I arrived in Pensacola on February 28 and was welcomed into my friend’s home with open arms and an open heart. I lived with her and her family (husband and 4-year old daughter) for the entire month of February and it was wonderful and weird and life-altering.
You see, I had spent the last year in my home, alone. I cooked alone, I ate alone, I went about my business life alone. It was hard and necessary. It was also one of the catalysts for leaving Maine and taking on this adventure. I was burned out and depleted.
I set off on the adventure and filled the space with newness and exploration. I journeyed south, saw new beautiful things, and focused on what fills my heart.
But the moment I arrived in Pensacola and flopped down on their couch, I knew it was going to be different than the other parts of my trip up until then.
Right away, there was noise, movement, and laughter. All of the quiet nights I had spent alone dissolved away and I immersed myself in their family experience. I cooked, I advanced laundry, I folded tiny leggings, I helped where I could, and for the first time in a long time, I felt a sense of home and connection.
I’ve been living alone for years now, and being in their space changed the way I moved about my day. Instead of long hikes and quiet contemplation, I played with ponies and had long conversations with people. My priorities and my focus shifted.
At first, I was hard on myself about not posting to social media and not keeping up with the blog, but really, what I needed most was to be present in the love I was surrounded by.
I found my work rhythm there and let the rest take a break because I needed the break. It was different and strange and, yet, it was the most important thing I could do for myself.
I reset and recentered. I connected with friends and filled my days with normal household tasks. And I enjoyed every moment of not being alone.
2020 was a hard year for all of us, in so many different ways. For me, I didn’t realize the magnitude of the impact of being isolated until I wasn’t. And in Pensacola, I took every moment of every day to replenish that deep deficit of connection. I filled my cup. And I am so deeply grateful.