This month, I am completely honoured to introduce you to one of the most amazing people I know. I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about my own personal quarterlife quest, which has involved a lot of job-changing, career-seeking and soul-searching. But a quarterlife quest can manifest itself in many ways, so without any further ado – meet Robyn.
When I met Robyn in 2002, she was engaged. She and the fiancé had been dating since 1996; they got married in 2003. Robyn seemed to really love the role of “wife,” and she honestly had the life everyone dreamed of – the husband who was also her best friend, the fancy condo, fancy car, fancy shopping trips. It seemed like everything was going her way. But in the fall of 2006, her husband asked for a divorce.
Robyn’s whole world changed overnight. Gone was the comfortable lifestyle complete with husband, home, a joint account, financial security etc. etc. etc. On New Year’s Eve 2006, she ended up in the hospital with severe depression. Then in early 2007, her best friend’s husband was killed in a mistaken-identity, drive-by shooting. Robyn thought she had hit rock bottom, but then her dog Jake got cancer and she had to make the decision to put him down. But the lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.
The Robyn I knew in 2007 is drastically different than the Robyn I know now. Now, she has a new job that she loves, a condo and a car that she bought on her own, and she is doing something truly amazing this summer. In August 2010, she is going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania Africa, to raise $10,000 for the hospice society that helped her and her best friend get through the tragic death of her best friend’s husband. In Robyn’s own words, “I want to see more of the world, and I want the world to see more of me.”
Here’s what she had to say about her quarterlife quest:
When did you know you were having a quarterlife crisis? How did you hit rock bottom?
I hit rock bottom when I was with Jake, holding him as he died. The vet left me with him, and I lay down on his belly and sobbed. I went back to the car and sat there thinking about the last year of my life. The poor decisions I had made in regards to men (ugh), the debt I had incurred trying to run away from myself, the massive changes in my life… I was numb for the next few days. I think it was more a case of Rock Bottom hitting ME.
When was your turning point? What inspired you to turn your crisis into a quest?
I was sitting in my newly-purchased and much-hated condo a few days after Jake’s death, thinking about how horrible my life was, when I had a brief moment of clarity. Earlier in the year, when a friend of mine had learned that my marriage had disolved, he said the most incredible thing. Now, it wasn’t all that incredible at the time, but it certainly was at that very moment when I needed it. He said, “Sometimes the seemingly most traumatic events often are the inspiration for doing the things we love to remember”.
And everything just made sense.
My life had been so material, and so complicated, and I didn’t even know it. I “de-junked” my home, I signed up for yoga, and I bought running shoes and a treadmill. I put up my world map and bought some push pins. I decorated my home with art pieces that friends did. I found that my home was now mine, and I loved it. I stopped worrying about money. I stopped worrying about what my life used to be, what things I used to have, and what person I once was. I volunteered for the Delta Hospice Society and proudly sit now as a member of their Vigil Team. Life became simple. I became happy.
Where do you think your quest will take you?
Throughout my life I have journeyed much within myself, and I was always too afraid (no time, no money, no confidence…) to venture OUT. I know that my quest now is to venture up, and venture out. I dubbed 2010 “The Year of Adventure”, and it surely is.
What has been the biggest surprise in your quarterlife quest?
How calm I am. How “ok” I am with whatever comes my way. I never thought I’d be like that. I look back at who I was, and how fragile I was, and I can’t believe it was me. I’m not ashamed of it, I’m educated by it.
What resources have you used along the way?
Inspiration. From my mom, my friends, my surroundings. Everything I have ever wanted is there, right there… I just have to make the choice to reach out and take hold. The resources that I use most are the inspirational moments I experience with those that I love.
Where do you see yourself in a year? 5 years?
If there is one thing that divorce taught me, it’s that you never know where you’ll be in 5 years, in one year, the moment after you pick up the phone. Everything changes. What I’d like to be today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my todays and tomorrows is this: at peace, full of laughter, accumulating memories, and happily swimming in reciprocated love. Maybe I’ll be in Argentina. Maybe I’ll be walking the red carpet at Cannes. But I’ll definitely know that I have the abilities to create the happiness and the peace that I deserve in my life.
If you had any advice to give to fellow quarterlife questers, what would it be?
Listen to your friends. They’ve always been telling you what it is that you need to discover about yourself.
To find out more about Robyn’s Climb for Hospice, visit her blog at climbforhospice.com. Donations to the Delta Hospice Society are welcomed. All proceeds raised go towards the hospice – Robyn is paying for the trip out of her own pocket :)