Storms in Paradise

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I haven’t forgotten about you… quite the contrary really. Every single day of being in Florida (and even before I arrived at my bungalow), I’ve thought to myself, “I need to blog. Isn’t that a big part of why I’m here? To get back to basics and write and drink fruity drinks?”

But, I haven’t felt like I could.

Everything I started I felt/said in my head to get those creative juices flowing/started writing felt like an eye roll.

Hell, I was rolling my eyes at what I was thinking and I’m living it.

“I’m loving it but it’s hot! You wouldn’t believe how big my hair is!”
” No, I refuse to let people bring me drinks. I need to see the bartender make it.”
(shout out to sorority life and teaching us alcohol safety)
“Seriously, don’t walk home from the bar alone after dark. #MomMode”
“Yes, I still look good tan and in a bathing suit.”

Okay, well, that last one I threw in because I am tan and hey, confidence. Work it.

But seriously, life has been good. How could it not?

I felt like I was living in paradise and everyone who will listen to me has heard, “It feels like I’m on vacation! Yeah, give me another vodka soda!

So, what did it take to finally break down? Well, a bad day.

Today, I had a bad day. Nothing life changing. Nothing heart breaking. Nothing terrible. But it wasn’t great and it reminded me that sometimes, there are storms in paradise.

It’s funny – it took a tough day to remind me that I’m not living in some dream world. Yes, the location has changed but surprise – it’s still life. I can still have days where nothing goes right – the cat barfs all over my floor, I drop a whole pack of brand new hair ties into the toilet, work is work.

So, why did that shake me down?

Because it was a reminder that just because I’m surrounded by new foliage, I’m still alive. I’m still going to have to tackle obstacles. Not everything will go my way. I just have to take a long, deep breath, and handle it.

You know what I did today? After work, I put on my flip flops and walked over to the local tiki bar across the street and ordered the fruitiest, most caloric drink on the menu. I ordered a big pizza. And I thought about what I could do differently tomorrow. I felt the breeze on my face and I stopped stressing, over analyzing, and testing my twitchy eye to start twitching.

After that, I walked to the beach and plopped right down. For one split second, I thought to myself, “Shoot. I don’t have a towel…” then rolled my eyes and sat right into the sand in my wide leg linen pants and I watched the waves hit the shore.

My phone had 20% battery left so I put it away and I just watched the sun set behind the clouds. I watched families walk the beach and I watched couples hold hands and find the best spot to catch the last few minutes of sunlight.

I just stopped, I took a breath, and I forced myself to let the stress of the day leave my mind.

And if you know me, you know that’s hard. I tend to dwell, I tend to get frustrated, and I tend to get anxious. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely did that during the day but I made the conscious decision to stop and to not continue holding onto unnecessary stress in that way.

Isn’t that why I was here? To relax?

I decided in that moment that I wasn’t going to let myself forget that this 6-month move wasn’t a vacation.

I decided to find a shell (or a piece of shell) that represented how I felt in that moment and I put it in my purse. Next time I take time for myself to sit, butt first, in the sand and watch the sunset without my phone, I’ll do the exact same thing. I’ll pick a shell, put it in my purse, and take it home with me.

I want to begin collecting these shells (and pieces of shells) in a jar as a reminder that this is how I measured my time here.

It’s not always about the big, pretty shells. It’s not always about the cracked ones, the broken ones, and the ones that just aren’t as big as the others. It’s a mix – you take the good with the bad.

It’s life and life isn’t always perfect, every day or every shell.

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