurial business model, who teaches her founded/branded Breath of Fire Yoga, guides people in their healing with a whole host of gypsy magic, and riots for love, creative expression and red tenting with women and men. Her communications company is called Heart Centered Productions and her yoga and healing arts services belong to Urban Temple. She co-founded and co-riots with Catherine Ann, in Riotous Bellas and is in a relationship with John MacMillan who lives in Pictou, NS, providing for her a second home to add to her own Nest in Charlottetown, PEI, 2!!! century homes, many family members, friends and her faithful guru, Yogi, her cat.
Editor: Sara McKeown