I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would find myself living in southcentral Florida. 1,000 miles from where I was born, raised & spent most of my life. A full day's drive from my nearest relatives. In a completely different climate from what I was used to. Surrounded by strangers and unfamiliar way of life. Living where most people vacation took some getting used to; and it isn't all paradise despite what some may think. Yet here I am: blessed/crazy enough to be living in the deep south.
I miss my family. I occasionally get homesick for gator-less rivers and tall Ozark mountains. But those are things that I hold close to my heart and remember with deep fondness. Maybe someday I will visit again... This is home now. Enormous live oak trees draped with Spanish moss. Unbelievable blue skies with puffy, white clouds that reach all the way to heaven. Palm trees that sway in the breeze. Ocean to my right, and the Gulf to my left. 70 and even 80 degree "winter" days.
As my birthday draws near, I find myself reflecting on my life. How far I've come and how far I have to go. Mistakes and bad choices that I have made. Growth and the right decisions that I chose. Above all, the desire to do better, to be a better person in the future. To try harder. I'm in no competition with anyone else, just trying to improve the person that I am, and the mark I will leave behind... if any.
I think it's probably common to feel more comfortable in your own skin, and know yourself better, the older you get. At least, that's been true for me. I'm faaaaar from perfect, and definitely no role model for anyone, but I have come to accept and even appreciate who I am. What I will and will not stand for. And can truthfully say that I always have good intentions these days. Whereas before.... well, not always.
I don't live the life that some would want for me. I don't fit into neat little pigeon holes that others might like. Some may consider me a failure, in their eyes. The amazing thing is - I do not care about all of that anymore. I am what I am, and make no excuses. (another perk of age?) I'm good enough for me, and for God. That's all that matters as far as I am concerned.
If life provided us with "do-overs" there are only a handful of things that I would like to correct. But the fact is, we can only move forward. Looking back accomplishes nothing. Know that I feel regret for hurting people, and sorrow that I can not change it. All I have - is from this moment on.....
Nice to meet you. :)