Letting Go of My Norway Dreams

September 27, 2016
Letting Go of My Norway Dreams

The last time I flew away from Norway, it was with tears streaming down my face. I wanted nothing more than to stay in this beautiful country and avoid going back to my life that was about to completely fall apart. I had a vision as I was washing dishes and staring out the window in this new and beautiful place. I saw myself and a man, my future husband, walking up the street with our dog, pushing our tiny baby in a stroller and laughing together at something she must have done or a face she made. The vision was of us walking in our own neighborhood near our own home and we were both so happy.

This was an interesting vision for me to have at the time because I was about to go home and tell my then-husband that I wanted a divorce after our two year separation. My whole life was about to fall apart and the last thing I wanted was a baby. But I clung to that vision as if it were real.

After arriving home, I dreamed about going back to Norway, finding the man and the version of myself from the vision. I even got to know the professors at the university in the town I visited in Norway. I learned of a PhD student opening (in Norway this is a paid, full-time job), and worked tirelessly for six months to prepare a proposal for the project they wanted the selected student to do.

I attached myself to the feelings in my vision – feelings of love, hope, pride, joy, feminine energy and nurturing motherhood. Everything I had left inside of me went into working for the PhD position, and by the time I completed the project and my interviews, I was exhausted.

It was devastating when I learned I was ranked second among the 14 people who had applied. The job went to the person ranked number one. Letting go of a future in Norway and letting go of the vision I saw there of my future, happy self was more gut-wrenching than letting go of my marriage.

I felt like moving here would save me, but the truth is, nothing and no one could have saved me from going through my divorce and facing my fears of being alone in the world.

A lot can happen in three years. I tend to set my mind to things and will them to appear very quickly in my life. I managed to survive my divorce, find the man I was meant to be with, get married and become a step-mom to two beautiful children. I created a happy and stable life with a loving family and a career I love in Southern California. It’s no surprise, then, that my most recent trip to Norway was so different than the last. I came up here on a whim after realizing I was sick of the hot, loud Spanish town I’d met my girlfriend in. I flew to Norway for five days on my own. I came to a new town with the hopes of exploring the fjords and figuring out what my vision from three years ago was all about.

My biggest realizations throughout my time in Norway had to do with letting go of the past and realizing that the vision I had is still part of my present and future life. After experiencing what life might be like as an American far away from the comforts of home, I am now able to let go of the dream of living here someday. I have let go of what might have been if I had come here for my PhD. At the time, I felt like moving here would save me, but the truth is, nothing and no one could have saved me from going through my divorce and facing my fears of being alone in the world. I had to go through that hard time to know that I would always be there for myself, keep myself safe and love myself no matter what happened.

Adventuring in Norway brings out the best in me. I feel brave and curious and energetic when I am heading off down some unknown path that will take me through some of the most beautiful forests and streams I’ve ever seen. I love trekking through the green, wet paths and over the makeshift bridges, stairs and rope swings. To come around the corner and see an open clearing, a view of the fjords in the distance or a tiny, untouched pond fills my heart with more joy that I can explain. As a child, I pretended to be in places like this as I ran around our property in Michigan.

Maybe my visions of Norway back then were real – maybe I saw myself here in a past life or in the future. It feels like home to me out there in those woods. I am truly at my best when I’m exploring. It reminds me that I must always be moving, discovering, hiking and pushing my body and imagination to discover new things and experiences.

I had to go through that hard time to know that I would always be there for myself, keep myself safe and love myself no matter what happened.

Another realization was that I am so ready to be a mom – even more that I knew before this trip. Everywhere I adventured in Norway, children followed me. Children laughing, singing, playing, having fun and chasing each other around. Some of them crying for their parents and some of them taking brave leaps off slides and searching for trolls in the woods. I sat and watched them as they ran here and there, allowed their imaginations to transport them to far off lands and encouraged each other to jump on a new slide in the playground. I sat and watched and I was happy. I loved their sweet little face and the never-ending energy. The way they reached out for their parents, knowing that they would immediately take them into their arms and keep them safe from the big scary would out there.

Part of me thought coming back to Norway would give me a new insight, peace of mind and reignite my curiosity and need for adventure. It did all of this and so much more! I let go of the dream of ever moving back here and realized that I am already living the vision of love and family I saw so many years ago.

I spent my last rainy day in Norway searching for something special for my future child. After filling up my bag with gifts for my two sweet step children, it was finally time to buy something for the baby. The first item I have ever bought for a child that will someday be growing inside of me. In the pouring down rain I scoured the streets of Bergen, rushing in and out of shops, gulping down coffee and cinnamon buns and talking with other Americans in coffee shops before heading out to the next area of the city.

Finally exhausted and ready to head back home, I quietly strolled along a few more streets on my way back to the bus stop and happened to spot a big window of a show filled with frilly baby clothes. The shop looked completely closed, but I tried the door anyway, and there I was… Standing in the cutest little shop holding the softest little baby blanket in my hands. I paid for this treasure and with tears in my eyes, carried the cute little bag to my bus stop. On the way home I even took a picture of me holding the bag on the bus so that one day my child can see how much he/she was loved, even before being born, and so they will know what a courageous adventurer his/her mom was. Upon returning to my cottage, I even wrote a letter to my future little soul, including the story of how I found and bought their very first baby blanket on a great adventure in Norway.

Last time I left, I was heartbroken to fly away. I was afraid to return to a big mess of heartbreak and changes in my relationship and life. Worst of all, I was afraid I would never find hope or love again, and that I’d be destined to be longing for things I could never really have forever. This time, I’m leaving with a full heart. I am thankful to this country for everything it has taught me and inspired me to do. I’m thankful for a re-birth of energy, courage, bravery and playfulness. I’m thankful for the understanding deep within that I am ready to bring another sweet soul into this world and love him/her with all of my heart.

I hope to be the kind of person and the kind of mom who inspires those around me to chase their dreams, be brave and courageous, have a deep and profound understanding of themselves, step out of their comfort zone and take some big risks in this life. This, for me, is the only true way to live.

About Kara O’Kane

Kara O'KaneKara loves to write, travel and share experiences with people she meets in countries all over the world. She combines her background in counseling psychology and love for travel to help women create the life they love by saying yes to travel even when it scares them. She enjoys being a wife, step-mother and mom to her ball-obsessed Labrador. Read about Kara’s offerings and adventures on her blog: www.adventurous-her.com

One thought on “Letting Go of My Norway Dreams

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    September 27, 2016

    Thank you for this, Kara ~
    years ago, I had a very similar experience & relationship with Denmark. Lovely words, good for you.

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