Finding the Passion Again

DoubleTree Pool Fun

Almost six years ago, Bucket List Publications started as a pure labor of love. I combined all of my greatest passions into one and the blog was born. The more it grew, the less it was my “baby” and the more it became a source of income and a job. I would have never imagined I could make a living doing it but it has really come a long way. I’ve experienced some of the greatest adventures available around the world because of Bucket List Publications and most of my travels and experiences were offered in exchange for coverage on the site. That might not have been a good thing though. I stopped posting daily because I couldn’t keep up and I put less of my personal life and more generic travels. I also didn’t have the time to reply to all of the comments coming in and some ladies who had become really great friends drifted off. I was reminded of that today and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I’d like to get back to what I love and enjoy the community that I created here. With that comes a lot of backtracking on what has been happening in my life. So here’s a quick update.Β 

Waterfall at Rock City, ChattanoogaMost of you know that Athena’s dad and I separated awhile back. I still live in California so he can be close to her and we’ve come to know it as home. Financially, he has been a huge help and I’m grateful for his presence in Athena’s life. He is a good person, but we were horrible together for years and a split was inevitable. I actually think he would agree that we probably never should have married based on compatibility. Thankfully we were too stupid to see it in the beginning or I wouldn’t have the amazing life I have or the most beautiful child.

I felt like I had completely lost my mind during the transition. I was grasping to understand and find my footing and I couldn’t keep my head above water. I considered moving back to Canada because I couldn’t see any other option. I packed what I could fit in the van and drove across the country to uncertainty. (Yeah, there was a lot of crying on that five day drive.) My family is spread all over the place so I didn’t know if I should drive north or east or just sell everything and move to another continent.
My family in Nova Scotia

I chose east to my grandparents. Although I have a wonderful, supportive mother, my grandparents have always been my “home”. Grandpy has been the best guide in life. I needed him. I needed his words and his love. I needed to know that regardless of all the mistakes I had made or how lost I was, I was loved.

Arriving was another dagger to the heart. I knew Grandpy’s dementia was bad but I was delusional in thinking he would still be capable of helping me. Most days I wasn’t sure if he knew who I was so talking on a deep level was impossible.

I had to do it on my own. Because of my mistakes, I’m aware that I didn’t make all of them on my own, Athena was now away from her father and she had a confused mother who spent as much time crying as smiling. After talking to Athena’s father, I decided to return to California.
Sunset at Newport Beach California

Athena and I got an apartment in Orange County and she spends every other weekend with her dad who lives in the same town. She seems to be transitioning well, which was my biggest concern. Her dad and I never really spent a lot of time together to begin with and Athena and I often traveled on our own so it’s really not that different for her.

I started dating again and met someone who is thoughtful, loving, creative, handsome, and makes me laugh so much that my face hurts. Sometimes it’s all so overwhelming that I can’t breathe and I panic while other times it feels so natural that I can’t imagine it any other way. I don’t know if his sticking around is encouraging or a testament to how crazy he must be to put up with me. I can’t predict how it will turn out but I know that being with him makes me want to be a better person. Being with him brings a happiness back into my life that I thought was gone for good. Being with him gives me hope. I know that certain people bring out certain qualities in people. He brings out the good in everyone around him. His light is contagious.

Well, that’s a start. I’m going to try to write daily again and respond to all comments no matter how long it takes. Thanks for the reminder Dawn. I needed a push in the right direction. I want to get back all the things I love in my life and this is the right direction.

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57 thoughts on “Finding the Passion Again

  1. Welcome back to the world of blogging. You are admired not just for your travel adventures, but also for your understanding of what it takes to be a single parent in a world that can sometimes be confusing. You are sorting things out well, and many people are cheering you on. Write when you can without pressure from readers. We’ll be there when you post. And be thinking of you when you don’t. Best wishes for continued day-to-day happiness and fulfillment, no matter where you are and what you do.

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        • Growing up, my mother made some wrong family choices and I never spent a lot of time with her. Now, though, I see why she made the choices she did and I love her unconditionally. She has become my best friend and the one I turn to in times of joy and sadness. We can’t always make the right choices and who knows what’s best regardless. I hope that your days have happiness, health, and love. The rest is not permanently written. πŸ™‚

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  2. You have a new perspective and can now enjoy all the things you’ve been missing in your personal life. Don’t worry about posting every day. We are still here. It’s been a privilege to go on your virtual travels and watching Athena grow. I look forward to your future!

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  3. Thank you so much for your honesty. I knew something wasn’t the same as it used to be and I’ve been concerned. I’ve been praying for you. I’m so sorry for your pain and for your divorce. I’ll look forward to your blogs again. We’re planning to go on a trip to Ireland within a year. I just thought you might like to know that! You’ve always made me feel like a friend, ever since our first meeting (by internet)!

    Your friend,

    Anita

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    • Hi Anita! I missed chatting with you so much. You’ve become a part of my day. I think I was so ashamed of how badly things were turning that I disconnected from many of the people that are close to me. I even distanced myself from my mother and mys sister because I was so broken and I hated them seeing me that way. It’s a slippery slope because they were the people I needed most. Thankfully, they are still here and I’m not alone. I’d like to share the journey as I figure it out.

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  4. Yippee, you’re back! The real you is back; I had missed the “you” in your post for a long time and I’ll admit that I stopped reading many of them because, too often they read like a travel advertisement when what I wanted was more of the behind-the-scenes specifics and emotions and struggles and joys. Thanks for your honesty. I’m glad things are working out for you again. Cheers and big hugs.

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    • I felt so much frustration and anger that I couldn’t be me without being me. Do you know what I mean? It was like I shut off. Thankfully, I see more and more of my former joyful self daily. I don’t expect to be happy all the time or to have it figured out over night but it’s still there.

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    • I miss you, Faith. I love you and Albert dearly. If I could create the perfect community with all of my favorite people, you would be there. Thank you for always making me feel better and for being a part of my life even from the other side of the continent.

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  5. Hey, I have no business with my tiny little blog giving you advice, you have done this longer and more and bigger than I will ever be. But for me, I started daily as well and lasted a couple of years. But now my rule is this: When a post needs to be written, I will feel it and will write it, if it feels forced, I put away the computer.

    Keeps it fun and fresh for me πŸ™‚ I DO agree with answering all comments though!

    Plus Athena has an incredibly strong mom who deserves to be happy, let yourself be so!

    And welcome back, I missed you!

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  6. Welcome back Lesley. I remember being in awe when you would respond to my comments or take the time to read my posts. I thought how can a woman who has so many followers find the time to write to me. I agree with Tony. Don’t feel you have to write every day. A few times a week is probably sufficient. I’m happy for your new relationship. I hope all goes well. You deserve to be happy. Carol

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    • I almost stopped writing or responding completely… even to family. I was so lost. I just wanted to keep traveling and blocking it all out. What a waste considering I had/have everything I ever wanted in life. It was like I was in a coma and missing the joy. Writing, responding, and connecting again will bring me back to life. It truly made me feel alive. It was never a hassle. I look forward to feeling that again and reading more of your blog as well as the blogs of many others.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and for sticking around. πŸ™‚

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  7. I too have missed you and so glad that you are back. Although we have never met I feel like you are a dear friend. Glad to hear that things are moving along and transitioning well . I agree that you don’t have to write daily and know that you write from the heart.

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    • I feel the same about you. You’ve been around almost as long as my marriage lol.

      I felt like I couldn’t write from the heart for the last year because it was so full of negativity. It’s crazy how it can go unnoticed for so long. Anyway, every day is a new one and a chance to make changes and learn. I’m going to try to see all the good more often. I think writing will help with that.

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  8. hi, I’m glad you are back. Sorry to hear you and your husband have split up. I think compatibility is a good basis for a relationship, because when everything else is gone you can still talk.
    I would have loved it if you could have stayed and been with your Grandfather and Grandmother. Since they did so much for you. It doesn’t matter if he didn’t know you a lot of the time. I know a counselor who works with people with dementia and their Families and she says sometimes they know, but can’t express it. You went hoping for his support. But maybe it was time you gave them some. What a wonderful learning experience that would have been for Athena. Maybe if you have dementia one day she would also stay around.

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    • I would love to stay in Cape Breton with my grandparents for the rest of their lives or the rest of mine. Unfortunately, the reality there is much bleaker than it was when I grew up. Finding a job is extremely difficult and supporting Athena needs to come first. It would never have been a long-term solution.

      While I was there, I did see glimpses of my grandfather through the fog. I know he’s still there and just being around him gave me strength. We’ve been through so much together in life and he will always be my guiding light.

      I don’t know what will come next but I know I continue to do my best every day. I’m grateful I made the decision to return to California and I look forward to what’s to come.

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  9. Dear Lesley, Thank you for sharing the profound transitions in your life with us, with all the sadness and confusion. C’est la vie…sometimes. I also missed getting word on your travels and adventures with Athena. I wondered if something was up. Indeed.
    With strength, courage, love and boundless curiosity, you’ve already stepped onto a new path leading you, inevitably, to more wonder and joy. It’s there, your hope, so beautifully peppered among your words. Wishing you an abundance of all that you dream for yourself and your daughter. Hugs from here, and welcome back! Amit

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Welcome back! Your honesty and depth of understanding (even when you don’t think you do) are an inspiration to me and I’m sure to others. And what you are showing/teaching your daughter — strength, vulnerability and a LOT of love!! Bravo Lesley!!!

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    • I thought I’d check in one last time tonight before going to bed and I read your comment. Now, I’m crying again but they are tears of joy. Thank you for helping me end my day on a positive note. I’m truly grateful for your kind words.

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  11. Welcome back sweetie! I am so glad to see that you are happy again! So sorry for the pain of your divorce!!! I love hearing about your travels with Athena! She is so adorable! Sending you hugz! Lisa and Bear

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  12. If I’m honest, like cinthiaritchie, I had stopped reading your blog because the style and vibe that I liked when I first discovered it a few years ago had faded and been hidden behind impersonal adverts for products and places. I’m looking forward to seeing your passion reignite and wish you all the best in this new chapter and adventure that you are embarking on.

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    • It was hard to be personal and share what I was really feeling when it was so filled with doubt and frustration. I hope that I never let any aspect of my life get that way again. Like everyone, I’m trying to figure it out πŸ™‚

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  13. Life is too short, what we remember of it, Lesley, to be filled with anything other than Unconditional Love and Joy. While we stumble through it trying to remember to connect to that energy, it’s good to have a supportive and loving community. You created that with the blog. We all go through stuff. And we are never alone.

    I admire our strength in self-revelation and awareness.

    Be happy! πŸ˜‰ xoM

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  14. I, too, stopped reading awhile back because it was getting too impersonal and the I read blogs for a connection. Those other kinds of blogs definitely have a purpose, but my preference is to learn the person, not necessarily the data in the post. Anyhoo….. When I saw the title of your blog in my email, I got a little excited “Maybe she’s back? The real Lesley?” And here you are. Hi! I raised my little kiddo alone (now Sophomore in college), and I know how tough it can be, and also how successful you can be. So keep your head up and trust that you are an amazing woman and a wonderful parent, and make yourself a priority above this new guy, so that he will learn how to fit into your life and not vice versa. You are a rock star.

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  15. It’s a beautiful world out there, and all your adventures are worth the effort for the joy and growth in you and your daughter. We love your narratives of your travels and the fun. It doesn’t matter if you post daily; it’s the connections you make in your writing. The depth of feeling you generate is the reason why you do all this, and why folks participate with you. We love and appreciate you and Athena!

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  16. Glad to have you back on your blogging journey . Your blog was one of the first I read and inspired me to start my own and make my dream a reality! Looking forward to your new adventures! Happy looks good on you!

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  17. Welcome back to blogging, Lesley! As a long-time follower of your blog (at least four years, I think), I’m glad to hear that things are hopefully looking up for you now.

    I agree with one of the other people who commented: blogs where I feel a connection draw me in and I’m not as interested in generic posts/posts with too much polish. Keeping it real works for me.

    Looking forward to reading your posts and hearing about your amazing adventures. You should be proud of yourself. πŸ™‚ And wow — Athena is growing up fast!

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  18. Life happens. Sometimes it happens the way we want. Sometimes it happens the way we don’t want. But in the end, we usually find that it has all worked out okay and sometimes better than okay. You are very strong and I know you’ll get through the pain and find happiness and love again. I’m really glad you’re back. We’ve missed you.

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  19. Life is a journey and you and Athena are making your path! We all loved meeting you and being a part of your journey in Southern Illinois! As for the new man in your life we think he is pretty special and he makes us smile even when we hear his name. Take care of each other and good things will come your way.

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  20. I’m so happy that you are finding your way back. I’ve always enjoyed reading about you, so if you decide to share the difficult times as well as the good times, I know that all of your readers will support you. Just because we have never met doesn’t mean we don’t care. Welcome back to California and hugs for you and your daughter.
    Judy

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  21. Pingback: 5 Ways to Start Writing Instead of Sitting Around Twiddling Your Thumbs | Gut Instinct

  22. Lesley, some friend… just seeing this! We were traveling (Croatia and Rome) and I’m working out my own writing crisis, so missed a lot! This post renews my faith, in so many things. Way to go! You know my guest room is always free, if you ever decide you want to make this friendship official. Until then, I’m wishing you well, and hoping there are many more adventures ahead for you. THIS is why I started reading your work, and I appreciate you sharing. xox

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