Yesterday I wrote about my fellow blog friend’s idea of posting under the hashtag #Momentsofjoy, so here it is my dear readers. The story that unfolds is one I have never recounted before yet I hold it very near and dear to my heart
It’s a mixture of both sorrow and pain coupled with happiness and joy. Every ounce of it sprinkled with genuine love straight from my soul.
In 2010 my ex-husband and I were living in New Jersey, specifically at the home I grew up in from 1977 until 1996 when I graduated high school and left for college. In 2008 however, we found ourselves part of the financial and homeowner’s crisis in the United States having to negotiate with our mortgage company and begging them to allow us to short sale the house we had purchased in 2003. After achieving the go ahead to close on the property, we gathered our things and moved from Rhode Island to Northern New Jersey. My parents were living part of the time in Florida then. Where I’m from, we call them snowbirds. Retired folks that spend the winter months down South and the warmer months up in the North.
It was May of 2010 when my ex-husband told me quite matter of factly that he had put in for a job transfer back up to the New England area he was just given the news on the new location he would be reporting to that July! Mind you my dear readers, all of this was done without consulting me at all. I knew he couldn’t stand life in general in New Jersey. In stark contrast, I was in heaven! I was living in my childhood home, back hanging around with my many friends from my school days and having both of my boys attend the schools that I went too! It was a glorious time for me. I was also teaching dance at the studio that raised me and gave me the knowledge and opportunities for a professional dance career. I was living my best life up until that day he ordered me to start looking for a rental home.
In hindsight I can now see at that point how quickly I slipped into robotic mode, putting his needs before my own. Anyhow, I jumped on the web and reached out to a few real estate agents asking for their assistance in finding us a house to rent in just 2 months time. The pressure was on as we spent every weekend traveling up to RI from NJ to look at different properties. It was grueling and very time consuming.
In late June during one of these weekends we were shown the most darling beach cottage on a dead end road across from a private beach. Even though it was just a one bedroom Cape, it’s charm had all 4 of us immediately smitten and we signed a one year lease on the spot! I knew how special this property was and I wasn’t going to lose it! This picture captures the ambiance perfectly both in and around the cottage
#5 Nichol Ave. aka my paradise
In early July 2010, I think it may have been the 4th of July weekend even, my family of 4 along with our cat Moses moved from NJ to our new beach cottage in RI. I like to joke around by calling myself a professional nomad. I have moved over 20 times in my adult life and it doesn’t take me much effort anymore to move. I have whittled my personal belongs down to a few suitcases and a few boxes of keepsakes. At this time however it was still quite an undertaking moving 2 adults, 2 small children with our cat across state lines.
I must admit, our 1st weekend inhabiting that cottage was 100% magnificent! Quiet, peaceful and invigorating. I loved being able to walk right across the street to find unending opportunities for peace and happiness. Each and every day taught us new things like when the tide was going in or out, what kind of fish and shellfish was to be found at different points along Narragansett Bay. All of it delicious and right in our own backyard. The beach was really just for residents which made it very private and allowed me to feel extremely grateful for where I had found myself after two years of heartache. I don’t wish the hell I felt after losing my home to the mortgage company bank upon even my worst enemy. The powers that be made my life a living and breathing reoccurring nightmare until that final day when we dotted the i and crossed that t during the closing paperwork.
We enjoyed several months of bliss in that cottage as a family. Again, looking back upon that time I can see anything but peace for me personally. I was wrestling with my mental illness, the slow loss of reality that ended up leading to my suicide attempt in November of 2011.
You’re probably scratching your head dear readers like, hmmmmm she said this was supposed to be highlighting #Momentsofjoy? Yes, I digress since I still have regrets and reservations over this particular time in my life. I vow to my audience to always be authentic and real about any part of my life and this time is no different. The years of 2008 until 2013 were the hardest, most sobering and dark times of my entire life. Since this is the 1st time I have truly written about it, I ask you dear readers to forgive the perspective I have now which is still sadness and shame despite the beautiful gift that living there truly was for me. Even today.
I absolutely LOVED this beach cottage. I felt at peace there and I relished every morning when I woke up, window open to hear the seagulls cry, smell the saltwater air drench my senses and look out to sun spectacular sand! It was like living in paradise every damn day. I would open every window and practice yoga. It was marvelously grounding and filled my days with joy. When I’m asked what my happy place is, I immediately recall my beach cottage and its beach. Ahhhhhh, OM
Even after the separation from my ex-husband I worked 3 jobs just to be able to afford the rent and utility payments there. I lasted almost 2 full years living there alone making all the money I could to keep afloat my dream home. To me, I was keeping the dream alive for not only myself but for my boys who were just 6 and 10 at the time. I didn’t want for them to see their mother failing even though in many ways I was.
These are the benches I sat on gazing out at the water and asking God for the answers
In early 2012, I was forced to give up my paradise. I was blessed enough to have a friend offer his couch to me for the next 8 months while I tried to get my life back together. I took a job in sales working for a high end clothing line at that time. I spent my last day in that house taking pictures and sitting on these benches giving my hopes up to God.
Now, 8 years later I can say how much I learned about myself during that time. I’m not easily a quitter. I don’t take NO for an answer the 1st few times. My resilience fuels my passion for what I love and hold dear. I am proud of myself for how long I hung on even when I knew I would have to make a choice that I didn’t necessarily want to or agreed with at first.
In life, we do what we have to. We fight the good fight for as long as it makes sense. Nowadays, I don’t spin my wheels as much. I make smarter choices for my own emotional and spiritual energy and health. Everything in life is a lesson my dear readers. In the end, I don’t regret anything even though I wrote that I do, I release it with thos post and feel infinitely blessed to have had the moments of happiness and joy the beach cottage on 5 Nichol Ave brought me