I said I was taking a Gap Year, and I meant it. Meaning, I decided to pursue a longtime dream of downsizing and living at the beach (at least part time). I’ve been planning this since I was approximately 8 years old, but more seriously since 2005. I’m mentioning this to be transparent, because sometimes you read things on the internet and feel that it’s unfair how quickly and easily things come to certain people. The beach did not come easily to me.
After deciding to live at the beach at age 8, there was a little waiting involved, due to lack of money and autonomy in my underage lifestyle plan. So, at age 17, I entered college majoring in Finance and Real Estate, intending to make said beach plans come true. Later, after graduating with even less money and new student loans, I took a very tiring job with very long commutes and night shift hours, followed by much crying, a little soul searching, entrepreneurship, and good timing.
I was able to buy my first home in 2000, and later sold it during the real estate bubble in 2005. The profit afforded me a small sum with which to invest in beach property. Speaking of small, I literally could only afford the smallest house in said beach zip code. I took on a second mortgage, and a summer rental income to finance this dream.
I rented the house for 12 years, diligently reinvesting the rental income. Once the mortgage was paid off *insert happy dance*, I vowed to allow myself to spend the summer there. A few weeks after removing our home from the rental program in 2016, my teenage daughter decided to join a traveling drumline out of state, a family decision which translated into me trading summer at the beach for long drives on the New Jersey Turnpike. Every weekend. And so, my little cottage got put back into the rental program for 2 more years. And I waited.
Until this week. I am an empty nester now, rental season #14 has ended, and now it is my turn. I felt scared to finally make the move after so many years of waiting, but this past Saturday, I threw all my clothes into the car and drove to the beach. 48 hours later, I got word of the mandatory evacuation for Hurricane Florence. And so, the universe delayed my beach plans once again, and I drove away later that night.
What is there to do in this situation but Go With The Flo (clever Florence reference)? Do I worry about my home being damaged? Yes, but I accepted that this property is at risk of flooding and wind damage when I bought it. I’ve also since taught myself the proper place that material possessions hold in the grand scheme of things. What I’m reflecting on most during this evacuation is the patience one needs to let life unfold, and holding onto a positive mindset during uncertainty.
The universe has plans for us all, and sometimes those plans do not happen within one’s own expected timeframe. Sometimes we must wait, and often without answers. I’ve so desperately wanted to make changes in my life, but at times, progress is slow. I hope this personal story helps give you the patience to Go With The Flo until your own dreams come to you.