Sunday I ventured into the world to get some sunshine and blue skies on a beautiful 70-degree day. One of my favorite little beach towns is Ottawa Beach, home of Holland State Park and the Big Red Lighthouse. A boardwalk meanders beside Lake Macatawa and follows it’s outlet into Lake Michigan. I like to sit and watch the boat parade that forms in the narrow inlet. Ashok loves the attention of the beachgoers and taking a short dip on a little beach. But Sunday I wanted to take a longer walk. It was so nice out, and after the lockdown and the winter I really needed some sunshine. There is a cutoff bike trail close to the park that leads to the Ottawa Beach Historic District.
I’ve lived here four years this summer. This time four years ago I was treading water after my organization’s budget was cut, and I lost my job. Thankfully it ended with my finding a better role within the larger organization, but at this time that year I did not know how it would end. While my manager searched frantically for a budget line to fund my position, I was looking for jobs and spending a little time off visiting friends and hanging in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. My manager called while I was shopping in downtown Bay St. Louis to inform me that I had a soft spot to land. Later that day I was asked to send my resume to Whirlpool. A new path opened for me, and I took it.
We never know what paths lie before us. Will they be lovely? Or will they be difficult? We only know there are options. We have decisions to make with little information on what might happen in the future. I made a decision last week to take a retirement package from Whirlpool. I am lucky to have been offered it. It will provide a soft spot to land while I explore paths to the future. This in-between place is always difficult AND exciting. I can choose a similar path which ensures more of the same, or I can choose a path yet unexplored that might provide something different. Neither is right or wrong. They are just different choices.
I took the path near the Ottawa Beach Historic District sign. My next choice was to take the shadier upper boardwalk instead of the sunnier beach route. There is no car access, so the boardwalk is the main thruway through quaint beach homes decorated with colorful yard decorations and flowering gardens. It was shady, peaceful and pleasant. Ashok and I walked the entire circle and ended up by the beach, choosing the beach walk on the way back. It was sunny, bright and active with beachgoers. Both were interesting, but I found the upper boardwalk was exactly what I needed.
It’s interesting to sit here with my choices. It’s, of course, much more interesting since I don’t have to race out and find another job. I am grateful to be in this space. I want to take the time to evaluate the choices before me. Do I want more of the same? Do I want a different path? There are advantages and disadvantages to both. I don’t have an answer now, and I’m not going to make a quick decision. I want to percolate a bit.