The Forgotten Coast

This post was first published in August of 2017, when we began our quest to discover how Florida got its coastal names. I was born on the Forgotten Coast, in the very small town of Port St. Joe. The beach, where I spent almost every summer of my childhood is just a few miles down the road. Because of a storm named Michael, you already know its name. This morning they are calling it ground zero as photographs of unimaginable devastation flood the internet. My heart aches for the people of Port St. Joe and Mexico Beach, and an entire region that will forever be altered.

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My entire family of more than 32 people live in the path that Michael took. They all survived, some with more damage to their homes than others, but they survived. So today, I re-post this with gratitude that my family was spared, but great sadness that a place filled with so much magic can be changed in an instant.  It is ironic that the Forgotten Coast is on the minds of many today. If it is own your mind, please consider a donation to the Red Cross to support much needed assistance.

The Forgotten Coast

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Finding Your People

Have you noticed how frequently the word “tribe” pops up in relation to women these days? It is a pretty cool buzz word that describes what a lot of us are looking for and possibly longing for at this stage of life. I think the “tribe” analogy applies to anyone, male or female, who might be struggling to find genuine connections after years of affiliations with co-workers. Like me, your core group, and the people you depend on the most, are likely your spouse, family and a few close friends. But, I believe it is necessary to explore beyond that group to find true contentment and fulfillment at this stage of life. So, how do you go about finding your new tribe during retirement?

women connecting (2)

From Google Images

Identify Your Needs

After the first few months of retirement our interactions with friends tend to change, due to declining common interests, or proximity, especially if we have relocated to a new environment. It is not uncommon for relationships to fall away when you no longer have work as the common denominator. Starting over is not easy, and it helps if you know what your needs are before jumping into a variety of new situations with a “let’s do this retirement thing” attitude. While this list is not comprehensive, it does include much of what motivates us to seek out connections.

  1. Validation
  2. Emotional support
  3. Structure, purpose
  4. Accountability
  5. Intellectual stimulation
  6. Learn new skills
  7. Reduce feelings of isolation
  8. All of the above

Seek Opportunities Which Support Your Needs

For example, if you need intellectual stimulation, you will likely look for a  group that discusses books, art, politics or current events. If you want to lose weight, train for a marathon, learn a new skill or kick a bad habit you might need accountability partners to help you stay focused. Understanding your need for structure and purpose might lead to volunteer work like tutoring and mentoring. Needs for validation may be satisfied by taking on leadership roles at church, in civic organizations and in volunteer groups. Feelings of isolation might lead you to join a casual conversation group that meets at the local coffee shop. There is a match out there for every possible void that you might need to fill.

Where to Look

Libraries, churches, and community centers offer a variety of opportunities, but don’t let your search end there. Internet searches using very specific parameters such as “quilting groups in Oxnard, California” or “paddle board clubs in Jensen Beach, Florida” are simple examples of how to locate your people. My town has a website that matches up volunteers to organizations and sends suggestions (based on a questionnaire that I filled out) to my email in box on a regular basis. You might have a similar network where you live.

One of my favorite “go to” websites for making connections is MeetUp. Depending on where you live, there may be more or less opportunities, but it is worth checking in to. During a recent search, I found a new start-up photography club in my area that I am going to check out next week. While I was perusing the site, I also noticed a writers group, and a current events discussion group that I found interesting.

My Tribe

My tribes includes women and a few guys, from my book club, women’s club, tennis group, Mahjong group, photography group and library volunteer group, along with a couple of long-time friends who have withstood the test of time and distance. They are a varied and interesting bunch of people that I might never have met had I not sought out connections through common interests. All of these activities and my associations with the people in them contribute greatly to the structure and purpose of my day to day life. Some friendships and bonds are more meaningful than others, but I appreciate them all for what they bring to my life, and I believe they feel the same about me.

There are no rules to finding your people, and the goal is to simply expand beyond the “what now” phase of being newly retired.  Experience growth, share your knowledge, or simply chat over coffee. It’s all good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Club – Reading Between the Wines

Having the time to read for pleasure is just one of the many benefits of being retired. Being a part of a book club makes that past-time even more enjoyable.

The book club in my community has been meeting monthly for over ten years. I have attended most of the meetings, but I do not always read the book. Yes, I am one of those, “I’m here for the wine,” book club members. I love to read, but I have difficulty making it a priority, (much like the gym), unless the selected book falls into one of my two favorite genres – historical fiction or physiological thriller. Continue reading

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Some Things Really Are Black & White

Today I am answering the call of Ingrid over at Live Laugh RV who has issued a black and white photo challenge to her readers. I am a fan of Black and White and have devoted the walls of an entire bathroom to serving as a gallery for some of my favorites.

bird edit

Pelican sightings are a common occurrence where I live, and are fun to watch, especially through a 300mm lens. I like how the wet feathers and water splash are accentuated in this photograph. The color version is not as dramatic.

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I edited this guy with a “slate” filter, which is just a lighter toned B/W, but I like the results. He will be added to the bathroom “collection” very soon. Fun Fact: origins of the Pelican have been traced back 30 Million years through fossil remains. They can also hold up to 3 gallons of water in their sack, which serves like a fisherman’s net when feeding.

birdOops, not a Pelican, oh well.  I just wanted to throw him in to show when NOT to convert to Black and White. While there is a lot of detail in the feathers, this shot is all about the eye, which totally gets lost in this version. This guy is actually an Osprey, and like the Pelican, he is a fish eater, but that is about where the similarity ends. He is classified as a bird of prey, and looks every bit the part, doesn’t he?P1510158 (2) Now that’s much better.

 

 

 

 

 

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Island Hopping on the Sun Coast

With the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other, the landscape of Florida is diverse, and beautiful. Taking road trips throughout our state is a regular occurrence for us and we are especially partial to visiting the coastal areas.  The Sun Coast was the focus of our attention during this three-day trip. On average there are 251 days of sunshine on this coast. There are also twenty barrier islands and miles and miles of sugar white sand beaches to discover. We have been impressed by many things during our quest to visit all of Florida’s Ten Coasts, but most notably, our State Parks. On a recent trip to Tamps and St. Petersburg, we found two outstanding parks among those unique barrier islands, that we want to share with you. Continue reading

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