In less than a month I will finally be living in a beautiful old city that I have fallen in love with over the last year. But it's not just somewhere beautiful for me to live - it's a place that I have chosen all on my own without any influence from anyone else. Not my parents nor my friends nor any other well-meaning family member has been the one to sway my mind. I think that's what is particularly significant for me about this move - it's the first one of my life I am making from my own pure desire and drive.
Moving to Kaua'i was my own decision too of course, but it was influenced by my aunt in some ways. It was a beautiful experience but it does still leave a slightly bitter taste in my mouth. I desperately hope a change of scenery can jump start me out of this funk I've been in since I moved back to Clermont. I hope there is something about living in a place I have deliberately and gladly chosen that will finally help me feel like I'm home. Like I'm somewhere I could really belong.
I know, I know, happiness is an inside job... but when I'm in St. Augustine and the palm trees are waving to the sun hanging low over the Castillo, and the cobblestones are warm beneath my feet, and the air smells of salt and ice cream, and shadows chase sunlight across the blue sea, I feel actual joy again. In Clermont the closest thing I can conjure up that's anywhere close to joy is joy's pale and sickly cousin, "comfort-in-familiarity". And after 1 1/2 years with "comfort-in-familiarity" and anxiety as my only companions, I'm about ready to burst out of my skin and fly away to Neverland without a single backwards glance.
But now that I'm in my last five days living in Clermont, there's nothing left to do but look for the best in everything and come to terms with the lessons I've learned in the last year and a half. What have I learned? ....
I've learned that you can be unhappy or happy anywhere - it's really up to you. But there are some places where being joyful is a whole heck of a lot easier, depending on what you like. (For example, just being near the ocean makes my heart sing; I don't even have to get wet.)
Secondly, I learned that I won't give up until I get what I want, whether it's a job or an apartment or an acceptance letter.
I also learned that sometimes the only way to heal from something is to let Father Time do most of the work. I have reached a place of peace with my past that could never have been achieved a year ago, no matter how much I meditated or worked the Steps. Time brings invaluable perspective and hindsight.
Friendships are an important part of life, but they're not the MOST important. My relationship with myself (and my Higher Power) is what I need to work on the most, and if there are people in my life who make me feel bad about myself or give out mostly negative vibes, they're just meant to be let go.
Having said that, cultivating healthy relationships has been a big frustration this past year for me but also a major goal of mine for the future. I don't have many friends in Clermont anymore, but I spent a lot of time with my family and with a certain few people who I hope I am friends with for the rest of my life. I'm really looking forward to making friends in St. Augustine who I have similar interests with so we can connect on a more authentic level.
And last but not least, I've had the first few realizations that I'm getting older. I'm only 22, so I'm not saying I'm old obviously, but I've felt the first few pangs of realizing that one day I will be. I'll be 23 in July - it seems like not that long ago I was eye-to-eye with the counter, wondering if I would ever be able to see over it. Now here I am, solidly into my twenties. Time is passing, and today will never come again.
What more is there to say? A new chapter in my life is beginning. Pen is to paper, and a new adventure awaits!
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