Community Connections

Moving away from home has its ups as well as it downs. New setting, fresh faces, newly discovered routines are all reasons for excitement, but what happens once the dust settles? Your sense of newness has now been accustomed to what is now your daily life. What do you miss? At times, it’s the very thing you wanted to move away from, your community.

When I decided to move back home this last time around, one of the things I was most excited for was once again having that sense of familiarity around me. Not only did I yearn to be around familiar relationships, but I was excited to get involved. As a kid I had always seen myself giving to the community that raised me, so once I got back, I made sure that it had been on the top of my list of goals. I wanted to make sure that I got involved in a way that was through some sort of passion of mine. Whether it would be through the arts, working with children or the elderly, handing out food the homeless, or cleaning up our streets. My mind was set to find a way to volunteer my time and services to making the city a little bit better than it was yesterday. Had anyone told me that a pandemic was going to hit and that it would take that to spark the change that was needed in order to begin, I would have laughed in your face and told you that maybe you’d been watching one too many sci-fi thrillers.

COVID came by and with one swoop, pulled the cloth out from under us. Some of us were tipped over by it, crashing to the floor, left confused and unable to pick up the pieces, while others remained relatively unscathed, still standing in the same spot as if nothing ever happened. Yet, every single one of us walked away with change in one form of it or another. Being locked away for months all we had was time. Time to do all the things we had been craving to do, the time to think, the time to reevaluate life. It’s of no surprise that once we were let back out into the world, I didn’t last very long working the job I had prior to everything happening. I had spent so long enjoying my days and being constantly reminded about how short life was and how unexpected death could come, that I was no longer satisfied doing what I was doing. I was miserable. I felt over worked due to the shortages in staffing and supplies, and underappreciated. After a long and crazy shift, I walked away and never went back, vowing to myself to find a way to produce enough income to sustain myself and that would make me happy.

Quitting that job opened up a whole new set of opportunities. I once again had the time to do what I wanted to do, and what I wanted was to make time work for me. I took the last little bit of cash I had left and invested it into an idea I thought would work. I created a product to sell and to my surprise, it took off fairly quickly. I wasn’t too shocked that it was doing well, I was more shocked at the fact that it had been relatively easy. All I had to do was let go of what no longer was working for me to make room for what I wanted. The Universe works is magical ways, and I say this because it was through this newly founded business of mine that I ended up meeting someone who would later end up being key to my integration into the community.

It was my very first showing as a vendor and after a few hours, and many successful exchanges, I began taking apart my area in order to get ready to leave. It was then that I met this wonderful human being and after a bit of interaction I decided to gift her one of my products and told her that if she ever needed where that came from, she knew where to call. And she did. Not only had she become one of my regular clients, but it was through an invitation of hers that I discovered my love for yoga. It was through her that I was asked to volunteer at a local art exhibition in the city, and it was again, through her, that I was invited to be on the committee in regard to our city clean-up as well as to help feed the homeless.

Connecting with my community has been something that I have been striving to do for years. I feel that since moving back, the pieces to many of my life’s adventurous puzzle pieces have been falling right into place. I am at the start of this new journey and the excitement is high. I can’t help but imagine all the treasurable moments that are going to come from this new direction I have taken in. I can’t wait to meet people that are riding that wave that I’m on right now, those that are on my life frequency, who little by little will help change our community with me.

Sweet Home NJ

Perspective is a funny thing.

I had a friend of mine reach out to me recently curious as to why I moved back to NJ. It’s a question I get asked pretty frequently. This friend of mine says, “I always wanted to move away from here. I hate this place. I’m shocked because you were one of the few to actually get away.”

I once hated this place too. When I left I told myself that I would never move back but yet here I am. I had gotten away and yet I still came back. Its been 11 months since I moved back and although the beginning was a bit rough, nothing went as planned, I can’t say I regret it. It’s been a great support being around my family and close friends throughout this pandemic. Honestly, in that aspect, I feel as though my timing in moving back couldn’t have been any better.

Removing the pandemic from from this equation, I have always enjoyed certain hobbies here in NJ with more frequency than let’s say I ever did in Florida. Things like going for walks, camping, or even going to the beach I’ve done more here. I hadn’t realized how much the heat and humidity stifled much of my wanting to do things outdoors. I spent a total of 12 years in various parts of Florida and although the scenery was much prettier than what you may find in South Jersey, the constant heat with only a couple weeks of a break once a year really killed all motivation to ever want to do anything outdoors.

Since moving back I’ve gotten to enjoy winter, spring, and summer seasons again. Next up is my favorite, Autumn. These are all moments in time that I had once taken for granted. As a child, I always wanted it to be summer. I manifested it, and let me say, I wasn’t careful with what I wished for because I truly didn’t enjoy year-round summer living.

Those last 12 years of my life away from home I did a lot of working on myself. Some willingly, some of it came by surprise. All of it has molded me and focused my mind and sight on what truly matters in life and this is why I can be back home and not feel hate for being here. The person who packed her car and left is not the same person who is here today. I love that. Will I be here forever? Most likely not, but who knows? Maybe I’ll make this my hub while I take to the world and do some traveling. All I know is that I’m currently enjoying the ride here at good ol’ New Jersey. Living on this little island, still living my beach life, I’m choosing to look at my time here as the glass being more than halfway full. Although many have been yearning to get away, I am blessed to be back.