It’s been about a year since we took a leap of faith and moved to Northwest Florida. We’d never been here before, and I still kind of smirk on the inside looking back at the whole experience. Then I kind of go numb and get a bit baffled by how quickly this year has gone. Lessons were learned, perspectives changed, and I probably have a dozen more smile lines from being in the sun so much. Well, there’s a bunch from just smiling a lot too.
Is it perfect? At times, yes, but sometimes no. Do I love it here? Yes. Especially at this time in my life. Do I always have a little queasy inner-guard up to not love a place too much or feel too settled because I don’t know how long we will be there? Yes. Do the beach and water blow my mind frequently? Hell yeah.
I don’t know how long we will be here, and honestly, I just decided to not think about that. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to give up all my worries to God, take it day by day, and while my thoughts are up there, give up control to him as well. In fact, moving here kind of triggered this mindset. And I think that’s contributed to my love for this area of Florida as well.
This has been the year of giving up control and expectations. And I kind of want to make it a yearly theme.
We never really planned or predicted this move here. We didn’t even fly down to visit. True story: When we were deciding whether or not my husband should take the job, we were watching Beach Front Bargain Hunt on HGTV. The episode was in Gulf Breeze, Florida, and in the opening credits, they showed people surfing by Pensacola Beach Pier. My husband and I looked at each other and said, “Sold. Let’s do it.”
Surfing makes you crazy like that.
And here we are a year later. In a tiny town where there’s not much other than a beach. (Yet it’s a freak of nature gorgeous one.) The shelling is unbelievable, there are fun waves every now and then, it’s quiet and the stars are super bright at night, people are incredibly nice, and the cost of living is cheap. And do not get me started on 30A which is just down the road.
Is life perfect since we moved here? Aww hell no. You will have the ups and downs in life regardless of location. Stresses, financial hassles, monotonous adult day to day tasks, quarrels, fights, self-doubt, loneliness, Levi tantrums, days when I find myself staring blankly at the wall while still in my sweaty workout gear a few hours post workout…trying to collect my thoughts or find my brain. And the darn comparison joy thief is always knocking at the door. Our pup, Kili, has really bad allergies here, mosquitos love me, there are jellyfish and algae in the water when it gets super hot out, and I am deathly afraid of ticks for some reason. I also am a bit uneducated in alligator whereabouts and behaviors which is why I haven’t investigated many hiking trails along the streams and rivers here. Which look gorgeous by the way.
There. I promise to always share that kind of stuff too. It’s not all butterflies and rainbows. (But there actually are lots of butterflies that migrate here, and I’ve seen some lovely rainbows.)
But, If I could sum up this past year in one word it would be…therapeutic. A slower, quieter, small-town pace of life, where I see a ton of stars at night, and there’s a jaw-droppingly beautiful beach just a quick drive away…I mean how could that not make me happy? It’s also been an absolute blast to be a mom here and watch Levi just cruise and develop a love for nature, the beach, and the ocean at such an early age.
So who knows what’s in store for us next. We are looking to possibly, maybe, perhaps, buy a house (we found two but they were immediately sold. Then another one was the perfect home for us but it was in a flood zone which made insurance put the home out of our budget.) So there’s that. My husband’s job could have us stay here for a really long time, or get up and move any moment. So there’s that too.
Now I kind of feel like writing this post might jinx us.
But, I’m not going to worry about it, continue to take it day by day, get to the beach as much as possible (even for a quick walk with Levi), embrace the highs and lows of it all, soak up the beauty, and see what happens.
I don’t really know if there’s a huge point to wrap up all of this, other than to share some thoughts about the move…since it’s been a while.
But I guess there is a point: Just know I’m a firm believer in leaps of faith, moving and experiencing new places, embracing the journey, and seeing how much you can grow or find yourself through it all.
Who knows, God might just place you in a spot that you never knew was the perfect spot for you at this time in your life. Or in a spot that will eventually lead you to your happy place…
And if you’re on the fence about a big move or job change, be sure to watch Beach Front Bargain Hunt Sunday Nights on HGTV
PIctured above: Some pinch me pics that make me oh so grateful in many ways.