I Want to Meet My Soulmate, Quit My Nine-to-Five, and Move to the Beach! My Storyby Paige Friend
Hey Beach Lover,
Have you ever felt stuck in a holding pattern in how you’re living your life? You knew something different needed to happen; you just didn't know how to make it happen.
Like you’re the pilot of a plane circling around and around above the airport waiting to land because air traffic control told you to “standby for further instructions” - I mean, you can’t stay up there forever - pretty soon, you’re going to have to land.
That was me.
I was also in a dating relationship- for about nine years at this time. We didn’t live together, but we were together all the time. And we were kind of in a holding pattern. Circling.
He was a nice guy. I liked him, and I might have even loved him. I enjoyed his company - it was easy and comfortable. We spent a lot of time doing the same things. It was ok until it wasn’t. I knew we didn’t want the same things out of life. I wanted different. I wanted a soulmate.
I had been living in Orlando, FL, in the later stages of a 20-year career in corporate aviation - working as a customer service professional. I loved my job - and I was really good at it. I had my pilot’s license, and even though I hadn’t flown in years, I had a lot of fun talking “all things planes” with the pilots - while at the same time answering the phone, greeting folks in the lobby, talking to a crewmember on the air to ground radio, confirming a fuel order from the ramp tech. while making coffee for an outgoing flight and renting a car to a passenger. A little stressful at times, but that’s aviation. And I was used to the routine.
I always said that I wanted a job where I could wake up and say, yay, I get to go to work today - and for the most part, I did, until it became, “Ugh, I HAVE to go to work today.
Like that dating relationship, I knew I didn't want to be there anymore.
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to live at the beach. I had been living in Orlando for about 14 years. Now, some of you might be thinking - isn't Orlando the vacation capital of the world? And Florida - it’s pretty much the beach, right? Well, even though Orlando is a great place for a vacation - it’s in central Florida - pretty much land-locked. Cocoa Beach was about a 45-minute drive from my house, so I could get there. But it just wasn’t enough to live near the beach. I wanted to live AT the beach.
I’m a Pisces - a water sign- so I’m naturally drawn to water, and I love sunrises. and whenever I had the opportunity to deviate from the holding pattern - - I would get up early in the morning, drive out to Cocoa, sit in the sand, meditate, and watch the glorious sun rise above the ocean horizon, and then get in the car, drive back and get on with my day. And for this self-diagnosed beach junkie, jones-ing for her next “fix,” this was a fairly easy way to get it.
I discovered, About a mile down the road from my townhouse, there was a pond with a few lone palm trees, a walking path, and a couple of benches, so I would go there to sit and meditate and watch the sunrise sparkling over the water - It wasn’t the beach, but it was a pretty good substitute - and I could get there in 3 minutes instead of 45!
And it was during this time that my parents moved from my hometown in the mountains of Pennsylvania to assisted living near Clearwater Beach - one of THE most popular and beautiful beaches on the Florida gulf coast; it had been years since I spent any quality time with them, and because their health was rapidly declining, I would make the 2 ½ hour drive each way every chance I could - just to spend a few hours with them.
I was grateful for the time- although seeing my parents in such a frail state of mind and body really took a toll on me emotionally.
During one of those visits, I discovered a small squirt stretch of beach about a 10 min drive from where they lived that had accessible parking and a couple of benches where we could just sit and enjoy the sun and surf. But the whole process of getting my parents out of their apartment and in and out of the car became so arduous - for all of us - we didn’t go very often. Soon, we only drove back and forth to the hospital. And not too long after that - they were gone.
And that little stretch of beach on the Gulf coast had become “my beach” where I could find peace and serenity - I had to physically be there to feel that - the sun, the sand, the smell - I just craved it.
And I was tired of talking about it - someday living at the beach - I just didn't want to be that person who always said, “someday I will do this, someday I’ll do that” - and then wait until it was too late.
Then one morning I woke up and I thought, you know what?
No, this is not the life I want.
So what did I do? I declared out loud. I want to meet my soulmate, quit my nine-to-five, and move to the beach.
Now it wasn't like I had a fairy godmother that tapped me on the head and said your wishes had been granted. But I did have a mindfulness coach. Ramona.
I first met Ramona at the drunken monkey - a coffee bar. I had signed up for her mindfulness coaching program called Authentic Life Journey, and this was our first official “session”, All I could say was: “I'm a hot mess. There are all these things I want to do, and I feel like I need to do it all NOW. I need someone to help me. Tell me what to do. Help me figure it out.
And being the perfect mindfulness coach that she is, she listened to what I had to say and wasn't going to tell me what to do. You see, until this point, I relied heavily on other people to make my own decisions.
Instead, when she heard how I wanted to meet my soulmate, quit my 9-5 and move to the beach and do it all - at once - she helped me slow down and think, okay, is this really what you want to do, how do you want to do this? because to do it all at once could be potentially a disaster. And each time we met, she would listen to me, observe and reflect on what I had just said - because the answers were there, I just had to hear them, coming from my heart. And it was this new mindset I began to make the shift - out of the holding pattern - and onto a new course.
Slowly, - with her guidance - things were starting to come into focus; I no longer needed to do it all at once - I started looking at it all from a mindful perspective and from a way of seeking inside myself to find the answer. And yes, I had support, but it was coming from me.
And here’s where it really gets interesting, that part where I said want to meet my soulmate?
Well, I joined a website, Meet Mindful - I guess it was a dating site, but I really hadn't any intention of dating somebody. I was thinking about where I wanted to live at the beach, I didn't really know where and I thought, well, I like to meet some people who live there - you know, meet a FRIEND. So on this site, meet mindful, I thought there might be my type of person there. And I was so intrigued by the questions you had to answer for your bio that I actually printed them out and journaled on them - as a way of self-exploration. I posted my bio casting a wide net (basically Florida coast to coast) and then forgot about it. It was the 30-day free trial. And on the 30th day, they sent me a message: “Meet Ernie!” I thought, "Meet Ernie?"
I remembered they sent this to me because they wanted me to subscribe. I thought, Okay, well, I'll read his bio, and everything he said about himself just checked the boxes for what I wanted in a soulmate. Plus - he lived at the beach, AND would you believe his last name was Friend? So I ended up having to pay the $29 for that month, so I could send him a message. I messaged him back. And my opening line was something like, “I didn't intend on joining the site. But anybody who talks about The Five Love Languages and learning how to fly airplanes immediately has my attention. So I joined just so I could send you this message.”
And that's kind of how it started. We had our first phone conversation on Feb 6, 2018, and met in person 11 days later, at the beach, February 17th, the day before my birthday - and I KNEW I had met my soulmate. It was like we had known each other in another lifetime and were just waiting until the time we could finally be together in this one. Yeah, it sounds a little woo-woo, but when you know, you know.
When it came to leaving my nine-to-five, that was a little tricky. I needed income. And it was a job that I was comfortable with. people would ask, Well, if you move to the beach, what are you going to do? And I would joke and say; I don't know, I’ll find a couple of palm trees, string a hammock, and make seashell jewelry. I'll just see what happens.
And then this happened: one day, I heard about a plant-based, yoga-inspired retreat in Tuscany called PlantPower-Italia. Hosted by my all-time favorite podcaster, Rich Roll, and his super spiritual wife, Julie Piatt. There were just a few spots left. And I thought, hmm, I really want to go, but can I afford it? I don't even know if I have time off from work to go - I'm just going to make the call, put the deposit on my credit card, and reserve my spot - which just turned out to be the last spot available!
So I ended up on this retreat with Rich, Julie, and about 50 other amazing humans - in the idyllic Italian countryside where I began to feel this transformation happening, and I'm not really sure what it is and how do I go from where I am - in this holding pattern - to where I want to be?
And at the end of that week, I knew - I had to leave the job.
It was a Sunday night, I got off the plane, went back to my townhouse, and before I even started unpacking, I sat down and wrote my letter of resignation. And the next morning, when I clocked in, my supervisor said, Well, how was your trip? I said it was fabulous! And I brought something back for you! Then I handed him my resignation letter. He was not happy about that. He was not happy to lose me, but I felt such a sense of okay, I'm doing this - I’m leaving my 9-5, and then it was - how do I move To the beach?
Well, Ernie, as I said, lived at the beach - it wasn’t on the Gulf coast like I had kind of envisioned myself; it was Jacksonville beach - the Atlantic coast. And since we were soulmates, I would say yes to moving in with him. He was renting a small house - just enough room for both of us. And the beach was just down the street. I could see it from the house, and I could hear the waves and feel the breeze - the perfect scenario.
Almost every morning, I would go down to the beach, watch the sunrise, and take tons of photos - feeling such joy and inspiration and thinking, how can I share this?? That’s when the idea for a podcast came - I love the beach, I love podcasts - why not?
So I wanted this story to be the first episode of The Beach Speaks 2022, and I’m posting it on February 16, 2022, the two-year anniversary of marrying my soulmate - on the beach, and no 9-5 - I have a podcast.
The Beach is Speaking. . .
Are you listening?