Tonight I want to express gratitude to a man who made me laugh. To a man who danced with me to Woo Hoo (from the soundtrack of Kill Bill) and played along and allowed me to be freely silly around him. To the man who fell in love with my cooking. I say thank you for the love of salsa dancing that got us together, through common friends. I thank him for not rocking with me (to ease my back pain) as we hug standing at the beach in Cuba under the moonlight, and as I weeped silently right under his nose feeling invisible. I’m grateful for how he’s stopped the dance and the music after we got married. I thank him for not supporting me with my dreams and passions once I discovered them. And I can’t thank him enough for making it tough for me and so difficult that the pain of staying was incredibly worse than the pain of walking out…until that point, where I did walk out. And it was the hardest darn thing I have ever done. I am stronger for it now. How can I not express gratitude to him?!

It was a day in June last year that I got a text message from the local traffic authority saying that I’ve committed a traffic offence. The funny part is that I woke up that morning and realizing the date, was thinking about an offence I have actually committed that day. Oh how insignificant the traffic offence is in comparison. For the one I was thinking of was an offence against myself. In June, 7 years ago, I got married.

The fine was hefty, I paid it with years of my life. Years that I can never have back or undo or reverse. The beautiful part though, is that I wouldn’t want to undo any of it. It happened for a reason. It happened so I would learn a lesson from that short lived marriage, many lessons actually. It happened so I can grow. So I owe gratitude to him and to the marriage.

People often ask me the typical question, ‘do you regret it?’ and my answer is always the same. No. How else would I have gotten on the path I’m on now, if I did not get into that relationship with its rocky path that was all designed to lead me to my current path?

Nothing is to be labelled a failure unless no lesson was learnt. If you don’t learn from your past experiences, how can you move forward? How can you improve? How can you know to take a different path the second time around?

My coach at the time, sensing my hesitation told me something I’ll never forget, because I knew in my heart that she was right, but I didn’t act on it. She said that I’ll never regret taking my time to decide and really make sure before I jump in. She said people regret rushing into marriage more than they’d regret taking it slow. That was the offence I committed. That I wasn’t true to myself and that I didn’t really listen to my heart and honor my gut feeling. The lesson learnt: To trust my heart and Be Me!

So this June, I’m going out to the same restaurant where we went 7 years ago to celebrate getting married. This time I’m going to celebrate how far I’ve come on this journey called Life. To celebrate Being Me! What a difference 7 years can make!

It’s a great life. I am ever so grateful.

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