Change is hard…moving tips

Big change...October 2020… I was terrified to move from Maine to Florida. What a gigantic leap, what a life change, what a potential “hot mess”…what if I lost my lifelong friendships, what if I couldn’t make new friends? What if I had daily “humid hair” I knew how deeply I would miss my daughter… my best friends… Kennebunkport Maine… my home for 26 years…

Packing, moving, selling a home, buying a new one… these are preoccupations that define a big change, a new direction, or at least keep your mind and body busy to the result of complete physical and emotional exhaustion at day’s end. It’s a big, scary, uncertain leap… but once we made that leap – each morning, a magnificent Florida sunrise would bring new light, along with it – hope, new energy to pour myself into the next step… and let go of a little more of the fear…of the FOMO.

What has it been like? Eye opening, arriving in the “fun time Sunshine State” where everything is wide-open versus Maine which was so tightly controlled, even closed during Covid, when “Vacationland” became staycationland. Greg and I have managed to stay safe, connected, to make healthy choices here in Florida – which are ample when you’re in such a temperature climate with plentiful outdoor dining, beaches, sports, activities, sightseeing…  especially in beautiful historic St Augustine! While some describe 2020 as their worst year EVER (isolation, quarantine, weight gain), ours became an adventure, a challenge… I believe there are no coincidences in life. Being closer to my mom in Florida, and my in-laws in Hilton Head, geographically speaking (we have always been close at heart) is an important result too.

I miss Maine at times, the familiar fuzzies when you bump into a friend at the Post Office or the market, the coziness of a fireplace watching a snowstorm. I miss my friends a lot… but I have met new people, fortunately, Floridians are friendly. My true Maine friends have remained just that – true-  it’s a very telling litmus test.

Relocating is like riding a roller-coaster, with big swings up – excitement – risk and reward – a sense of accomplishment, and some equally dramatic lows where you feel your heart may burst with longing for the familiar, the comfort of a well-loved friend’s smile. I have candidly cried more in the initial few months than I can recall… even my brother’s traumatic passing didn’t bring tears like this move (maybe I was being stoic for my family’s sake back then). But I have also laughed a lot… even cried happy tears when someone is kind and friendly to me, when I am invited to a social gathering, asked to play tennis or pickle-ball or go to happy-hour (which are plentiful here). Like being the new kid in school, when someone remembers your name, or actually invites to their cool lunch table… what a huge boost it makes… it matters…

The point of life, to me, is to nurture relations, to build others up, to show care for yourself and yours’, to create something special and uniquely yours, to respect and treasure our brief time here on this beautiful planet,  to make a positive impact, and ultimately – to leave this world better than you found it… that’s an ongoing challenge as the world continues to change… presenting really crazy challenges and big questions … is it better to stay home in order to stay safe? Or is it more important to go out and spread joy, to give good energy to others in need, and bring those you love up with you on your journey?

Florida (route word) is “full of flowers” – the very essence and etymology of the state’s name, lush tropical plants, proud palms, and a bouquet of colorful people as well. I still call myself a Mainer … not a Floridian, I’m a native New Englander, its in my veins and my DNA. I can have both, like Pooh Bear. I return to Maine annually, to my beloved friends and family there… and friends and family visit me here. And there is so much to explore in the Sunshine State!

There’s no need to fear change… I am happy to have made a leap of faith, it has stretched open my mind, torn at my heart, maybe made it a size bigger (ok, I’m SO not Grinchy), and caused me to truly prioritize what matters. It’s not about a place, or about “stuff”, or any moment in time… it’s all that you do and everyone that you love along the way.

“People of accomplishment rarely sit back and let things happen to them. They go out and happen to things.”
– Leonardo Da Vinci