A lot of life has happened in my almost one year hiatus. On Tuesday, January 5, Brenden and I arrived in Florida, marking the start of a new chapter in our book of shenanigans. Since leaving our home in New York I was terrified we’d made a big mistake. My dad’s goodwilled attempt to prepare me for life in the Tampa Bay area, when he advised me that the diversity of Astoria I’d grown accustomed to would surely not be a part of life in Tampa, only stoked my anxiety. Last year Brenden and I decided to leave the city we worked so hard to live and breathe in, the city we loved. We knew there would be no match for the explosive interculturality we loved in NYC, but our shared love of the beach and outdoor life carried us to buy a car, stuff it with as much as we could, and relocate to Tampa.
We have never been under any impression that the two cities are comparable. We both loved the ironic intimacy of city life and we’re pretty liberal. When we passed a Trump bumper sticker on the way into Tampa yesterday, along with all the earmarks of standard suburbia, ranch houses with ample distance between, scattered two story buildings, sprawling office complexes, low hanging billboards, the wave of fear that culture shock carries ripped through the front seat of our stuff-stuffed mini Honda.
But today we went to the beach. We touched white sand with our toes and we dipped our feet into the turquoise-tinted crystal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. We watched the water while we ate seafood on a deck in the sun. (Check out my review of Frenchy’s here.) It’s a new year and I’m still coasting on the loving energy I felt from seeing so many dear ones in such a short time on the way here. In the course of a week I saw parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and dear friends. Many of these people I’ve not seen since before I left VA for NY. These encounters were markers of time. With some time had stood still. Our last visit was seamless to this one. With others it was a meeting of strangers. While living in New York City I learned that time is like a minnow: it’s slippery, incredibly hard to catch, and it has a very short lifecycle. Every moment counts.
My Aunt Jim The Wise once told me that the greatest gift I could give was my time. That’s really stuck with me. I hope this year I will adjust to my new surroundings by spending more time communicating with my far away loved ones and finding ways to make new loved ones. I hope to godabove that I have really learned what I know I learned and that I apply that as I go forward. It’s a game changer. I don’t think I would’ve realized it so soon had it not been for New York.
It’s hard for me to meet new people and put myself out there. It’s hard for a lot of people. As I write going forward I might record my endeavors on this blog. It’s not easy being human, but it’s a lot easier when you have meaningful connections with other humans. If not now, then when?