Posted in Family, Moving forward

Was it worth it?

When I moved to Florida in 2011, I knew I was leaving the familiar behind. That familiar consisted of my huge family that lived predominately within 90 minutes of each other in northern Michigan along with the friends I’d made over 27 years. I didn’t feel like I had a choice to make. Life had gotten progressively more difficult with the death of my dad, my divorce, the closing of my shop and then losing my home. I needed to start over, away from it all.

My prior knowledge of Florida consisted of small vay-kays visiting my folks as they wintered on the Gulf. While it was a great place to visit, I never imagined living there. The beach was beautiful, but if you didn’t actually live on it, it was hard to get to. I didn’t care for the landscape of highrise after highrise.

Cue Florida. Palm Coast, to be exact. Divine Providence led me here to this small planned community in northeast Florida on the Atlantic Ocean. 30 years ago, this place never existed. Now it’s a beautifully planned “Tree City” nestled between St. Augustine (the oldest city in America) and Daytona Beach, “The World’s Most Famous Beach,” with my own little throwback gem of Flagler Beach just minutes away.

I knew the trade-off. I knew what I was leaving. Certainly people would come visit. Who doesn’t love a place to stay in warm weather when you live in the snow belt? And we did get visitors, and it was wonderful. The years went by, and I grew to really love the area. My life changed in more ways than one, and over the course of the last couple of years, God has smiled down on me and brought not only my life partner, but two out of three of my kids to live nearby.

I hear people ask when is it their turn, or when will I catch a break, but the truth is you kind of have to just pray for guidance, pray for patience, and pray that you listen well enough to hear. That’s not always easy. Our timing is our timing. What seems like years is just a blink in the scheme of things. Waiting is so hard. Wishing seems fruitless. The old adage, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” should read, “When life hands you lemons, make a lemon-tini, and don’t forget to laugh.”

Me and David

Was it all worth it? Was leaving everything I held dear to my heart worth it? I still have wonderful memories that I share with those that helped make them. I realize that nothing stays the same. But nothing worth having comes easy, and while the life-changing events that led to my move were anything but easy, I will say it was all worth it. Our past leads us to where we are. Everything endured influences who we are today. Would I change anything? Most definitely. But I believe even with that, I would have ended up with my David, my kids and grandkids nearby, in this beautiful little slice of heaven.

Posted in Moving forward

Chapter … 4

Wow. I haven’t looked or posted here in over a year! I wonder what that means. Without actually re-living it here, I believe I’ll look back at ’18 as a pretty good year overall, now that I can look back. The long and short of it is I ultimately found my life partner, and we are now looking forward to our happily ever after! In the chapters of my life as I view them, this one looks to be among the best!

Posted in Moving forward, Randomness

Goodbye 2017. Let us never speak of it again.

Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see a year end as this one. Maybe I say that every year; I don’t know. But 2018 HAS to be better than ’17.

It started off well enough … mini-vay-kay in January at Reed Ranch with all the family; I so enjoyed that. Met a very nice, very fun but rather self-absorbed man who I pretty much knew immediately wasn’t going to be forever, but what a sweet-talker – and he loved to dance! Made for a very fun birthday. Hibernian party in Michigan in March. Not a bad spring. Work was going okay; I got a new boss that I rarely saw, and I got a raise.

Then … karma? Bad ju-ju? I don’t really know. June came, and everything fell apart. The man thing fizzled as fast as I could say the “M” word in response to a question that had absolutely nothing to do with him. Heart-hurt and confused, I tried looking forward but with too much hope and too little confidence. Ann, my cohort, left Kindred, work became more stressful. Met a few nice guys but no spark anywhere. I did buy my own condo, and I got to see my kids in August.  And then hurricanes, condo repairs, floor floods, identity theft, unexpected slights by former friends, an overly-stress-filled job, my Anita moving away; meets and break-ups faster than a speeding Bonanza causing me to again question myself, my appeal, my worth.

I just want it over. I know there’s no guarantee that 2018 will be any better than ’17. I realize that. I understand it’s what we make it and even more what’s in my head. I know all that intellectually. I do.

But 2018 holds at least some promise:  A new floor!  Ireland in March!  A healthier, more active me. And Meg is closer, though only through February.

I actually have no idea why I think 2018 will be better. It certainly starts off with a bang, at least through March, but then … but then?

It’s funny (not?), but part of me so wants a relationship with someone who will love me for me and want to share in my life. Another part of me wants my independence, my quiet, my space. Where is the balance? What is it? People do it all the time, but can I? I used to see myself either in a long-term relationship or even married again; I thought that’s what I wanted. But that was in the long run. When does the long run begin? I was presented with the possibility just recently in a ‘too-good-to-be-true’ scenario. I was offered the world and more, but I’d have to leave mine. Part of me wanted to pick up and go. Just go. But another part of me…the deep-down part of me said, ‘Wait a minute.’  While it all sounded good in theory, I just didn’t know about giving up everything I’d worked so hard for these past years.

I wonder, to get what I think I want, do I have to leave this … my life … and go to ‘his,’ whoever he turns out to be? I’m not sure I want to do that just yet, if at all.

Posted in Moving forward, Randomness

Time flies…maybe too fast.

October 23rd.  I’ve been in my condo a little over a year now. How well I remember a year ago leaving my cute little house and a very dysfunctional relationship to start a new chapter in my life; it’s been an interesting year, for sure.

Muhly grass

Fall ushers in the best time of the year in Old Florida. The temperatures are cooler, I can have all the sliding doors open, turn off the a/c, maybe catch the sunrise at a more decent hour. Though I’ll miss the vibrant green vines of summer that cover like a deep snowfall, I love when the beautiful rows of muhly grass turn a vibrant shade of pink and wave in unison in the breeze. The beaches empty, the RVs caravan south, and the area preps for an increase in its population.

A lot happened this past year.  I was able to spend three precious months with my mother, months I would not trade for anything.  I saw two fabulous concerts; Bruce Springsteen with Drew, and Rascal Flatts with Meg; unforgettable, both. I shared the tragic loss of a nephew to suicide and, in the circle of life, met my beautiful new granddaughter Audrey. I discovered the joy of ballroom dancing and as an added benefit met some wonderful people.  I lost my Sadie this past Labor Day that brought an additional heartbreak with it.  My job has had its share of unmentionable challenges with the ups and downs and office drama that only a large corporation can offer.  I tried online dating and met some lovely men and a few not-so-lovely ones, made a great friend, and am more hopeful than I’ve been in awhile. I survived Hurricane Matthew, and in doing so learned there are many angels walking around here on earth.

I can only imagine what’s ahead. I’m looking forward to a quick but much-needed cruise with Meg next month. I’ve started working virtually for a transcription company in the hopes of having an exit strategy when the time comes to leave Hospice. I’m eager to spend time with my mom and siblings at Reed Ranch in January, see my Oklahoma kids and grandkids again. Next spring will bring another opportunity to go to Michigan, hopefully with Meg, and see Audrey and her parents.

It has been a surprisingly good year; I have no complaints. I’m grateful for my many blessings; I’m excited about the future. I know we can’t stop time, but perhaps we can slow down a little now.

Posted in Florida Fun, Moving forward

My “Condo de Sásamh”

The last time I lived alone was in 1975, thanks to my friend Carol who was in charge of the resident apartments at college during the summer of that same year. And I loved it. I was never lonely, never bored. It didn’t hurt that a bunch of my guy friends lived upstairs just in case I got worried about some weird noise. I could always bang on the ceiling for help (unless, of course, the weird noise was coming from them).

Now, 40 years later, here I am, living alone and loving it.  I never get lonely, and I never get bored. I have to wonder if it’s because I grew up in such a large family where there was no such thing as privacy, much less being alone in the house (save for the one time two car loads left for church, each assuming I was in the other car; but that didn’t last long enough). Perhaps had I been an only child or in a much smaller family being alone might not seem so appealing.Erin-book-review-1111

We had horses when I was young.  And just to find somewhere quiet to read, I would go to the stable, climb on Clancy backward, lay on my tummy resting my book on his butt, and read to my heart’s content listening to him munch on hay while slowly moving around his stall. It is one of my most perfect memories.

I sort of feel like that now. I feel content.

And I look forward to sharing my little “condo of contentment” with whomever would like to visit.

Posted in Moving forward, Randomness

I DID know then what I know now.

One doesn’t often get the opportunity to say that, especially when it comes to issues of the heart, decisions made, choices acted upon.

I’ve read that in any relationship, it takes almost two years of being together before that rosy glow wears off and the grind of daily living begins to influence who we are as a couple. That seems like such a long time, especially when you’re together day in and day out believing you know everything there is to know about one another.

But I now believe that to be true. I would even venture to say that, depending on your lifestyle and choices, it could take even longer. Other influences to that might be the belief that one can change another person if given enough time, empathy, and rationalization.

But I now accept that the influences of our youth and our willingness and ability to either accept or change define who we are as adults.

I feel as if I’ve come full circle…almost. I’d written previously about my first love…my last love. I’ve explored the whys of our break up all those years ago only to find each other later in life to then break up again. And what I realize is that the things that broke us up in our younger days were the same things to break us up now. One cannot change another person. And unless they want to change, they are who they are. So we either learn from our mistakes or we continue to make the same ones, re-defining insanity, over and over.

Perhaps it was a rebound relationship, though that idea frustrates me because I want to think I’m smarter than that. None of us chooses wrong intentionally. But ‘this time’ I will make every attempt NOT to repeat the mistakes I’ve made. I’m determined to learn and move forward, with or without someone by my side. I’m stronger, more confident, and happier than I’ve ever been.