|"Keep on smilin' through the rain, laughin' at the pain|
Rollin' with the changes til the sun comes out again
Keep on smilin' through the rain, laughin' at the pain
Rollin' with the changes, singin' this refrain"
Hoo boy, if anyone puts into words what I need to hear it's just under 4 minutes of Wet Willie circa 1974, thanks boys!
If you've been with me for any length of time here on the blog, or in my life, you know that December and I just don't get along. We'll never be friends again, those days are long gone and I accept it with as much grace as possible. Not to mention that the whole end of the year countdowns that seem to be an obsession with so many all over the place are just depressing to me. Everything is amplified this time of year, and as someone who has endured catastrophic loss this time of year the simplest tasks are so challenging for me some days. However, that said, when I do look back at where I was this time last year and consider my mental health and attitude now the progress has been positive and immense. It hasn't come easy.
When I had my final make or break moment last year, one of the things I decided was allow myself the true power of the word "no." And with that has come the complete scaling back of almost all peripheral activities in my life that I used to participate in, some of which I enjoyed, many of which I did not. And, as I've begun to rebuild my life and my business I have found that the things I do choose to "yes" now more often than not have glimmers of happiness and genuine enjoyment. Those have been some really good moments.
This year I've bid farewell to more friends, some expected, some not expected. This is something that has always been a way of life living in a "destination" area (read: tourist area), but I never really adjusted to. Irma accelerated the goodbyes in my life, and I continue to struggle with that part of this recovery every day. But, for the first time ever, there was a friend of mine from many years ago who moved TO here! And when I say "here" I mean HERE! Like 15 minutes away from me. No matter how different our lives will be, we are friends and it's really refreshing to look through the lens of someone new here, excited about the differences here from where we come from, and desiring to embrace a way of life that perhaps is simpler at least in some ways. I'm super excited for my friend and her family, and that's the truth. This one thing actually HAS come easy, at least for me since I'm not the one who uprooted and moved. ;)
I recently picked up a new-to-me hobby (metal hand stamping) and as someone brand new at the stamps, I have discovered this is one thing I think will be around for a long time in my world. I've also finally fulfilled a long ago promise to myself and have started going to the photography club meetings at the Refuge down here. The few meetings I've already been to have been immensely educational, there's all levels of photographers in the group and right now I sit, listen and absorb. You know I love to look through life through a lens, but never seemed to have the time I wanted to learn more about the craft. When my camera was stolen a few years ago while I was out, I was deflated and angry. The camera that was gifted to me as a replacement has been one that I've struggled with... way too much technology and just not my style... but I've set a goal to learn as much as I can to trade it in and then choose the one I really want. This has been solidified by the trips to the Dry Tortugas that I've been taken on this year for the first time as well. Yup, after around 16 years here I finally saw in person the Dry Tortugas National Park not once but THREE times this year. My friend who goes out there quite often has sponsored every trip for me and it's changed my life. I still am in awe that there's a place like that in this country, actually even on this planet. I can run around like crazy taking hundreds of pictures of just one bird, or sitting there doing nothing. No pressure on me, none. It's sublime to be there! I find the history very interesting, the engineering and "trivia" of the actual building of the fort a never ending source of fascination, and the serenity second to none (at least until the ferry comes in, LOL). I've studied up on the birds that migrate there, and those who live there year round. Looking back, honestly those trips are true highlights of 2019 for me, indelible, unforgettable. Such a privilege to have been able to go, and have someone who has been willing and able to share that with me.
The nature has begun to spring back down here since the storm, although the landscape is very different now. The deer are still here, and despite a push by the Feds to delist them, so far that has not happened. I hear and see a lot of people living with an attitude of privilege instead of gratitude, I suppose that's just human nature and I'm sure I have my own moments that way despite making a constant effort to be mindful and understand people "where they are" not where I am so to speak. Through it all, I think I am as prepared as possible for whatever 2020 may throw my way. Many days I have felt like my life is a "duck and cover" mode of survival, but thankfully not as much of that anymore. I clearly know what I do want in my life, and what I do not want in my life. I predict more change in 2020 for me, not sure why that seems so surprising to say (at least to me) since really the only constant is change.
I appreciate all of you who take time to read my posts, and hope that 2020 brings more writing as well, something I have long enjoyed but long neglected. I'll be around for VeganMoFo (at least that's the plan as of now) and I hope to share as much as I am able with you about the miracles in the Florida Keys. Once I settled in here, I thought I'd never leave. Then Irma hit and I thought I couldn't get out of here fast enough. Since it's taking so long to get through our recovery, I am now at a place where I allow myself the thought that anything is possible, I may stay, I may go... I have no clue and I'm comfortable enough right now having no idea what to do beyond my immediate future. For someone who likes schedules a lot (read that as A LOT) it's pretty liberating to not know what comes next.
Happy New Year to you and yours. Go vegan, stay vegan.