For the first time in years, I feel happy and optimistic about the future. That may sound extreme but, the whole time we lived in Atlanta, I felt stuck. I never wanted to live here, but did want to be in a relationship with my now husband, so I took a chance and came with him. I had two children here, had wonderful friends and a fabulous job, but I was never happy here. There was always something missing. I always felt like a fish out of water in Atlanta.
Yesterday we sold our house in Georgia and closed on a house on Hatteras Island. I am finally, after 14 years, getting out of Atlanta. We can’t move until October, because the house we bought is a vacation rental and legally we have to honor the rentals on the books for the rest of the season. But come October, I’ll be a full time resident of Hatteras Island!
It was not an easy process. I’ll spare you the boring details, but all kinds of things went wrong with the sale of my Georgia house. If I weren’t dead set on leaving, I would have given up. The closing on the N.C. house also came dangerously close to not happening. We were down to the literal minute in getting the paperwork handled. I felt physically sick all day yesterday, watching the clock until 4 pm when everything would be finished. Of course, because nothing is ever easy, it got dragged out til 5 pm, which had me near puking from anxiety.
Now that it’s over I feel the excitement of starting a new life. My kids and my husband have never lived in a small town before. They’ve also never lived at the beach. For years I’ve watched other people start the process of living their “dream life-” buying land, building their dream home, starting a hobby farm, moving overseas, moving into a sailboat, and all sorts of other scenarios that they dreamed of and worked for. Now I’m finally getting to live my dream- to live on a remote barrier island that is to me the most special place on earth.
There is no other life I would rather live, not even living on a horse farm. My husband and kids have no interest in living on a horse farm, but we can all embrace island life. We can go to the beach, fish, surf, dive, kayak, and hopefully be embraced by the tiny community there. My kids will get to grow up amidst spectacular natural beauty. More importantly, they will have a deep connection to the land. They’ll get to hang out with my father and brother, both of whom are professional fishermen, making their living on the sea. That’s a unique and threatened way of life, and I want my kids to experience it before it’s regulated out of existence.
For the past 14 years, we’ve only visited my parents on the island once a year. The drive is long, and it’s hard to miss work, but the real reason is that every time I went home, I found it miserably difficult to leave. It was so hard to leave, and so emotionally draining, that I didn’t want to go at all. It was a running joke in my family that when we left Hatteras and drove back to Atlanta, I would complain the entire way. Once we hit the outskirts of the city, I would really let go and let everyone in the car know just how pissed off I was about having to leave the island and come back to the city. Well, no more! This time I’m going home to stay!