Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have Tara Coulter sharing the many acts of her extraordinary life journey.
Sometime during high school, I decided that I wanted to be a lawyer. The guidance counsellor’s advice that girls couldn’t succeed in law school (I kid you not) could not stop me from pursuing this path.
I worked in Lake Louise, Alberta during the summer after my second year of university and this experience awoke a deep connection to nature that would influence my life’s direction. With no word from my law school applications, I accepted my failure with resignation. There was a lengthy mail strike that summer and when the mail resumed, my acceptance letter from the University of Windsor was delivered. I should have been excited, but I wasn’t.
Sitting in the Calgary airport watching the fading light over the mountains change from blue to indigo, I was tempted to get back on the Brewster bus and return to Lake Louise. By the time the plane landed in Toronto, I had decided not to pursue law school, much to the shock of my family. Confused and disillusioned, I completed the last year of my degree and went backpacking in Europe to find myself. I found a lot of other lost people and churches – lots and lots of churches.
While in Europe, I reflected that the thing that brought me the most joy was anything that required creativity – theatre, singing, writing, making things with my hands. I also recognized that living in a natural setting was core to my happiness. Back to school I went, this time to study Arts Management. The program provided me with strong administrative and project management skills and prepared me for work in major arts organizations in Canada. I felt like I was back on track.
The pull of the Canadian Rockies brought me to the Banff Centre and eventually back to Lake Louise where I fell in love and married. Through all of this, I wrote small articles for newsletters and the local paper. After ten years in the mountains, we decided to make the move to a small community on Vancouver Island.
Acts Three through Four
Small communities are wonderful places to live, but tough places to launch a career, especially in arts management. I enjoyed a successful career working as a Realtor only to learn that you can be very good at a job only to find out that the job isn’t right for you. I burnt out and my health suffered.
While trying to get healthy, I discovered natural therapies and became trained in reflexology, aromatherapy, Bowen Therapy and Reiki. I worked for the next 10 years in a spa. I learned so much during this time about our connection to spirit and how absolutely everything in our lives is mirrored in our cells.
The decision to sell everything and move aboard a sailboat was my husband’s. However, we both wanted more from life and were looking for adventure. Moving from an acre of land into 200 square feet of bobbing living space is all about adventure. We originally planned to circumnavigate, but we soon discovered that neither one of us was particularly interested in doing passages – we were curious to see beautiful, wild places and could do that here in British Columbia. I have grown so much through this experience and share this information in my blog.
I am still debugging old programming that says your success is determined by what you do. I think our success is determined by who we are.
We have recently moved back on land after 10 ½ years of living aboard our sailboat, but our sense for adventure is still strong. We have moved our boat back to our old marina and look forward to summer sailing.
Writing has been the common thread that weaves my disparate acts together. Writing is my lifeline. I want to write a book. I have wanted this for some time now and in spite of encouragement by friends and mentors, I have not completed it. Perhaps that is why I enjoy blogging so much because there are small completions every week. The book is 50% complete and is written in the young adult fiction genre. I am looking forward to sharing it with you.
Tara’s advice for anyone planning to pursue a second act…
• Do not become attached to your plans.
• Practice stillness; it is here that you can hear your soul’s voice.
Shakedown Cruise with Liz, Katy, Angela and Tara…
Where to find Tara…
Wow! Tara, I am in awe of your multi-act life. Consider writing your memoirs in addition to the young adult novel.