This is not an after-Christmas, Christmas post about comfort and joy during the holidays. It’s about something else entirely.
If you had to choose between comfort or joy, which would you choose?
Years ago, when we first moved to Florida from Chicago, euphoria set in. Swimming in a pool and sporting a golden tan in March had never happened to me in all of my twenty-something years. What an adventure. The culture was different … very eclectic with people who lived there from all over the country. All new sights to see.
The gulf coast
Tropical Islands called “keys.”
Can’t forget my favorite place in the state …
(Castillo de San Marcos fort from the late 1600’s)
… the oldest town in the country, St. Augustine.
The residents in Florida weren’t as friendly as back home, but I was young and sociable, I figured I’d eventually make friends.
We settled into a job and household routine. Time off from work consisted of traveling to see family or visiting Florida vacation spots. Five years later, no friendships formed. The novelty of warm weather in winter wore off. I missed the change of seasons and my family and friends. I wanted to move back. We put our house up for sale, but then a personal tragedy made me realize we needed to stay. We were meant to be in Florida. I knew we needed it for growth, but wasn’t sure what that growth was supposed to be, at least not yet.
I used the next ten years to grow emotionally, mentally and spiritually, until moving back home called to my heart again. Except, another personal crisis came up that caused us to stay.
Two more years passed, and I was sure it was time for us to leave. No crisis this time, it just didn’t happen.
For the next ten years, every time I’d start to complain about Florida’s nonstop heat and lack of friendliness, I’d try to turn my focus on gratitude. One of the good things was the writer’s group I found after twenty years of living there. And, of course, I appreciated those rare few weeks when the weather cooled off in the winter. I loved my house, which we wouldn’t have been able to afford back in Chicago.
So, I settled into an isolated but comfortable routine.
Twenty-seven years and two months after we first moved to Florida, we finally took the opportunity to move back home.
Now, I’m no longer comfortable, and routine is shot to hell. We don’t own a nice house like back in Florida, nor can we afford any of the extras.
Instead, on many days I find myself shedding tears of joy. Life is no longer quiet and isolated, but filled with friends, family, love and laughter.
I have been forced to choose between comfort or joy. Which is better? Well, the comfortable routine always had me looking to some point in the future for happiness. So, if my years of self-growth taught me anything, it’s that money and things may be comfortable, but it’s no substitute for filling my life with happiness in the here and now.
Which would you choose?
P.S. Next week, I hope to post the reason why we moved to Florida all those years ago.