The Florida Experiment

“To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.” ~Unknown

Was it a dream?  Did I just spend 11 glorious weeks in Florida soaking up the sunshine, meeting new people, exploring new places and feeling inspired by the unpredictability of it all?

I felt called to be a "snowbird" this winter.  My children live in Florida and the ache from missing them was all consuming.  I needed to be with them!  I had no expectations or understanding what all that time would look like.  My husband would not be with me (much of the time).  I was forging a path on my own.

When you strip away your regular day to day routine and create a new normal, you are making way for the miraculous.  These were my experiences as well as my takeaways ~

I rented a little apartment in a great location.  A few well chosen accessories made me feel at home.  I can create a sense of home when on the road and you can too!

Miami, Palm Beach and southern Florida in general has a buzzy art and antique scene for a reason!  I went to antique shows, big and small, art openings, museums, sculpture gardens, fundraisers, wellness events, outdoor concerts.  The possibilities were and are endless!  That's what spoke to me ~ POSSIBILITY

The home design and fashion forward shopping opportunities alone could keep a girl busy for quite a while.  You never know where you are going to see that thing you didn't know you needed or the perfect piece for a project.

I have no problem eating in restaurants alone, so I did a lot of experimenting.  Everything was new, therefore everything was exciting!  Saint Ambroeus in Palm Beach and Latitudes in Delray Beach became two of my favorites.  I have become very independent and if I want to do something I do it.  I won't let not having a dinner date or friend with me stop me from trying new things.  People asked,  "weren't you lonely?"  I was alone but not lonely ~ huge difference.

I fell in love with the shear beauty and aesthetic of the place.  I was so tired of one gray day after the next.  You get spoiled by the natural beauty and richness of a place, but I sensed people did not take it for granted.  I also noticed everyone seemed just a little happier there.  The sunshine really does have a strong pull.  I felt courageous, going out there day after day discovering, moving out of my comfort zone, feeling grateful to be having this experience and living in each and every moment!

I tried to create somewhat of a routine.  I scheduled work hours.  I didn't want to act as if I was on vacation for so long.  Nothing good could come from that.  It always seems to lead to weight gain, so keeping up with my exercise was crucial.  You do want to look your best in the warm weather!

Wilson, the orchid, was my constant companion.  As long as Wilson was thriving, so was I.  He made it back to Philly and continues to bloom as I see a new bud developing.  I am taking it as a sign.

When you spend time alone, you go inward, you examine thoughts and feelings, truly becoming connected deeply to self.  There are huge psychological benefits.  It is self strengthening!  The most important relationship is the one you have with you.  If you are not comfortable being alone (and a lot of people are not), I highly recommend doing it.

"If you don't venture out ~ how will you find adventure?"

I also overcame a fear.  I don't love the water but damn it, I was not going to let it stop me from getting on a paddle board.  You have to ask yourself, "What's the worst that can happen?  What are you afraid of exactly?"  I can swim (I actually raced the butterfly when I was younger), but I didn't want to fall in the water, as it seemed dirty and I didn't know what was down there.  Fear of the unknown keeps us playing small, so jump in.  Be scared and do it anyway.  Maybe next year I'll stand up?

Solitude can be really restorative, but only on the condition that you have connection when you want it.  A social circle or support system is necessary for the "alone time" to heal rather than hurt.

I had my family, I had some good friends and I made new friends.  I sought out like minded people and found community.  I created a speaking engagement and had a design project.  I made things happen for myself partly because I willed it so and partly because I worked hard to let people know what I did and desired.

To live (beauti) FULLY is to follow your intuition, listen to the voice inside, step out of your comfort zone, take the road less traveled.   We are each a work in progress; it's never too late to create something new for yourself.  How do you know magic isn't on the other side of the unknown?

Is there something you are not doing because fear creeps in?



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