Breathe in, breathe out. I stand by the shores of the ocean, listening to the waves lap upon the sandy shore. Breathing in, I smell the saltwater and feel the sunshine warm upon my skin. I take it all in. There’s no place but here. This is it. This is my happy place.
Hitting pause on the stresses and challenges of life, I take it all in. I watch my dog wade into the water beside me. He’s full of life and joy. After playfully rolling in the sand, he looks up at me open-mouthed, and I swear he’s smiling. It’s his happy place too.
I can’t imagine my life pre-ocean. The days where I took trips to the Caribbean to smell the ocean and feel the soft sand between my toes. When the closest beach was more than 30 minutes away from my doorstep and over-crowded by the flocks of people from a several-hour radius. Now I drive 15 minutes to be engulfed in the blue skies and waters.
Days are filled with mountains, trees, trails, and beaches – lockdown or not. The air feels different here. It feels clearer, warmer, like every day is a new beginning. Each day feels fresh and renewed. I cannot help but bask in the beauty every single day.
Do What Feels Right.
When I moved here, it was a massive life change. I knew that life as I knew it was about to completely change. Was it going to be for the better? Might it have been for the worse? It might have been, but thankfully it wasn’t. Frankly, I would have never known until I took the plunge.
What was the worst-case scenario in taking the plunge? I probably would have just moved back to Ontario. It would have been easy to pack up from my rental and run back to the comfort of my previous years, especially during a pandemic. Yet, through the few challenging, emotional days I faced, I stayed. It felt right. For the first time in many years, my restless soul felt free and at home.
So, I bought a home. I knew I could because I knew I was settled. In the past, I would typically face the six-month itch. Whenever I moved somewhere (a job, a city, a new apartment) I would start to feel the itch. That uncomfortable feeling that it was time to move on, that something just didn’t fit quite right, much like most people’s denim will feel post-lockdown.
Yet here on the East Coast, I wake up every day and breathe in that air and feel home.
Not A House, But A Home.
I’ve always said that there’s a difference between a house and a home. One provides us shelter, yet the other provides us comfort. Any house (apartment, condo, etc) can become a home if you want it to. It’s funny too because through all the renovations I did, this house already felt like home before then.
The day I took possession of my house, I had wonderful assistance from neighbors that had quickly become friends. I remember as I ran to the rental for the last load with my muscle-men, I left the door to the house unlocked. First of all, I live on the East Coast, not downtown Toronto, and second of all, I was moving from just a block over.
As the guys unloaded the truck, I walked in my front door to my boss (and friend) popping out of my living room. “WELCOME HOME,” she yelled. Once I got over the fact I almost peed myself, we gathered in my living room, ordered a pizza, and raised a glass of champagne to cheers to not just a house but HOME ownership. It’s still one of my favorite moments since I moved here.
From the moment that donair and champagne were shared in that living room among friends, it felt like home. It was always a house but the warmth of friends, newly-adopted family, photos, and my favorite scents made it feel like home.
Breathe In, Breathe Out. Find Your Happy Place.
Do you feel like a square peg in a round hole? Always chasing that next thing and feeling uncomfortable once you get there? While I do believe that the answer to a lot of this is self-awareness and working on yourself, it might also be that you ARE a square peg in a round hole. I had no idea until my mind was opened to it.
Feel like running across the country (or the world)? Curious about switching jobs? Is the feeling nagging you so deeply in your gut that it feels like your soul is yelling at you? Then maybe you just haven’t found your happy place yet. When you do, you’ll know.
In your happy place, it will feel like the sand in your toes and the saltwater in the air does to me. Do the self-work, spend some time soul-searching, listen to your gut, and find your happy place.
It exists for you too.