I was speaking with my social media guru last week and he said something that got me really thinking. He spoke of the stepping stones of life and wondered how many we might have to walk on before we landed on what he called a “milestone.”

I pondered this question and realized that I had traveled over many stepping stones before I got to those occasions that might qualify as significant milestones. On reflection, one of my biggest milestones was coming to live in Florida but I also know that it took many steps to get here.

Years ago my husband (at that time), my two sons and I took a vacation to Miami. We went to meet up with friends of ours who had moved to Florida a few years earlier. As I sat on my patio thinking about milestones dozens of years later, I could still recall the significant day when the sun was shining and my sons were in the water swimming and playing. I walked into the ocean to check on them and then continued on past them looking out at the horizon. The sun was high and bright and it was then I had an intense feeling of déjà vu.

The feeling I had was something I had not experienced in a long time. I knew I had been here before and I just knew I would be coming back.

A déjà vu occurrence (literally “already seen”) is one of feeling certain that you have previously witnessed or experienced a current situation. It is usually accompanied by a compelling sense of familiarity but may also convey a feeling of eeriness, strangeness or uncanniness. In most cases there is a firm sense that the experience has genuinely happened in the past.

My instincts told me I would live in Florida again but I just didn’t know when or where. I took this feeling home with me, never saying a word about it to my husband or sons. My life continued on and one thing led to another. In retrospect, I could say many of these subsequent experiences were the stepping stones that led to my return to Florida.

A few years later, when my older son was on his own living and my other son was sixteen, I reached the “Florida milestone.” By now I also had a daughter, a divorce and a bumpy relationship with my daughter’s father. I wanted a change but was not sure how to make it happen.

One day my best friend told me she was going back to Florida to live. I was surprised to hear that… but was even more surprised to hear myself tell her to wait for me because I wanted to go, too!

My friend of twelve years was also my daughter’s Godmother. “Mom 2” my daughter called her. I loved and respected her just as much as my daughter did. I sold my business and condo, packed my stuff and left. The speed at which my company and home sold was a definite sign that this move was timely and the right thing to do. It was my destiny.

After thirty years here, I have never regretted moving to Tampa. I love the area I live in. I feel I have grown up here just as my daughter has. When I left the north, I thanked a few of my family members but most of all, my daughter’s father. I thanked him because leaving what was familiar had made a stronger woman of me.

I became the person I wanted to be and not what others wanted me to be. That déjà vu “seeing” while I stood in the ocean all those years ago and my finely-tuned intuition have bought me quite far in this lifetime. That vision led me to Florida, for sure, but I must tell you that some of the milestones that followed were even more significant. Florida began an adventure I had never thought to experience and set me on a path that has given me great joy and purpose.

One milestone leads to another, of course, and life is never the same afterward. And for that, I am very grateful.