I’ve always wanted to live at the beach. I grew up less than an hour from Virginia Beach and an hour and a half from the famous Outer Banks, North Carolina, which is where I spent pretty much every single weekend of my life during the summer months from ages 2-20. I’ll give it to ya, mountains are beautiful, but given the choice I’ll take a coastline each and every time.
In 2011, my now-husband and I moved from southeastern Virginia (where I was born and raised and where to we both attended college) to northwestern Virginia. I’d lived in the 757 area code my entire life and was excited to see something new, not to mention the bliss of being newly-engaged. Why not move? My college friends had scattered to various places, none really settling too near one another, I had zero desire to go back to the city in which I grew up and Rory (my husband) had friends from high school and college that were back in or very near his home town. We were in Warrenton, Virginia from July 2011 to August 2017 and it’s where we really built our foundation. We had friends, we had (his) family and easily found gainful employment.
Fast forward. Life, life, life. Then in June 2017 an opportunity arose in Florida for my husband to take a job close to where his brothers and parents had all moved, in 2014 and 2016 respectively. YES! BEACH LIFE! The dream is finally coming true. We took the leap, much to the chagrin of my parents. I was already 3.5 hours away from them and was about to make it 11+ … with their first grandchild … who was only 7 months old at the time. As some parents do, mine – particularly my mother – took it personally. I wasn’t moving to a beautiful beach town, something I’d wanted for, you know forever, I was moving away from her. (Cue the eye roll.) This couldn’t be further from the truth, we had the opportunity to fulfill a dream, living at the beach … and as an added bonus my husband’s family was already established there. But the decision wasn’t about choosing one family over another.
So here we are. Florida. We’ve been in Saint Augustine for 17 months now and it’s fantastic. For the most part. I had no idea that making friends as an adult would be such a daunting, difficult thing to do. Honestly, when we first moved I didn’t even think I was going to have any interest in new friends. We’re a pretty tight knit family and I figured the 15 of us would be all I needed. But, you know, everyone has their own “thing” and sometimes hanging with the family can be grating. We all have different interests. Sometimes I want to do things that no one else wants to do and vice versa. Shit! I’ve got to get some friends.
Our daughter just turned two this month so it’s not as if she has school friends and I could in turn bond with their parents. My husband works for a pretty well known insurance provider handling home owners claims so his closest “co-worker” is about two hours away. I work for a large auto dealership and there are few people I’ve been able to click with. Don’t get me wrong, I get along with 99.99% of the people in my workplace, I just don’t necessarily want to spend time with them outside of work. How did Ron Swanson (Parks & Rec) put it, “workplace proximity associates”. Sure the library has story time and there are other community activities for kids that I could maybe meet some people I have something in common with but those activities are not designed for PEOPLE WHO HAVE JOBS! All of the story time, music time, name a _____ time for kids is scheduled at like 10am on a Tuesday morning. Who the hell can make it to that?! What about us parents that have to, you know, work?
Sure, college and early twenties were easy: go to a bar, a festival, a sporting event and you’re bound to strike up a conversation with someone. But as an established adult? With a small child? Options are pretty much limited to your work environment. Sure I could take the plunge and join some sort Tinder app for friends, but call me old fashioned … I’m just not comfortable with the idea. For one thing, I do not trust easily and two, the older I get the more introverted I become. When I was in college I would talk to anyone that would listen. Now as a thirty-two year old woman, I’m much more reserved and don’t like to do things on my own. If I go to a fitness class, I’m in the back of the room, avoiding eye contact. Go to a paint and sip night! Sure, I’ll do that … if someone I know wants to tag along with me.
I had a little emotional breakdown a couple of months ago with my mother-in-law about this predicament and the only advice she could offer was, “hang in there, it WILL get better. Once Stella starts school, you’ll be overrun with tiny people having slumber parties and soccer games, you just have to be patient.” Luckily I have found a couple of gals (yeah, I said gals like it’s 1932) at work that I have bonded with. It didn’t happen over night and we don’t do things together very often but I’m getting there.
I warned anyone reading my posts on my “about” page that most of my entries may as well begin with “Dear Diary”. I write to vent and if anyone sees something I’ve said and can relate then oh happy day! If you’re in the same boat, don’t be discouraged, you’ll get there. From what I’ve heard, patience is a virtue.