Good morning, Monday morning. Woke up today with a few table scraps in my head, enough I think for an actual post. That term, “table scraps”, it’s ancient, archaic. But then, I suppose I am so it makes no nevermind. Hey! There’s another one of those, “Yo dude, what the hell you talkin’ about? English man, English!”
There are 2 drafts sitting, waiting for me to give them a little cpr (creative, purposeful, rejuvenation) and yet I cannot bring myself to work on them. Call me cruel, but I simply don’t have it in me today. Instead, I’ve got those aforementioned scraps – a few leftovers from the weekend.
Saturday, for a huge number of people, is customarily the first day of the weekend. A day off. And so it was for me. The morning was somewhat typical. Relaxing in that certain way when you realize you are doing a little of what you actually planned just not with the intensity you originally thought… I got up early but not quite as early as I had planned. Did a little work on the computer but couldn’t quite get to writing a post. Exercised but left out a few of the usual, typical moves. Finally picked up the bass again and took longer than it should have to make my fingers remember a simple song learned only a year ago. It was enough though because, after all, I had a list and only so much Saturday.
The next item on “the list” was to take Zoey, our black lab to town. To walk. We always begin our walks at Old Fort Park. Then we head into town, walk a few blocks, wind our way along Riverside Dr. ultimately returning to our place of origin, Old Fort Park. Most times these walks are uninterrupted by small talk with a familiar face. That’s because, after 9 years of living in this town, we don’t know many people. Hell, we don’t really know anyone!
Back to Saturday. The 3 of us arrived at the park. There were people milling about up at the ruins (hence the “Old Fort of Old Fort Park”); we could hear the strains of live music coming from Canal St., the main street in our historic district. Canal had been blocked off for some sort of art fair (again) and by the time we arrived, appeared to be winding down.
As Zoey began our walk and concluded her business, we spotted a young woman and her 3 little yorkie dogs. (I used to call those kinds of dogs blender material lol). But these 3 were not the typical yappy, “hey get outta here ya little rodent” dogs. Whadya know! Here was one of those rare familiar faces. My SO and I had met this young woman only a couple of times in the past 2 years and it had been at least a year and a half since we had last spoken to her. Although we had never exchanged names, we easily picked up the conversation with the observation that she was once again walking 3 dogs instead of one. (Backstory: a year and a half prior, her parents were preparing to move to New Mexico taking 2 of the dogs with them. Mom’s back in town for a few months, hence the threesome reunited.)
The little tidbits I present here are but window dressing for an insight, a revelation, a glimpse, a clarification, a light bulb going off, a…..validation(?). Our conversation seemed to quickly go from polite superficiality to the more personal as we all shared stories of living in various locations and what stood out as our favorite places. She spoke of her parents living in New Mexico for the last year and a half and how happy they were in their new “home” town. During this conversation, she mentioned how her Dad had never liked living in Florida and how, when they made the move to New Mexico, he felt as if he had finally “found his people”. I will be forever grateful to Lanie for articulating for my own self what it has been like for me living in this quaint little beach town. As nice as it is, I have never, ever felt as if I belonged. I had not “found my people” here either.
I brought up the concept of the body always “knowing” first. How our brains very often rationalize, for lack of a better description, our instincts. “Physicality” was Lanie’s word for it. For me, the feeling, the “physicality”, the “knowing” that I did not belong/fit in here never left me despite my familiarity with this place. And now for the first time, I felt validation that it wasn’t me, it was “them”. Acknowledging that there is more to finding a place in which to settle, to call home, than a pretty setting or less congestion or proximity to a beach…or sunshine 363 days of the year, give or take. Why had I not trusted my body and acknowledged/admitted sooner that the place we vacationed for so many years was just that. A place to vacation. Both my SO and I are by all accounts pleasant, likeable individuals and yet neither one of us has established any friendships here. Freakish if you ask me, particularly when he is a roger! Despite all of our figuring and planning prior to moving here, despite the lists of priorities, the pros and cons, despite all of that, you simply cannot know what it is like to live in a place until you move to that place.
[I struggle to find the proper words, the sentences that will make all of this coalesce. Let me try and put on a scottian cap and simplify. I have struggled with the idea of moving out of Florida for years. We moved here with a “plan” but the plan didn’t work out like it was supposed to on paper. (does it ever?) Now it has become a matter of readjusting (the) priorities. That and paying closer attention to what my body is trying to tell me.]
After our enjoyable, enlightening chat with Lanie, my SO, Zoey and I walked towards town. We walked a block on Canal St., then hung a left onto Magnolia. There on the corner, in what is known as Christmas Park, was the source of the music we had been hearing in the background. A four piece band playing blues, and “classic” rock. They were good. There weren’t many people listening as everything was winding down but we sat there anyway and listened to the last few songs. As we continued our walk, we talked more about the conversation we’d had in the park with Lanie who, herself, had recently made the decision to move with her SO to the town her parents now lived. The bottom line for me is that in talking with a person hardly known to me in the conventional sense, a practical stranger, I was able to come away with a clarity I have kept occluding with doubt. The clarity that fear is at the root of all evil. It is fear that keeps us from realizing our full potential. Fear and the notion that we have time.
Thank you Lanie for reminding me that fear keeps us all from finding a better, happier life, and that if I still have at least one more move in me, maybe I too can finally “find my people.”