Sunday, May 17, 2015

One of my organized friends and I had lunch yesterday, and she brought up some things I had not thought of, and I was glad. I am looking for feedback so I can address the issues and fix them or risk them.

I found this site that looks like a good start as a point of reference.

The homeowner's rental agent, also a friend, is coming over Monday or Tuesday to discuss the terms of my lease with me. I have to check on a few things with my lawyer whenever I can get into see him.

But so far, no one I respect has said it is a crazy thing to do.

One thing is sure. I am taking this trip.

Friday, May 15, 2015

My whole life has been training for this trip. I always get weird before my birthdays because the women in my biological family don’t live very long. My biological mother died at 50, her twin sister at 53, and their mother at 56. So this birthday is especially important. I want to be able to do this for myself and live the life I want. I should have done it years ago, but I would have missed a lot of wonderful people, experiences, and lessons.

The best is yet unwritten, like the Natasha Bedenfield song says, and I am ready to write this story.

t is a story of transformation from stress, grief, sadness, depression to resilience, joy, hope, and love; about how I have learned to see myself differently because of my experiences throughout the past fifteen years.

There were many dark days when the only thing that saved me from driving over the bridge were stories of hope in magazines like oprah. I read travel and leisure and dreamed of running away. I have always dreamed of running away from my life, because I was not living my life. I was living someone else’s.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Once I get somewhere, I get pretty entrenched. Raised Catholic, I have lived in three areas in my entire life - Westchester County, Washington, DC, and Vero Beach, Florida. Those are all fairly affluent conservative places, where I never felt like I fit in.

I went along because it was comfortable and I tried so hard to win my parents’ approval. Looking back, I remember the exact place in life where I should have followed my dreams, but I did not know it was possible for me to walk away from my upbringing, being the proverbial bird in the gilded cage.

Now I am ready to try the geographical cure. People harp on about how doing it is a cop out, but since I have never done it, it's time for me to try. Is it possible there is somewhere else more suited to me? How will I know?

That’s the point of this adventure. I have a lot of things to figure out about myself, and I am having a difficult time in vero making changes. I keep running into walls, or fences, or gates.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

This trip is really starting to take form, and I am being methodical about attending to details. I’ve spoken to my dear friend, Charlene, who has done exactly what I want to do, and she is so vibrant and happy.

My other good friends did pretty much the same thing when they left England, cutting all ties. Stuart said this morning that he had dreams of the stuff they were keeping and shipping to the US would some how get lost or damaged so that they would really be free. I had dreams that this house burned down and I lost all my stuff and I was not even disturbed about it, obviously because I am so desperate to be free.

Even living in paradise gets boring if it’s where you live and work, and you forget how it looks from the eyes of tourists. Stuart reminded me today of how this has been a coping mechanism for me during the past fifteen years. A day has not gone by without me being grateful for the natural beauty and the kindnesses shown to me by people in this town. That being said, I need to see terrain other than the beach and the atlantic ocean.

Monday, May 11, 2015

More freedom came when I settled my dad's estate and distributed property to my brother. I gave him more than what he wanted because I was tired of carrying my parents’ lives around. It felt like I was carrying the weight of the world on my body, and I was. Living here, I have gained an enormous amount of weight because food was the only reliable, comforting thing in my life.

My sweet dog, Mimi, who was bequeathed to me by my parents, went to dog heaven almost three weeks ago, and that was my last little anchor to vero.

I am on what seems to be the correct combination of antidepressants and I need a crown on my right lower back tooth. And, all of a sudden, I have the itch to shed my past and invest in my future.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

My father brought us to Vero in 1971. I have lived here longer than anywhere else. I have made friends, fallen in and out of love, sat lonely by the ocean, taken care of both of my parents, and my dog, all while teaching third grade. I have survived kidney cancer, several major surgeries, a stroke, and major depression, all while taking care of everything else over the past fifteen years.

That is why I am sorely in need of a different perspective, where I am not seeing ghosts on the streets.

I got my first taste of liberation when I finally moved out of my dad’s house in an “exclusive” gated community on the barrier island, and settled in my little house of healing over the bridge.

Thursday, May 7, 2015


For the first time in fifteen years, I have been waking up without having to worry about who I will find dead. That worry has preoccupied so much of my mind, and I am glad I had Buddhism, my friends, and all kinds of diversions to get through this time of sadness and grief. I am so grateful to be sitting here right now, writing this down, because there were many times when I wondered who would die first. Me or dad or Mimi.

I drove to Jaycee beach and walked the entire boardwalk. People were still swimming in the ocean. As I drove into my driveway, I saw the little girls across the street, playing with a neighbor's new dog.

So now I am really sad, feeling a cry coming on. I miss Mimi so much. My Aunt Lulu told me today that when her son lost his St. Bernard he was in bed for three days. I guess the mornings and evenings are the worst. I am glad I can feel it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


The sun is coming out, literally and figuratively.

Sent a query letter and my resume to a magazine based in Washington State, and said I would be happy to relocate.

What a cross country drive that would be. I could write about what matters to me and meet like minded people. This town is slowly making me stagnant. I need to get out for a while. See new things meet new people and all of that

As much as the past fifteen years here have been so trying, and as much as I hate anal picky people, I have learned to embrace the fences and gates that kept me safe, when my life was running amok.

I’ve learned that order is important, as well as how to keep going when everything is falling apart around me. Living here has shown me what slowing down looks like. This is a gracious, southern town. Manners matter, and people, usually us northerners, offend the natives all the time. I have learned how to ask for help, and what kindness looks like from friends and colleagues who are shining examples of it.

I have carried the weight of the world on my body for too long, and it’s time to shed it and pay attention to how my body is functioning, as I did for my sweet puppy.

Drove by the dog park today. I miss my sweet girl.

I need to get me off this island.

Friday, May 1, 2015


Someone once said that in order to be truly happy, you had to have a passion. Another sage said that when choosing a career, you should pick something you truly love, and you will never work a day in your life. Still another wise one said that when choosing this work, base your choice upon what it is you do when you are procrastinating, for this is what you truly love to do.

it has taken me nearly a lifetime to figure out this passion of mine. The only way i have been able to figure out my passion was with a relatively clear mind. How did i achieve this calm clarity? i wish i could tell you it was through meditation or marathons. That would be so glamorous. My clarity was achieved through the mind altering effects of a stroke. For years, i had worked hard to achieve this type of clarity, without much success, mainly because i refused to give up the things that created chaos.

Once i had the stroke, i was able to let go of so much, because holding onto it was so energy draining. No longer able to teach, my days are my own. This is necessary because i am healing from a lifetime of stress, illness, and toxicity.

I moved to Vero Beach fourteen years ago, after many years in Washington, DC. In the city, i was always chomping at the bit to get out of town and go the beach, which was nearly three hours away. Yet I made the effort regularly because i felt such peace by the beach. I was certain that when i lived next to the beach, I would spend all of my spare time at the beach.

How surprised I was to find out the difference between vacationing in a resort town and actually living and working in a resort town. If you're a snowbird in a resort town, it IS a relaxing experience to come back, time after time, year after year, to lounge on the beach, no matter what time of year it is. However, if you are someone with a full-time job in a beach town, your life is exactly like those people who are baking on the beach. They just get to forget about their mundane lives for two special weeks a year, where you live.

When i worked in an office in DC, far from the ocean, I stared at pictures of the beach every chance i got. they calmed me, not as much as actually being at the beach, but they still helped to show me there was a world of natural beauty out there somewhere.