Sunday, September 19, 2004

Turn, Turn, Turn

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time for every purpose under heaven

From Turn, Turn, Turn by The Byrds
(Words adapted from the Book of Ecclesiastes)

I love my home in Celebration, but every weekend it gets harder and harder to zip up my carry-on bag, lock the door behind me, and return to my job and the world up north. I dream of the day when I'll never have to do that again, but for now I have to defer to the financial responsibilities that come along with hasty decisions. I don't regret our "rush" decision to buy our home, but the lack of pre-planning means that we can't totally cut the strings for while.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if we had visited Celebration in the early years. I was aware of its existence right from the beginning, and I always wondered what it would be like to live next door to Disney World. But it was a fleeting thought, never strong enough to spur me into action.

My initial visit in October 2002 was the culmination of a string of coincidences. I didn't plan to be in Florida at that time, but then it was suddenly decreed that I learn how to use Flash (web authoring software) at work. I already use Dreamweaver, (which, like Flash, is from a company called Macromedia), and it so happened that there was a big Macromedia conference coming up at the Swan and Dolphin. That, and the fact that my company actually approved sending me, was coincidence #1.

Coincidence #2 was that my husband still had enough vacation days left to accompany me. This leads us to Coincidences #3 and #4: The fact that the Disney Cruise Line headquarters is located in Celebration and that we would be in Florida during the week rather than on a weekend.

We used to visit Disney World for a week at a time, but once the cruise line set sail, we had changed our habits drastically. We started taking as many three-day cruises as possible, which means we would fly out Friday morning (when the Magic was still doing three-day trips) or Thursday morning (once the Wonder took over and the Magic switched to week-long sailings) and head straight to the ship. We would take a towncar, but even if we'd rented a car, there was no time to go poking around the Orlando/Kissimmee area or to seek out Celebration.

This time around, we would be in town Monday through Wednesday. Granted, I would be busy at the conference every day, but it ended early on Wednesday morning. That gave us a few precious hours before our flight that night. And, in Coincidence #5, I had rented a car in Orlando for the very first time ever. I had taken a crapshot and tried Priceline, hoping we would get the Swan or Dolphin for a bargain basement rate. We ended up at the Marriott World Center, so we needed to have some wheels.

Since we had some weekday time, we arranged to stop in at the cruise line office to say "hello." That might sound strange unless you consider the sheer volume of cruising that we do. I know the ships as well as I know my own home, and I was curious about the shoreside end of things. When we were done there, we still had some time to burn. Not enough to go to the parks or to bum around Downtown Disney for very long, but too much to spend wandering around Orlando International. Since we were on the outskirts of Celebration anyway, why not pop into town and check it out? And of course, the rest is history.

But sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I'd visited Celebration right in the very beginning. I was aware of it right from the start, but I never quite made the effort to drag myself away from Disney World to see it for myself. If I had, would my reaction have been the same in the mid-1990s as it was in 2002? Would I, right this minute, be living in Celebration Village? Would my dream of being a full-time Florida resident aleady be fulfilled?

It's so enticing to imagine that the need for the long commute is over. I dream of the day when my husband and I won't be grabbing our carry-on bags in a frenzy and rushing out the door Sunday night. We always seem to be running late because we've tried to snatch too many extra minutes in our home town. Thank goodness 417 is usually devoid of traffic, although our drive has been slowed down by monsoons more than once.

But who knows what our lives would actually be like now if we had visited Celebration back then. The Book of Ecclesiastes says that, "To everything there is a season...and a time for every purpose under heaven." Over the course of my life, as I've watched the pieces fall into place, I've become a firm beliver that God guides us to the right place at the right time. Whether or not we realize that, and take advantage of it, is what free will is all about.

In looking back, I can see that the time of Celebration's birth was probably not the right time for my husband and I to make the leap. In 1995, I was just returning to school for my Bachelors degree in Psychology. My Masters studies started in 1997, and I'm still working on the Doctorate. I had always dreamed of returning to school someday, since I didn't have the opportunity when I was of a more "traditional" age. Working for a company with a tuition refund program allowed me to fulfill that dream, but it also tied me to that job for a three-year payback period.

Back then, we were also on shakier financial ground. Even now, it's a challenge to maintain two households; several years ago, when I was concentrating on my studies (and, at the end of the Masters program, working an unpaid internship in addition to my full-time job), it would have been impossible.

As much as our gypsy lifestyle drives me crazy, I can see the puzzle pieces clicking into place, and I know that someday soon they will form a clear picture. I saw it in the coincidences that brought us to Celebration in 2002 and again in the chain of events that led us to just the right house. I don't know how the job issue that ties us to the Midwest will work out, but I have faith that somehow it will.

I have seen little hints that we are going in the right direction. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to do some travel agent work (my agency website is Normally, starting up a business and building the initial customer base is a challenge. For me, those hurdles were a bit easier because of my Disney Cruise Line website, I've been running it for years and have built up significant traffic, so that gave me a starting point for advertising to a good customer base.

I am also poised to complete my Doctorate this year, so I'm ready to plunge into counseling. Being a marriage and family therapist has long been my dream, and doing hands-on work during my internship reinforced that. I actually continued as a counselor for a while after my internship was over, but it was too much to juggle along with my full-time job. My knowledge of website development and experience in delivering synchronous and asyncronous web-based training has given me the skill to take that one step further and offer online lifeskills seminars. That means I can draw on a client base throughout the United States, not just locally.

My career options may be diverse, but hopefully they will allow me to make the leap when the time is right to be in Celebration full-time. I know that I need to be patient; I see things falling into place, but they have to happen in their own good time. I just wonder where I'll be when I look back at this blog entry a year or two from now...wherever it is, I'm sure that it will be the right place in the right time.

If you have any questions or comments about my blog or Celebration, email me at

Visit my Celebration website at

No comments: