making the best of where i am

i woke up this morning after having some very vivid dreams about moving to jersey (where i spent my high school & early college years) to a fabulous old house i used to live in with lots of big rooms…that house was in a cute little town of freehold (bruce springsteen’s “hometown”, which isn’t so small anymore)…but in my dream it was on the beach (which, as i recall, was only about a half hour away from freehold…correct me if i’m wrong, my friends-who-still-live-there). it was just a gorgeous dream. made me wake up with a strong yearning for that kind of joy: the joy of living somewhere beautiful where you are truly happy.

i have not pulled any punches about how i feel about where i am living now. i hate this city. not the people, there are some really awesome people here…but there’s great people everywhere so there’s nothing special about that…but just the energy here brings me down. high crime, high heat for months at a time, ugly environment nature-wise and even architecturally…this city has some of the worst air in the nation, and there’s little to no nature left here in the actual city limits, which is a great sprawling city that continues to grow in leaps and bounds annually…though the economy has slowed it some recently.

i moved here after living an entire year literally in nature. no town, but out in the middle of forest land. it was a rough move that i suppose i still have not gotten completely over. when i used to visit this city during my life living in nature, i used to say that the energy here was literally palpable…dead energy…life-sucking (vs where i was living which was just full of living energy that made me feel soooo good). i could literally feel it physically. no joke. and its not just contrast of city vs nature. because i used to also visit san fran a lot during that time…and there was a vibrant energy there, despite the fact that it was also a city. i suppose its because S.F. has the beach and all the energy of so many really vibrant people there with all the wonderful architecture and things to do and see that make san francisco just tingle with life. i wouldn’t want to live there, its far too expensive, but i love visiting S.F.

but this city i live in now…there’s only a couple areas of town that i can feel that sort of energy, beauty and life. most of the city is just ugly and dull.

but this is where i live and where my kids are being raised. and so i do what i can to make it work for me. i dive into project after project to bring the life and energy to this city that i so desperately need in my life.

but its beating me down. i feel sometimes like i’m fighting a losing battle. its damn near impossible to get things going and sustain them. i’ve tried so many things. and some are successful for awhile, but they always seem to dwindle. activities, groups, classes, organizations…its so friggin hard to get them going and keep them going. it feels like a constant uphill battle. literally.

but i keep trying. i’ve never in my life lived in a place that i couldn’t make work for me. its just taking me decades to get it to work here. i guess i’ve just lived in some pretty damned amazing places before. (well, living in sicily and okinawa IS pretty ding dang awesome! N.C. too.) i even liked jersey, although my parents hated it with the passion i dislike where i am now. i suspect that was because i was a teen and saw it from different eyes. i had a rockin social life back then, and my friends were my life. and honestly, jersey IS a gorgeous state. they don’t call it “the garden state” for nothing.

anyway back to my topic “making the best of where i am.” i have to. i find myself sinking in despair after dreams like i had this morning…knowing that i cannot find that sort of feeling here. but i must. i think perhaps the way to make this work is to move our family to the outskirts of town or into the foothills to where there is nature and beauty. my soul yearns for it. and we’d still be close enough to still have family be a part of our lives. that is what keeps me here. my whole family and my husband’s whole family are all here. and that is something i missed out on growing up and i swore i wouldn’t allow that with my own kids. i wouldn’t change my childhood for anything but i do feel a loss from not knowing any of my extended family…my children won’t have that feeling.

but getting a new house won’t be happening anytime in the near future. money is a huge issue and we are having problems even with monthly bills. but we survive and we keep on keepin on. and i am determined to find a way to add to our income to the point that we are able to have some of the things that i yearn for…to live in a beautiful house in a beautiful area, to be able to travel with the kids all over the country and the world. to be able to make the world our school. oh the things that i want to show my kids and my husband! someday.

but i don’t want life to be too easy either…i do believe strongly that financial struggles like we have do indeed build character. i don’t want my kids growing up with everything handed to them, everything easy. i believe strongly that that is a great disservice to a child. life isn’t easy so i am very open with them about how we just cannot afford to do some of the things that they want to do, or get the things that they want. and i’m ok with that. as long as its not done in a stressful way that burdens the child with worries. my attitude is now and always has been that everything will always work out somehow. it always does. even my pessimistic husband is starting to see that. 🙂

and so i must make the best of where we are, physically and socially and financially and psychologically. i must make my joy here. somehow. i must. yes, i will. i have it within me to do this. i just haven’t figured the details all out quite yet, but i will.

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