When I lived in Atlanta, I was the queen of New Year’s resolutions. I would always have big projects I wanted to accomplish, trips I wanted to take, adventures I wanted to go on. I had two or three big goals, like hike 500 miles or do my first endurance ride on my horse, and a litany of other, smaller self-improvement goals. I did this because I was fundamentally unhappy living in Atlanta and I needed a lot of projects and accomplishments to distract myself from the fact that I did not like where I lived or the kind of life I was living.
This new year is different. I moved back to my hometown on a remote island, and I’m finally, for the first time since my early twenties, living the way I want- close to nature, close to family. I hated the suburbs and I’m thrilled to have escaped them. This year I didn’t need to make a laundry list of projects. I didn’t write a single thing down.
Every day I’m happy to live here, even when it blows 65 mph and the rain sounds like a power washer on my bedroom window all night. I’m sure I go on about how happy I am to the point that it gets annoying, but I was unhappy for 14 years and that is a long time to be unhappy. I’m taking some time to revel in my new life.
This year I am content. There are a lot of unknown, even scary things, happening in the world. Our country has become a place I don’t recognize with all the division and ugliness between people. I am concerned about the pandemic, mostly that the cure will be worse than the disease. Corporations are making money hand over fist while small businesses are going under. I don’t like it. But at least during this time of unknowns I am close to family in a place of unbelievable natural beauty.
If I had to name a resolution this year, it would be to get my new house looking like a home instead of a vacation rental. The inside looks great, mostly because it came fully furnished and nicely decorated, and we’ve added our own photos and personal items to make it our own.
For the past 3 months, since moving in, our carport area under the house was full of all kinds of things that either didn’t fit or didn’t belong inside the house. We’ve finally gotten it *mostly* organized. Not having a garage or a shed has taken some adjustment, but we’ve gotten our tools and garage type things in some semblance of order. It looks like a local house now, not a vacation rental.
The yard, on the other hand, has not a single flower planted or any indication that full timers live here. It’s just the usual scrubby grass that grows in the sandy soil here and a few overgrown cedar trees.
My dad helped us trim the lower branches off the cedars and make a little grove where we can plant flowers and make a pretty spot in the yard. It’s not pretty yet, but it will be. I’ve started a border of shells that I’ll add to every time I walk on the beach. The plan right now is to plant rose bushes in this spot. They do well here in the sandy soil and salt air. It’s hard to find things that will withstand salt tide.
We’ve put up bird feeders and they attract a TON of birds. We joke about going bankrupt buying bird seed because they go through it so fast. We do enjoy watching them, though.
I have a spot picked out for a garden as well. It’s small, and it will be in containers. We live close to the water, which is wonderfully scenic, but it also means that we get standing salt water in our yard during hurricanes. If I have a traditional garden in beds or plots, I risk losing all my hard work every hurricane season. Containers can be moved to higher ground. It’s a lot of work, but you don’t get to live in a place as pretty as this without paying a price.
My goal for 2020 is to work on my yard and make it obvious that someone lives here full time. I envision flowers and seashell borders and bird houses. It will take much longer than a year for it to look like I want, but the fun is in doing it little by little.