Sometimes the Most Remarkable Things Happen When You Take a Wrong Turn

grief life lessons life purpose life transition resilience Mar 03, 2022
Sometimes the Most Remarkable Things Happen When You Take a Wrong Turn

You’re not always prepared for the unexpected, but how you handle it is essential to living a fulfilled life

Sometimes the most remarkable things happen when you take a wrong turn.

The photo captures one of them.

My husband and I were hopelessly lost while traveling in France. We had a rental car with an undependable GPS. It didn’t account for the streets built in ancient times. More than once we got caught going uphill to a dead end and having to back down windy cobblestone streets. More than once, our side mirrors just barely tapped the crumbling plaster of these beautiful old walls.

My husband is a hero. He never lost it. I, on the other hand, was a mess, terrified of being lost.

We gave up and parked our car on the outskirts of this tiny town and wandered not really knowing where we were, or what we wanted to see. It was just the experience of being there.

At this particular moment in the photo, my husband called my name. I turned around and stopped.

That’s when he took the photo, and that’s when I had my great revelation.

The experience was random, but now… I’m not so sure
One of the reasons I love to travel is because I don’t always know what to expect. It’s not part of my everyday life, and it challenges me to be more creative with choices… I don’t always have to know everything before it happens.

None of us really know whether our lives are part of a master plan, but I’m pretty certain there’s a continuum we’re on that makes sense of random things that happen.

The wisdom of it all becomes evident as we look back on our life stories, and see how it is one big roadmap of continuity.

Think for a moment about the concept of accepting random things that happen … what if they’re actually planned?

Crazy, right? Consider those unexpected events, decisions you had to make on the fly, and chance circumstances that forced you to completely change direction.

I was the girl who always had to know where I was headed. I drove my life with the surety of a GPS, guiding it with an itinerary of intentions, goals, and never leaving much room for the unexpected.

Long before I met my husband, I’d had the dream of going to France; I’d had it on my vision board for years.

And the photo shows exactly that… there I was in a dream come true, bathed in colors… all my favorite tones… cool blue shutters hung on plastered walls washed with coral, golden yellow stucco lining the street, and a slice of beautiful blue sky peeking through the ancient buildings…

It had taken me a long time to get to this place, to trust I was in the right place at the right time. I always had to have certainty and a destination.

I wanted to control everything because there was a time when I felt out of control.

No one is immune to difficult life challenges
Like most people, I’ve had my share of trauma, especially when the greatest tragedy of my life hit so unexpectedly. It was unimaginable, really.

I’d lost my son at just 16 and my marriage couldn’t survive.

In the throes of chaos, I had to resurrect a new life. There were twists and turns…recognizing I would no longer be my husband’s partner in life or business.

We had created quite a career in the entertainment business. He was a writer and producer for television and film. I was his creative partner, ran our development company, and edited every script he ever wrote before it went to film.

With that devastating divorce, I was out of a job
It was quite a pivot… one-day changing careers, home, and identity.

I was no longer a producer’s wife and business partner, I was at a crossroads and afraid of the next turn. Would it be the right one?

Funny, how things happen. I began decorating homes, and then I had to sell mine. My real estate agent recommended I decorate AND sell homes.

That idea gave birth to a new career.

The universe had my back…
My new career was already in motion when another great tragedy happened. My husband suddenly died at the age of 54.

I was left with sorrow that few could explain. People would often say, “But you were divorced! Why did it hit you so hard?”

How could I fully explain the depth of my love for him when he left our marriage after the greatest tragedy of our lives? We had 27 years together, and even after, we never stopped communicating. We had such a history… only he and I knew every story about our children’s lives, the creation of our family, and the evolution of our career in the entertainment business.

His death took away parts of my history. I could always count on him to remember a story as small as our son’s first word, not Mama, not Dada, but “kitty.” Together we marveled at his tiny toes, his wispy hair, and his first laugh.

We had sixteen years of our beautiful son, and now, I’m the only one who holds those intimate details, and I’m terrified I’ll forget.

It was heartbreaking for my kids, but when it happened, I knew the decisions I made to move my kids out of LA were at exactly the right time.

I didn’t know, then, that David would die and I’d be the sole support of my children.

I’d established my career and the kids had settled into a great life in their new hometown. They had friends, a life, and a support system when their father died.

Here’s the mystery
I couldn’t have predicted any of it, but somehow I had taken the steps necessary to establish a new life for reasons that hadn’t yet happened.

Such twists and turns, all pieces of a puzzle that appeared random, all requiring life changes, traveling new roads, accepting the unknown, and going with it.

When I see how things unfolded, I knew there had been a master plan all along, and I was always able to tap into being resilient because resilience is a force of nature.

Now back to my great revelation while lost in this tiny little town in the South of France.

It was an experience we wouldn’t have had without taking a wrong turn.

As I promised you… The Great Revelation
I was suddenly aware I had created this moment from dreams of long ago. I had years of thoughts about traveling with my true love after my children were on their own. At the time I created these dreams, I didn’t know I’d be faced with surviving the loss of a child and be able to rebuild my life after a devastating divorce and provide a beautiful life for my children beyond marriage.

I didn’t know I would have more than one true love in a lifetime, and that this partner would be able to fulfill the next act of my life. Together, we’re bringing dreams to fruition. My dreams and his.

And here’s where I want to spark the magic of your imagination
Capture your most creative thoughts and escort them into the realm of reality.

Gather those little whispers that yearn to be heard by listening to the stillness.

“Stillness” is the quiet space between your daily thoughts and mind chatter. It’s where the big magic happens.

It happens in prayer, meditation, or a walk in nature. It can even happen in heavy traffic on the 405 Freeway in LA!

Yep… It’s happened right in my car, stuck at a crawl with millions of other cars.

Learn to capture your thoughts, and see where they lead
It is absolutely possible to make dreams come true, but they don’t always manifest as you might imagine them. All you have to do is take the very next step.

If your heart’s desire is to write a book or a blog, start with the first sentence.

If you dream of opening a bakery, start with the menu of baked goods.

If your heart's desire is to dance, sign up for lessons.

All it takes is one step to put your dreams in motion
Consider your life and look at randomness with awe. Those steps you took were all part of a master plan.

Accepting wrong turns, odd choices, and unexpected events will force you to look at things in a new way.

You’re not the same person you were 20 years ago. You are smarter, more aware, and have a history that supports your ability to survive.

That ability to survive provides a foundation for your next chapter. If your heart was broken, your life seems to have been a mess, and you feel like things never go your way, remember you have triumphs, too.

There’s a secret something inside of you
There is something inside of you that won’t let your spirit die… what is it? Why are you so strong?

Because you’ve proven you’re here today, in the present, with a whole new awareness for life. You’ve got resilience, my love.

Be open to wrong turns, challenges, and learning ways to navigate the unexpected. It might just be the turning point for something wild and new!

Your story is in your hands. Be brave and know you’ll survive. Don’t wait for dreams to happen to you… create them!

Then, tell the world about it. That’s your beautiful legacy shining through. Enjoy every moment in living color.

Let’s continue! I’d love to share a little writing inspiration with this: 7 Mindset Strategies for the Writer. I will also send you occasional emails to inspire you with more stories and encourage you on your creative journey!

*** This article was originally posted on Medium/Curious***