I forgot my anniversary! Not intentionally, of course. And not the one I share with my beloved, goofy husband. Nope. This one is the anniversary of our move to Florida, just two years ago. Hurricane Matthew had just left the region a couple of weeks earlier, in 2016, when we rolled into Melbourne with two U-Hauls pulling two cars, and one SUV bringing up the rear. It had been a long trip, with many stops but we had made it…and today, as I was fretting over finances, a busted A/C unit, car repair, and pet health issues, I had to stop. Stop and remember. Remember the why…
Why I am here..why I crave the beach life. And what made us take the big risk, the big chance…
The ocean. Living at the ocean…near water, near sand, near palm trees!
It had been the driving element in all my mantras, affirmations, and whispered yearnings for over 25 yrs. It popped up in my conversations, covered my journal pages, and dominated every goal sheet I could write. My husband was just as obsessed. We both had to keep the entire idea on the ‘down-low’ for fear of any client of ours discovering our impending escape. We had to finance it someway, and eat in the meantime…
Oh, yes, we had been devoted to this idea of living at the coast. For. a. long. time.
I wasn’t always like this, although I do believe my Kansas farm-boy hubby might have been. He had spent his USMC duty in CA, and then once that ended, he lived in HI for some time. Big expanses of blue liquid had been in his horizon and he had experienced the effects of sunshine, warmth and laid-back afternoons.
I , on the other hand, had always wanted to live in the southern Colorado mountains of my childhood vacations. Specifically, in the valley between two towering mountain peaks which held charming little cabins from the 1940s full of red gingham, wood fires, dirt roads, tall pine, scampering chipmunks, a bear or two…and the most perfect of little bubbling streams. My family spent a portion of our summers in this ideal retreat far from anything remotely like my Panhandle of Texas life. There were trees, for one….and mountains, streams, wildlife…I could smell pine in the afternoon rain showers. NO wind. Heaven.
I bugged my father mercilessly to quit his regular pensioned job to move us there, find a job doing whatever. I didn’t even waste a second of reflection upon the fact only 200 people lived there year-around, and NONE lived in that remote, summers-only valley. Yup, “let’s just get up and move, pleeeeease”, was my whine. Dad never considered it, although I think my mom toyed with the idea frequently. At least every single summer.
Little surprise, that once I was grown and had my own family, I pushed hard to sell out the Texas holdings and head northwest. …to Colorado.
Another story, there, though… But surmise to say here, that my own dreams of the perfect place to reside was above 7,000 ft. elevation.
That was until….
The trip to Mexico, circa 1998.
Never had been to the ocean prior to this trip. And when I say, it was life-changing, I am not being expansive. It was quite that, and more.
What I know now, is that it directed everything from that moment onward that we tried to do, but it was not easy to accomplish. Others could have done this much sooner. Our son decided to go two years ahead of us, and it took less than 30 days for him to be changing his zip code to the Florida Space Coast. Took years for us to get to the ocean and to stake our residence upon a sandy shore.
What I also now know, is that I am so glad, so grateful we kept at it, that we didn’t lose hope. Our struggles were unique to us, to grab this dream life. They were overlaid with busted economic hardships, children’s plans and needs, self-employment confinement, and the loss of both my parents. My moods riveted between excited and mortally depressed. I kept believing, even when we were creating deeper roots in Colorado, that one day we would live near the ocean, in the perfect bungalow and have a boat.
And while right now, we are still renting a house that is not quite perfect, but is more than adequate….and we do not yet have my husband’s business solidly here and thriving….and while I must remain working in the “other” job until my writing brings in the dough…and while we can not look at homes or boats yet financially….there is much to be grateful for daily. Besides the health and happiness of my family and loved ones….
I can: jump in our pool when I am not working, get to the beach in 10 mins, catch space launches from the end of my driveway, keep my doors open nearly year-around, and live in beach clothes. It is a gift, this.
So, today, when I caught myself feeling more stress than I like, when I realized I was fretting over the budget yet again, when I bemoaned my insomnia and screamed over the news……when I scolded myself over my goals still not accomplished, and then worried that I am not writing enough…
I went outside, stretched in the sunshine, dipped my toes in the pool, watched the skittering lizards….and celebrated our Anniversary.
For this IS a love affair for us!
Heart and Prayers to those in CA, with the devastation of the fires. May your families be safe, your lives comforted and your recovery speedy. xoxo