I believe that happiness comes in making the most of what you have where you are. My belief is one that has been tested in the last few years. I grew up in the late 1960s and early 70s on the outskirts of Youngwood, Pennsylvania. Youngwood is a very small town that offered nothing to do except read, listen to the radio, and play outside albeit in a beautiful landscape. Weekend trips to Pittsburgh and an occasional trip to New York City, made me yearn for something more than a small town had to offer. I swore I’d never live in one when I grew up. Limiting. It was just too limiting.
So following college, I joined my friends and headed to Chicago. There I spent 18 years enjoying all the things that wonderful city has to offer: the Goodman and Steppenwolf theatres, the Chicago Symphony, the Art Institute, the Chicago Botanic Garden, deep dish pizza and Chicago Public Radio to name a few. I never thought I’d leave. Move to the suburbs to have a family maybe, but never move out of the area.
But life has a way of changing our plans. Following the purchase of my husband’s medical group by a large corporation, he suggested our professional and economic opportunities would be much better in Florida. Not to mention the weather in the winter. I never doubted my life is with my husband and my daughter, even if I had to leave my adopted city behind. Still, I was less than enthusiastic about the move. To make things worse, we weren’t moving to a city like Miami or Tampa. We landed in Palm City a new but small town. It offered a great library and a reputable school system. We found a nice house with a swimming pool for a fraction of our home in Chicago; made great friends; and enjoyed warm sunny winters. We learned to tolerate the mosquitoes, avoid the alligators and sharks, and prepare our home and families for hurricanes. We prospered.
Still I always felt I was missing something living in Florida and not Chicago. You see I still hadn’t figured out that I could be happy by making the most of what I had where I was, regardless of the size of the city or the services available. That is until we had the opportunity to move back.
It came a year ago. My husband was presented with an opportunity to manage a multi-physician group in Chicago. So why was it I didn’t I want to move? Was it the hassle of moving and starting once more? Yes that was definitely part of it. But it was also because I realize on a daily basis I enjoy the same things here that I did in Chicago. I count among these my family and friends, good books, beautiful landscape, a classical radio station and NPR. Yes, I miss the theatres, museums, and deep dish pizza. In their place, we have great beaches, beautiful sunrises, and fresh orange juice. Day to day, I am happy because I am making the most of what I have where I am. This is what I believe.
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