Lessons learned along the Yellow Brick Road

You usually never know life’s unforgettable moments are, in fact, unforgettable, until the moment has passed. The night you simply went with your friends to the same place you’d been going for years to grab dinner; except this time, you met someone that would literally change the course of your life. The day you told the boy you had been in love with for four years that you had been in love with him for four years – words that had been left unspoken for so long you thought you’d never let your heart give them a voice. The weekend you took a carpe diem road trip to spend a few days with that same boy and stumbled across a group of people that would quickly become “your people.” The split second you turned right instead of left and encountered your fate on a road you had passed by a million times before. And the summer you lived with no regrets because you danced every dance, stop and smelled every rose, and lived life to the last drop, without fear or doubt or hesitation; knowing that those few, precious moments would never again be repeated…knowing, somehow, that these are the very moments you will someday look back on and realize that it was then that your life changed. It is often these very moments that define us; that act as catalysts for great movement or change; that are the conduits for ushering in the next era of our lives. Though we don’t realize it at the time, these moments will one day become hallmarks in which we measure other great moments against. And though we wish we could hit the pause button and soak in the magic of our sweet spot forever, soon enough and often without us even realizing it, time turns the page and a new chapter begins.

A little over two years after I moved in with him the first time, this weekend I will be moving back in with my best friend and former roommate, Jason. Two years ago, I left Nashville and my life there and moved back to my hometown, about 45 minutes away, to be closer to my now ex-boyfriend. This weekend, I return to the city and my life there and even my old bedroom, almost as though the past two years were a mere wrinkle in time. In the midst of this transition, I can’t help but marvel at how life truly does come full circle and that the places we leave in search of love or adventure or new beginnings might actually have been where we belonged all along. Who says you can’t go home? And though I left the city as a blonde and am returning a brunette, the changes in me are not simply skin deep. In my search to find love, I found myself. Like Dorothy, I had to leave home to find my independence and strength, and am returning home with some of the best friends of my life; the knowledge that I can, in fact, take care of myself; and some really kickass ruby stilettos.

Summer 2010 will undoubtedly go down in history as the summer of transition. Stretching, pulling, testing, challenging; doubts, fears, laughter, tears; tearing apart and putting back together and dancing in the sun no matter what the weather – and though the ride has sometimes been bumpy and sometimes been scary, the memories I have made on the Yellow Brick Road to my destiny have been priceless. It is often only in trusting the unknowns and letting go of our need to know the ending that we truly step into the light of our new beginning. After all, we can’t have a new beginning without first having an ending. And even if, like me, your Yellow Brick Road takes you right back where you started from, remember this: the struggles and the heartbreak and the lessons along the way have made you who you are today.

At the end of the day, life truly is stranger than fiction. It’s messy. It’s breathtaking. It’s unscripted. It’s unexpected. There are no rules…no set guidelines…no blueprint of how it’s all supposed to go down. And even if there were – who would read it? Wouldn’t that take all the magic out of life?

This much is certain: “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.” And wouldn’t you much rather surrender your life to the hands of God and fate (and the occasional tornado!) and have wonderful, Oz-like adventures with fabulous new friends and a life in color, all the while risking the occasional encounter with moody talking trees and some grumpy flying monkeys…than spend a lifetime in black and white?

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