If There's One Thing I'm Good at, It's Gathering
My husband Pete and I have always dreamed about living on a beach overlooking water that turns the sunset into magical shades of orange. We found that place, and are now the proud owners of the cutest beach home of the Gulf coast. Geez, I’m excited!
We’re not completely sure of what our long-term plan is, but we know we love warm weather and will split our time between the Florida sunshine and the Minnesota snow.
Realizing a Dream that has Deep Roots in My Experiences
We bought this home in a very unfamiliar coastal town that we had never been to before until the first day we looked at the home with our realtor. For Pete, this unknown town may be uncomfortable for him at the onset. For me, I see it as an adventure. There will come a time when we visit the restaurants, cute shops, local grocery stores, and find places to do the things that fulfill the daily routine. I have no doubt that I will be chatty with the people who work at all these places and before you know it, they will be my friends.
I say this as someone who is very much looking forward to sitting on the beach in front of our home with no one around! I can sit and stare into the water and dream. I don’t get much of that in my life because...well...I’m constantly working my butt off!
Living in the unknown may be a bit out of Pete’s comfort zone, but for me, it’s very familiar—it’s how I was raised. My mom moved me so many times before the age of 16, I need to use three hands to count them all.
Two Options, But One Clear Choice
I was five years old when my half brother and sister moved out of the house. From that point on, I was raised as an only child. At home it was just me, my mom, and my dad, and I was a bit lonely. Then all through elementary school I was the perpetual “new girl” but I knew I didn’t want to be lonely there, too. I learned early on that I had two options:
- Assert myself and gather friends.
- Keep my mouth shut and endure loneliness.
I chose option #1, and I have been “gathering” friends ever since.
Crucial Family Factors
By most standards, I grew up in a poor family. Most of my friends had more than what I, but I never realized it. In retrospect, I see now that I was kind of the bottom of the barrel” in terms of luxuries in life. I didn’t have much more than the necessities.
See, my mom Edna decided to drop out of high school when she was a sophomore. With little education, her choices for a career were slim. She started as a teenage waitress, which then became her lifelong profession. The little money she earned was spent almost immediately.
Then my father Eddie suffered from renal failure for as long as I can remember. He had to be on a dialysis machine five days a week to filter his blood because his kidneys failed him. A “normal” career was not feasible. Subsequently, there were no savings for things like college, a wedding, or even my school clothes. I had to pay for those things myself.
I always had a job to pay for food, my bills, or for clothes, and there wasn’t a lot left over for anything else. I lived paycheck to paycheck but was very proud of what I earned and how I acquired what I had.
My Adult Life is Much Different Now
I tell you all this because I want to give you a glimpse of my life before I met my husband, Pete. I am the first to tell you how blessed I am. I am fortunate to live the life I do now and very much appreciate how I got here. It was not given to me—I fought for it. I work my butt off every single day for the blessings that I have. Many days you will hear me preach, “make the effort” because I believe so many things can come from hard work. And for me, it has.
I married a highly successful man who works equally as hard to make the effort, and because of his work ethic, we are allowed to live a life that we choose. I am forever grateful to him for many things in my life and he, too is grateful to me for many things in his. We balance each other. We appreciate who we are, what we’ve created together, and how we enjoy every moment.
I Still Choose Option #1. Always.
I made the right choice back in elementary school and I am happy that I asserted myself. You know what? I’m still doing it today. I’m proud to be a gatherer, and content to be a friend to many. I am blessed that I don’t need to go through life lonely. I really like my role and how full my life is because of it. I have met so many incredible people, and I cherish the time with them no matter how long it lasts. That time will always mean something to me.
It will be fun to see who I will meet in Florida. In the sunshine. On the beach. In the restaurants, in the stores, in the cute shops. And hey, did you say “girl’s weekend”? During this pandemic, all of us annual-trip-with-the-girls-fans are missing our friends. So many had to cancel plans last year. Now, it seems we are waiting expectantly…do we plan a trip? What’s open? What’s not? I am thrilled that I will be able to gather my friends at our home without a worry about the answers to any of those questions. We can just hang out here!
Not everyone is a gatherer. Some are the gathered. Some choose to be alone. Whatever works for you is where you should be in the chain of friendship. But, if you happen to be walking the beach in Florida and you see me making fun Loopie’s Lemonades at sunset, please walk up and introduce yourself. I would love to meet you!
I love that you were with me today. See you next week!
Lisa A.K.A Loopie