A few days ago I made a big confession to my husband. I admitted…I’m not happy. It has nothing to do with him, he’s an amazing husband and I love him to pieces, it has everything to do with this place called Florida. I know…I know…but it’s FLORIDA! How can you NOT love Florida? My answer? It’s easy. I’ve lived here for nearly 26 years and it’s been miserable. It is overwhelmingly hot. It’s excessively expensive. The residents here are rude, demanding, entitled and retired. I just don’t “click” here in Florida. I told him I feel like I’m putting the puzzle pieces of my life together and it’s not fitting properly. I feel like I’m squishing and smushing and forcing pieces together and it’s working but one day I’m going to look at my giant puzzle of life and realize that even though it’s together it doesn’t look quite right. I’ll have flowers on top of clouds and oak trees under the ocean and an Orangatan in the middle of the Sahara Desert. It will all be pieced together but it just won’t make sense. That’s how I feel that my life is going to be when I’m an old woman. Sure, I’ll have my family and my career and my home and my memories but there will be things about it that just don’t make sense. The first is, “Why did I live in a place that makes me so unhappy?” Right now I would say I’m here because I’m afraid of failing somewhere else. Sometimes at home my husband will look at me and say, “What’s wrong?” and I’ll tell him it’s nothing. That’s not entirely true and he knows it but what can I say? “I’m just thinking about Florida and how much I dislike it?” Sometimes it’s bad enough to bring tears to my eyes. It’s not enough to make them actually fall but it’s enough to make them well up.
I don’t like the 365 days of heat and sweat. I don’t like not being able to experience Fall and Winter. I don’t like the joy being sucked out of Summer (It’s Florida. It’s ALWAYS Summer. It’s nothing special anymore.) I don’t like the daily 4:30pm rain showers. I don’t like that my dog doesn’t like to go outside because it’s too hot. I don’t like that there is no history. I don’t like that the average age is 63 years old. I don’t like that people whose hands shake too bad to sign their name are given a driver’s license and keys to a car. I don’t like that every single person in town seems to know either me or my family from some point in the last 26 years. I don’t like the memories of being teased, picked on, ridiculed, bullied and pushed around my entire childhood. I don’t like the memories of horrible experiences and heartbreaking circumstances. I don’t like the excessive expensive of living in a place that has nothing to offer me but the beach. I don’t like feeling like my identity and sense of “self” is slowly being stripped away. I also don’t like that the only good picnic place is the beach. I can’t have a picnic at a park in Florida. Why not? Well…
- My dog isn’t allowed. It’s true. The parks here don’t allow me to take my puppy so he stays at home. Honestly, even if he was allowed he hates going outside in Florida. He’s sad too. Ok, brutally honest, there is one park that allows me to take my dog but it’s also the same park that the homeless people gather at and there’s something not quite right about having a picnic around hungry homeless people. The irony of that is depressing.
- Mosquitos. It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night, there are mosquitos. It’s always humid so there are always mosquitos. They bite. It’s awful.
- Ants. Enough said.
- 4:30pm rain showers. 89% of the time (that’s my own statistic based on my best guess after 26 years of life here) it rains at approximately 4:30pm. Talk about ruining a good mid-afternoon picnic!
I want a place like this to picnic at…
Isn’t it beautiful?!? The bright green grass. The water that runs by the field. The city buildings in the background. This place? It’s called Railroad Park. I know…I know…if you know me or if you have read my blog before you probably know that I love trains. I already loved trains but after the first night I met my husband I love them even more. He lived not too far from the railroad and we could always hear the train going by. I could cuddle up to him and listen to the train and somehow to me it was peaceful and it was relaxing and it was reassuring. It was something about the consistency of the train coming by, the whistle cutting through the eery silence of the dark of night, it was beautiful.
There is a train that drives by the edge of this park. There’s also free wi-fi in the park. I can take my puppy. I can have a picnic. There are little cafe’s and coffee shops nearby.
The pieces are starting to seem like they would fit. It seems like maybe the flowers would be on the ground and the trees in the fields and the fish in the ocean and that maybe my puzzle of life could make sense at the end. Orangatan’s don’t like the desert you know, they are too hairy for all that heat.