Last week I shared my WOTY, (word of the year) in a post where I lamented about needing MORE. When you scroll through the following post, you might wonder WHAT I could possibly want more of, but if you go back and read the previous post, I think you will understand.
2021 was both challenging and rewarding and I am grateful to have had many opportunities to learn and grow. We learned a lot about ourselves this past year, as our strength and resilience were tested through unprecedented times and change. I am proud of how our family responded. Many of you shared our experiences as I hit the publish button twenty-three times this past year. The recap below includes a few of my favorite posts and some you might have missed. As always, we appreciate your visits and look forward to your comments.
In the Rearview Mirror – 2021 in Photos
We started the year with a road trip to Crystal River (about two and 1/2 hours away from home) to visit the Manatees who migrate to Three Sisters Springs. I wrote about that in my January recap, Make Your Own Music.
Visiting Jekyll Island, GA in February has become a Valentine’s Day custom. Island Treasures recaps our time there. While we have never found one of the elusive orbs hidden on the island during the months of January and February, we continue to discover the true treasures of this beautiful place each time we visit.
Springtime in South Florida was glorious. We got our vaccines, COVID restrictions eased and we felt human again. The kids began apartment hunting in anticipation of vacating our home and returning to their offices to work while we started planning an extended road trip through several states.
This month I hinted at the theme and itinerary of our upcoming road trip in Waterfalls and Other Bright Ideas, and I started practicing slow shutter speed photography in anticipation of the many waterfalls we planned to visit. I also wrote about Our Evolving Retirement, which received a record number of visitors. If you’d like to get to know us better, that post is a good place to begin.
Malcolm and I drove from Florida to Rhode Island, making stops in Georgia, Kentucky and New York along the way. You can read about our big adventure in Miles of Smiles.
This month we visited Boca Grande, FL and the Gasparilla Inn for Beaches, Bourbon, and Barbeque, a culinary event featuring several bourbon distilleries. The weekend was filled with Bourbon tastings, good food, cooking demonstrations, great friends, and amazing beach weather.
Feelings of Empty Nest Syndrom resurfaced this month as our daughter and her boyfriend moved back to Miami after being with us for a full year. Morgan must have sensed it too since she planned a girls weekend in Palm Beach for the two of us. Mother/daughter time is always a good idea.
After all the fun and frivolity of June, we started seeing evidence of a housing market on fire, and we had a request from a neighborhood Realtor to sell our home. Malcolm and I had been contemplating a ‘downsize’ for quite some time, so we went for it. Purging stuff became our new reality as we donated, sold, and stored our things. It was a difficult month, but we got through it and closed on August 2nd. I wrote about our experience in this post – Moving, Not for the Timid.
August – September
We spent most of August and September redecorating and making improvements to my MIL’s home, (inside and out) as we figured out how to
peacefully co-exist thrive in our shared space. The intention was to use her home as our ‘base’ for an undetermined period as we travel and wait for the market to cool. Being here has allowed us to take time to decide what’s next for us. Downsizing is our goal, but we don’t know exactly what that will look like.
After six weeks of settling into our new space, we were ready for an adventure. We booked a beach cottage from mid-September to mid-October at our favorite beach, just twenty minutes away hoping to find some clarity regarding our next move. It was just what we needed, on many levels, as we both realized that size really matters. We loved the proximity of our cottage to the water, the amenities of the neighborhood and island living in general, but the space (1200 sf) was too small. It’s a great place to vacation, but we both concluded that we wouldn’t want to live there.
We rented a house and celebrated Thanksgiving in New England with our daughter and her boyfriend. Malcolm and I spent a couple of days exploring Boston before heading to Martha’s Vineyard, our destination for a week. Our rental property was a last-minute find and was way too much house for the four of us. While it was very beautiful, we concluded that somewhere in between beach cottage and grand home would be the perfect living space for us.
We closed the year by celebrating Christmas at home. My MIL and I enjoyed combining our Christmas decorations and traditions and the house looked festive and bright. You can read about that in Christmas Around Our House. We even managed to ‘dress up’ for dinner and take a few family photos.
Malcolm and I spent the last day of the year on the beach, listening to the sound of the waves and sharing a good bottle of wine. Who needs conversation when you have this?
We were in bed by ten o’clock, feeling totally satisfied that the ball would drop without us.