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The Gift That Saved My Life

Have you ever received a gift that just totally knocked you backwards? Something that was so incredibly right that you didn't even know you needed it? For me, that gift was a suitcase. And I'm pretty sure it saved my life.

I had been in a really unhealthy relationship for about a year. He was an idiot. But... the kind of idiot that is dangerous to someone like me. I'm all sweetness and second chances and when someone like me comes into contact with a classic narcissist, well... I was a perfect victim. To this day, I don't even know how much of the emotional abuse was intentional or conscious, and how much of it was me just... accepting the garbage he threw at me... but that's not the point here. The point is that on my birthday (I think in 2012), I had recently extricated myself from that relationship and I was in the process of picking up all the scattered, bruised, bits and pieces of my sense of self, when my mom, my beautiful, warm soul of a mother, gave me a gift. It was a little purple carry-on suitcase. Purple was, and is, my favorite color, so I liked it right away. But I didn't understand the real purpose of the gift until my mother looked me in the eye and said:

"Meg, you have a travel bug in you. It's time to let it out again."

And she was SO RIGHT!!! I had always traveled. My whole life. On the rare occasion that I'd have to go a whole year without leaving the country, I would start to physically itch for adventure. And in the year that came before that moment, in all the mean words and self-doubt, I'd just become... stuck. And scared. A shadow of the brave and wild, global soul that I had been.

Seeing that suitcase, and hearing those words, it was like taking a big gulp of fresh air after being underwater for too long. And within days I had made a plan. Soon after, I took what my father would come to call "The Grand Tour". 24 cities in 9 countries, all within the span of a year and a half. And for part of that year-and-a-half-stretch, I MOVED out to the Dallas/Fort Worth area to live with my Aunt. I had traveled all over, but I'd never LIVED anywhere other than Massachusetts. And for most of "The Grand Tour"... I did alone. There were some cities where I'd meet up with friends, and a bunch of the countries I did with my Texan aunt who is a fellow wild adventurer, but the most amazing part of the whole experience was realizing that I didn't have to answer to ANYONE but me...

If you've never traveled alone, or if the prospect of going to a restaurant or a movie by yourself is TERRIFYING... I cannot stress enough how much you SHOULD do it. I learned more about myself, in all that travel, than lots of people learn in a lifetime. I even walked out of a restaurant, after paying, without eating my meal or finishing my beer because they were terrible. Me, the girl who would have choked down the beer and spent WAY too much time making it look like I'd convincingly eaten the food AND paid and tipped generously... just because I didn't want to upset anyone. And you know what happened? I walked across the street to an indie movie theater, watched a classic film, drank wine, and had tasty snacks! No one got mad at me. No one judged me for not wanting to do something. No one said I couldn't change my mind or that I wasn't free to do EXACTLY what I wanted to do... The world didn't fall apart because I chose me. And, if anything, a big chunk of ME was pieced back together that day.

And all of it... every single second of it... was because of that suitcase my mom gave me for my birthday.

Gifting is my love language. I'm not sure if it's because of that experience, but it definitely had an impact. I share gifts with the people in my life (baked goods, experiences, mementos, tidbits, you name it) because I know how powerful the right gift, at the right time, can be. I love how it feels to think of people as I'm shopping or making or planning. I give with my whole heart, every time. And the same magical empathy that makes me a great brand builder, makes me a GREAT gift giver. And prolific... Because I am so full of love.

So if you are in my world, expect to get thoughtful surprises. Life is too short... and you never know when one small gesture of genuine love and care can change a person's whole future.

How about you? How do you show love in your business? Figuring that out is HUGE and incredibly powerful... So think about it. And let me know.


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