A Walk In The Sand Around The Sun

365 days ago, I woke up in the basement at my moms house having a full on meltdown. I begged my parents at 4am to help me pack my suitcase as I sobbed on the floor. I got to the airport late and while I waited in line for security I prayed I would miss my flight. A five hour flight, a grumpy taxi driver and a new roommate later, I laid down and wondered what the hell I was thinking when I decided to give everything away, say goodbye to my family, and move 2,000 miles away to a tiny island in the Caribbean. One year ago today I made the most terrifying, yet best decision I have ever made. 

In my last trip around the sun I have learned more about the world and more about myself than I ever have. I have made more incredible friends than I ever have and I have never been so genuinely happy. It took a little while to get here and I still have a lot to learn, but things are really good. I just started a new job, I moved to a new apartment and I’m living alone for the first time, I’m doing a little better with my finances…all of that is good. I am also going on crazy adventures, getting completely wasted and singing terrible karaoke, not keeping up with my laundry and smoking the occasional cigarette- BUT, I can’t grow up too much because that wouldn’t be any fun. 

It is still pretty crazy to think that this is just my life now. Carly and I called this a productive day because we went to the beach instead of staying in bed all day. Laying out on Cinnamon Bay with my best friends is now what I consider to be productivity. It’s great. While we were on the beach, a high family posed in front of us in the water for a picture and they were all so genuinely happy and it was so adorable. All of the sudden I was a bystander to this incredible moment, watching a picture being taken that will hang on someone’s wall and every time they walk by they will think back to how happy they were on St. John. I get to have that feeling every day. 

During my first few days here all I could think about was when it would be acceptable to leave. I made a huge deal about moving, posting shit everywhere, starting a blog before I even moved… I was so terrified that I didn’t even care what people would think if I just gave up and failed miserably. I didn’t stay to prove anything to anyone, I stayed because as soon as I calmed down I remembered why I love Saint John and I fell in love all over again. When I was visiting, I didn’t know St. John the way I do now. I didn’t know the ins and outs, the best kept secrets and the people that make this island so great. I didn’t know the drama, the coconut telegraph, and the feeling of seeing the same person every day that’s also breaking your heart, either. I have learned how to have an insane amount of fun while also like, avoiding death, and I have also learned how to be tough and handle situations that I would never experience if I didn’t live on this tiny little rock in the middle of the ocean. 

So, raising my glass (of  ginger ale because I’m doing Sober January) and toasting to the best year yet. I am eternally grateful to have support from home, and for every person who has crossed my path on St. John and taught me something about this life. Everyone who has been in or out of my life in the past year has done something to make this experience great, memorable, and successful and for that I thank you. And thank you for those people who keep reading these things…you’ve made this year a lot more fun, too.

2016: That’s A Wrap.

  1. What did you do in 2016 that you’ve never done before?

I moved to an island. That was a new thing for me. I did a lot of new things this year actually; but that one is the most appropriate to share on the Internet.

  1. Did you keep your new years resolution, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t think I made any resolutions last year. I moved on January 2nd, 2016 so at the end of the year I was a little too preoccupied questioning my sanity and life choices to think about the future.

  1. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Danniele and Caleb welcomed their little baby Camden! She is the cutest little peanut and I’m so glad I got to meet her!

  1. Did anyone close to you die?

My dog. Sammie. I wanted a puppy so badly when I was little and my mom and step-dad surprised me with her one day when my dad was dropping me off at their house. I walked in and Sam was so tiny, sitting there on my moms lap. Being on St. John and losing our family dog really sucked, but she was 15 and it was her time so there was comfort in that. I loved that stinky, rat-looking mess.

  1. What countries did you visit?

I bounced back and forth between the Caribbean and the states a few times. And over to the British Virgin Islands…Jost van Dyke, Cooper Island, Norman Island, Tortola, Sandy Spit, Little Jost, Virgin Gorda…not a bad year in the travel department.

  1. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Money! Not that I didn’t make enough money, I just didn’t keep any of it.

  1. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

January 2nd, because I moved. April 30th, because I was supposed to go on this boat trip and it was pouring down rain so we had to turn around and instead we spent the entire day drinking in this crazy villa and my 12-hour alcohol binge led to…you guessed it…a boy! Which happened to be a significant lesson/part of 2016. December 25th, because it was my first Christmas away from my family, which was really hard, but it ended up being a really amazing day.

  1. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I would consider not backing out on moving and staying here for a year a solid achievement considering how I felt when I got here. Also, not hitting anyone in the face when they really deserved it. Patting myself on the back for that one.

  1. What was your biggest failure?

Probably my money management. Because it did not exist.

  1. Did you suffer any illness or injury?

I had Zika! That wasn’t fun. And also several dozen hangovers.

  1. What was the best thing you bought this year?

I really didn’t buy many material things this year. I bought this dress from Big Planet that I wear way too often but it’s my “flower dress” and I love it. I bought a lot of tequila which probably made me dance too crazy in my flower dress.

  1. Where did most of your money go?

Rent! Food! Tequila!

  1. What did you get really excited about?

Sunsets. Cheap bottles of wine. Traveling home to see my friends and family. Boat trips.

  1. What song(s) will always remind you of 2016?

Hurricane (Artsy Remix)- Halsey

Hello- Adele

Monster- Mumford & Sons

Lost Boy- Ruth B

  1. Compared to this time last year, are you:

Happier or sadder? Way happier.

  – Thinner or fatter? I haven’t owned a scale in over a year, but boys still talk to me sometimes and I haven’t had a heart attack so I’m probably fine.

– Richer or poorer? Poorer. Way poorer.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Traveling. I have so many islands near me but I only pop over on boat trips. I want to spend a few nights on Tortola, and Jost and Puerto Rico.

  1. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Drinking. Eating. Crying over f-boys.

  1. How did you spend Christmas?

I had a really great Christmas. I made breakfast with Carly at her house and we had friends over, then we all went to the beach and drank champagne all day, then we had dinner at a friends villa. It was a really great day.

  1. What was your favorite TV program?

Shameless. Stranger Things. New Girl.

  1. What were your favorite books of the year?

Milk & Honey- Rupi Kaur

  1. What was your favorite music from this year?

It takes quite some time for new music to reach down to the islands, so I spent a lot of the year listening to throwbacks. I listened to Ignition (Remix) probably 200 times. A lot of Matchbox Twenty & Goo Goo Dolls. Also, every song Hannah and I listened to during off-season which was only like 3 songs but we listened to them on repeat for 6 weeks and it was great.

  1. What were your favorite films of the year?

I actually saw a few movies this year while I was in the states! I saw Finding Dory, Bad Moms, and Office Christmas Party. I am honestly the worst movie critic because I love every movie I see. I really can’t think of more than 5 movies in my entire movie that I haven’t loved.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 23. My mom flew in on my birthday. We had a perfect dinner at Banana Deck, she had balloons and a cake and a card already there when we got there which was like magic but that’s my mom for you. Every year I give my mom flowers on my birthday, since she birthed me, and I was really happy to be able to give them to her in person instead of sending them. That was probably the best part.

  1. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Maybe punching a couple of people in the face. But other than that, 2016 was a pretty satisfying year. Also, I’m really not a violent person at all so I’m not sure why I keep talking about hitting people so I guess that’s something I need to work through.

  1. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

Uh. Bathing suits. Faded and stretched out tanks and shorts. Flip flops.

  1. What kept you sane?

My friends. Overlooks and sunsets. Cheap wine.

  1. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

If you aren’t happy, make a change. No matter how hard it is, or crazy it is, make the change. It will pay off.

  1. Your guilty pleasure?

Frozen drinks at Rum Hut happy hour. Landing shrimp and Sweet Beans. Burning half a tank of gas and driving around the island, blasting music and singing way too loud. Champagne out of the bottle at the overlooks. 

  1. Song lyric that sums up the year:

“She’ll be here until she runs, some just have to chase the sun. She’s a wild child, got a rebel soul and whole lot of gyspy wild style.”

 

Happy (?) Holidays

There is something very different about the holidays when it is 80 degrees, you have to go to work, and your family is 2,000 miles away. I have never spent a Christmas outside of Virginia, or away from my family. In the past 23 years, not a Christmas has gone by that I didn’t hug my mom or my dad. I did get to go home a couple of weeks ago and we did our own little Christmas but of course it’s just not the same. I don’t get to see my 8 year old sisters face light up when she sees that Santa came. I don’t get to drink a mimosa out of a crystal glass while my dad finishes making french toast. I can almost feel the cold hardwood under my bare feet while Christmas songs softly play from the speakers in the corner of every room.

I woke up this morning to my alarm telling me I needed to go to work. It wasn’t until after I brushed my teeth and got out of the shower that I remembered it’s Christmas Eve. I’ve mentioned being upset about being away for Christmas to a few of my friends and the general consensus has pretty much been, “I haven’t been home for Christmas in years, you’ll be fine.” Well, obviously I’ll be fine but this isn’t the second, third, or fourth time I’ve done this. It’s the first time, and it kind of sucks. Year after year, my parents worked so hard to make Christmas so special for us and they created these memories that I will always associate with the holidays and it has been hard for me to accept that I won’t be a part of that this year.

I am here on St. John by choice. If I desperately needed to be home for Christmas, I could have made it happen. But it would have been really hard to get off work, it would have been really expensive, and it’s a pain-in-the-ass time to travel. So, this is part of growing up. I ate my chocolate that my parents sent me in my “stocking” care package in bed last night, by myself, watching Love Actually. Tomorrow I’ll wake up at Carly’s house, we will drink mimosas out of plastic Soggy Dollar cups and make a big breakfast for our best friends. I’ll FaceTime my family and watch the insane pile of wrapping paper build around my little sister and brothers. I’ll spend a few hours at the beach and probably forget it’s Christmas a few times, but that’s ok. I’ll be with my best friends, I’ll be in my favorite place, so it will be ok…just different.

I am so extraordinarily blessed to live the life that I do. I have really good friends here. I am very lucky to be able to experience these things and learn about life and myself while I live on this island. My first Christmas alone could be because I got relocated for a job to like…Wisconsin or something. No offense to Wisconsin, but I just don’t think I’d like to spend Christmas alone there, you know? But, my first Christmas alone is in the Caribbean. I went on an amazing Christmas boat trip to the British Virgin Islands, I have very shitty Christmas lights, and I have a bikini picked out for Christmas Day. I have a stocking on my door that will remain empty, but all in all, I think I am doing ok. The holidays won’t be the same this year and I won’t be able to continue those traditions with my family, but I have many years ahead to be with with them, and I have time now to make my own holiday memories and traditions. I still might cry like 8 more times. But then I will get my shit together and remind myself that my life is awesome, like I always do. Merry Christmas y’all. If anyone sees my family, hug them for me.

christmaswillytchristmasboatchristmaslights

img_0570

She Won’t Be Lonely Long.

Towards the end of August, I became increasingly nervous about slow season. On St. John there are a couple months that are very slow, so a lot of people leave to go travel, go home, or move on to their next adventure. My roommate was going back home for the entire month, most of my close friends were doing the same thing, a lot of my friends were leaving indefinitely, and I was terrified. I am a by-the-book extrovert and I’ve had a lot of trouble being alone. I had serious anxiety throughout the days leading up to Carly leaving and couldn’t stop thinking about how much I would hate going home to an empty house every single day after work.

Since my very first boyfriend, I have been in back to back relationships all the way through college and up until I moved. This is by far the longest I have ever been single. I thought about how much easier slow season would be if I was with someone to feel like I actually had something tying me here while all of my friends were either with their families or off seeing the world. Though it does sound nice in theory…my slow season actually KICKED ASS. And it was (almost) completely boy-free. #GirlPower.

I spent almost every single sunset during slow season sitting on an overlook with Hannah and a $5 bottle of wine. We got off work at the same time, blasted the same 5 songs in my car, drank cheap red wine out of foam cups, and talked about anything and everything. We had all of this time that we had never had before because so many of our friends were gone, so many restaurants were closed, and we just got to sit down and breathe for a little while. It was amazing.

I started to feel indifferent about going home alone every night. I didn’t dread making the trek up my stairs into my dark apartment, because I really started to learn how to enjoy being alone. I used the energy I would normally put into my friends or a relationship, and put it towards myself. I went through a bit of a rough patch and I felt extremely stagnant. I didn’t want to be alone, but I didn’t have a choice so I made a conscious decision to just be ok with it. I needed that time to remind myself of my worth, to remember why I’m here, and to learn and experience every part of living on this island. Slow season is one of the tough parts, but if you do it right, it can actually be one of the best parts.

The day before mine and Hannah’s roommates came home, we took our final trip to the overlook with a bottle of wine. We weren’t exactly ready for our routine to change, but started to get excited about all of the new life that high season will bring. Everyone seemed to come back within the same week, and everything returned to normal very quickly. I stood at Doghouse last night, scanned the room, and I was so blissfully happy that I was with all of my friends in the same place.

Loneliness is something that doesn’t necessarily have to be fixed by not being alone. It can be fixed by learning how to be alone, how to enjoy it, and how to make the best of it. I’ve been needing to learn that lesson for a very long time and over the past couple of months I feel like I have become much stronger and much more stable. I feel very…content. I don’t know if I’m in a place of extreme happiness at the moment, but I am definitely not miserable. Content is ok. Whether it is being comfortable spending time by myself, or having all of my friends back, all I know is that I’m really not lonely anymore or at all scared of being alone. If you can’t fix it, you can always just learn to be ok with it. It’s always temporary.

“If she’s lonely now, she won’t be lonely long.”

hannahoverlook

What Are You Looking For? 

He played the same song he’s played a thousand times, he told me the story I already knew about the first time he heard it. The lyrics “what are you looking for” played over and over again as I remembered the exact time and place where I first heard it, and heard that story. He turned to me and said, “What are you looking for, Vic?” 

What am I looking for? I have no idea. Should I know that? Is 23 the age when I should have a guided focus on something? I don’t even know what that something should be…should I know that?! It appears I don’t know what I’m looking for. But…I think that’s ok. 

Looking for something, to me, implies I don’t have enough of what is already in my life. As a human race, I believe that is something we seriously struggle with. We are always searching for the next thing. Whether it be a better job, a new place to live, the newest iPhone on the market, or a new relationship: we are constantly searching. What happens when we stop looking for something? Life happens! 

How many times have I bitched and moaned to my best friends, my sister, or to my parents about being lonely and just wanting to “find someone”, and how many times have I heard “It happens when you stop looking!” Cue eye roll. So cliché, y’all. But, there is some serious truth in that. Looking for something means your focus, your attention, and your energy are all pointed in one direction. How much are we missing out on if we’re only looking in one direction? We put blinders on, we push ourselves so fucking hard to find whatever it is that we feel like we’re supposed to have. That’s bullshit. The world we live in has an incredible amount of things to give us, why look for anything when we’re being given things left & right? First of all, the world is HUGE. If you truly feel there is nothing fulfilling you where you are and you have exhausted your resources trying to make yourself happy- MOVE. Walk the earth, travel, learn, tell your story, open your mind and accept what the world has to give you. It could be so simple. Stop looking. Open your mind. Receive. 

I am so guilty of looking. I am that girl that becomes disgustingly co-dependent and I pull at straws trying to make something out of nothing. In basically every aspect of my life. What a waste of energy. Whatever my plan is, whatever God’s purpose for me is on this earth, I truly don’t believe I am going to find it. I think it is going to be given to me when I stop looking. 

When you were little and you decided you desperately had to find that one toy you hadn’t played with in months and you whined to your parents, begging them to help you look- what did they tell you? “It’s always in the last place you look!” Overall- dumb saying. It’s obviously going to be in the last place you look, because why would you keep looking after you found it..? Enjoy what you have. Take care of yourself, take care of the relationships you already have in your life, focus your energy on the positivity and the blessings you already have. The rest will find you. Stop looking. 

6 Types of Island Boys 

When you live on a very small island, your options for dating, casual hookups, or serious relationships are also very small. You quickly learn that there are a handful of different “types” of these island boys and what it all means for us single island girls. Through personal experience, the coconut telegraph, and hilarious stories from my girlfriends, I came up with 6 types of island boys. To any of my friends who may loosely fit onto this list…don’t take this seriously. You know we love you. 

1. The Charming Bartender 

Every girl does have or has had a crush on one of them. They literally make their living off of their amazing social skills and they get you drunk professionally. The Charming Bartender learns your name quickly and remembers the things you tell them during your cheap, knock-off therapy session at happy hour. They are the flirts, they are witty and sarcastic, and they will charm your pants off but remember ladies, you are not the only girl at his bar. Before you confess your love, talk to him when his shift is over and see if he pays as much attention to you when you’re not…paying him. 

2. The Boat Captain  

If he works on a boat, you’ll know it within the first 30 seconds of your conversation. Captains hold their title loud & proud, and some may use it to their advantage because we all know- ladies love boat boys. They are smart, charming, and driven. They are so driven that they can hit the bars harder than most guys and still be up for work disgustingly early, and are pleasant enough to rack in those TripAdvisor reviews. They are overworked, generally exhausted, and barely have time to pack their lunch, so good luck getting these ones to take you out on a real date. Time with them will be spent watching Netflix, eating 420 takeout, and talking about boats, boats, and…boats. 

3. The Beach Bums

He is most likely donning a man bun, listening to Bob Marley, and carrying a mason jar full of weed in his backpack. They are laid-back, kind-hearted, and creative. These are the guys that usually have a lot of girls around because they make such good friends. The Beach Bums are obviously the best beach dates- they know the best hidden spots, they pack snacks, usually bring a hammock, and are totally stress & drama-free. 

4. Massholes 

It seems like New Englanders make up about 79% of this island. They gave up the cold, the patriots, and Dunkin Donuts to move here and sometimes they appear to be a little bitter about it. They are known for their quick wit, fiery personalities, and pride for their hometowns. Wicked smart, deeply passionate, fiercely loyal, but may have to check with their “Ma” before bringing you up north to meet the family. 

5. The Chef 

They catch the end of party crowd at the popular local bars, then head over to close down Quiet Mon, while usually still wearing their bandanas. Most seem to have girlfriends, smart girlfriends, because uh…the man can cook. They have a good sense of humor and thick skin, built up by spending hours a day in a kitchen full of men. You don’t get to know them as quickly as the front of the house, but when they are out & about, they definitely know how to blow off steam after working their asses off during high season. 

6. The Lost Boy

These are the ones with a twinkle in their eye and wings on their back. They are ready to take off at the next opportunity for adventure. 98% of them have a beard, and probably a well-kept man bun. Romantic and charming, but the whole free-spirit thing prevents them from being tied-down. Listen to their stories, they are always the ones with the good stories. They can be found on a surf board or a sailboat. Lost Boys are runners, they ran from wherever they came from and they will run again…

Radiating Positive F&%*ing Energy

I don’t know if the full moon really has anything to do with my life spiraling out of control once a month, but since I have moved to St. John I have definitely paid attention to the moon and what goes on in my life during the full moon. I always seem to get some text that will throw me off for a couple days, or one of my relationships will all of the sudden be strained and I just feel totally out of control and have no idea how to handle any stress other than to just cry and act like my entire life is falling apart. That’s kind of my go-to.

IMG_2835

In the couple of days leading up to this past full moon I started to get really anxious and I just knew things were going to get screwed up. I’ve had a really good month, I’ve been generally pretty happy, so of course I was just waiting for it to all blow up in my face. And it did! Because that’s just how shit works for me. I don’t have anxiety all of the time but when I do, it is pretty drastic. I annoy myself with how down I get, how much I over-analyze every situation, and how I can’t stop talking about the same stupid things to my friends over, and over, and over again (my friends and roommate are nodding their heads in agreement as they read this). That is pretty much how I have been during the full moons, coincidence or not, and now that the moon is going back to how I like it, I feel myself being a little less crazy.

“The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.” When I get into these funks, the thing I try to remind myself of the most is that you get what you give. I totally believe that we are in a universe that hears us, feels us, and picks up on our energy. When I am able to pull myself out of a slump by just screaming at myself, “YOU’RE FINE, YOU’RE HAPPY, YOU’RE SO STABLE AND PUT TOGETHER!”, I start off really not believing that any of that shit is true, but if I put off that energy, positivity will come back to me. IT WILL. BECAUSE I BELIEVE IT (kind of, but I still might be trying to convince myself).

I said goodbye to my closest family friends this morning as their vacation, and my staycation ended. I had so much fun while they were here, of course it went by way too fast, and the end always just sucks. I sobbed in the car on my way home and I called Dakota and said “Hey, I’m gonna pick you up, and I’m gonna cry, and I need that to be fine.” As always, it was, and she sat there and listened to me give myself a pep-talk, and we both laughed as I was gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles, holding back tears saying, “I am just going to be happy. I am going to radiate positive fucking energy.” Positive. Fucking. Energy.

Life is just shitty sometimes. Sometimes when you’re a 23 year old girl, totally in over your head, no real plans or commitments, it can just really suck. Sometimes life is amazing and you don’t even know how you got so lucky to live the way that you do, but then in the blink of an eye or the change of a moon phase, it can all go to shit. You have no control over the vast majority of things in your life, but what you can control is what you put into this world and give off into the universe. When Dakota got out of the car this morning, I said “Okay QUICK, give me a pep-talk!” She tried to quote The Help but totally screwed it up, so I reminded her that the talk goes, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” In true Dakota fashion, she added, “You is sexy. You is ready.” True.

IMG_2020

Let Go, Let God 

I was scrolling through Twitter the other day and my beautiful friend Bri posted a series of tweets that resonated with me. It was something her previous prayer leader taught her about holding on to things that aren’t meant for us and I’m going to do my best to reiterate what she said.

So- think of something you really love and you really care about. Picture holding it in the palm of your hand and someone trying to take it away from you. You love this thing, you want to keep it, but someone is trying to take it from you so you resist and you fight back and it hurts! They’re not giving up, you’re holding it so tightly in your palm and they’re just ripping it out of your hand. So, what if you just let it go? You trust what they’re doing, you open up your palm, and you just let it go. Sometimes God gives us things that aren’t meant for us and He has to take them back. If we just open our palm, let it go, trust in Him, it won’t hurt so badly. “Simply, obediently, and gently.”

The older I get the easier this is for me to understand and obey, but I still fight it. I will have things in my life that I know I don’t have control over, that I can’t change, but I’ll do everything in my power to try because I really struggle with letting things go. I think about this in relation to my life in general and wonder about my plan and my purpose, and the more I try to control and change the more I get hurt. I don’t really know why I’m here, I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I have to stop trying to figure it out.

When I sit down to think about my faith or just faith in general, I am amazed at how underrated it seems to be. Having faith in someone or something is so extraordinarily powerful. If you identify as being a Christian, you have blind faith in something much bigger than all of us. You send your prayers up to someone you can’t hear respond, you trust in a plan that you’ve never been told about, and you do this with faith, hope & love. Why? I was raised by Christians but Christianity was never forced upon me, I was given the resources to make my own decisions about my religion and spirituality and I chose to confirm my faith through my church. I chose to follow God, and through living this “life I imagined”, I need to give so much more credit and praise to the real reason why I am here. It is part of a plan that was put together just for me, just like every other tiny little compenent of my life. All for a reason. “God will wreck your plans when He sees they are about to wreck you.” Have faith, y’all.

 

No Hurry, Don’t Worry 

I arrived back to St. John yesterday after spending a week with my family in Virginia. I laid out on Hawksnest today, thanked God for having the day off, and let out a sigh of relief to have back my “normal.” I miss my family and friends every day, but at least for now, this is where I need to be. 

I grew up in Loudoun County which is just outside of Washington, D.C. and the lifestyle there, my old lifestyle, is such a drastic change to what my life is now. In just 7 months I have realized how much I valued things that were insignificant, how much I worried about things I couldn’t change, and how hard I tried to fit into a mold that wasn’t made for me. I looked the part- I carried the designer bags and I drove the Lexus and Mercedes around and I genuinely thought that I wanted to be successful so I could have those things forever. I still want to be successful, but in a much different way. 

Success to me is my sheets completely drying on the line before its time to go to bed. It’s spending an hour talking to Carly in one of our beds and catching up on everything we missed if we spent more than 12 hours apart. It’s being able to pay my rent and my bills with a little left over for happy hour with my friends and the occasional DJ from North Shore Deli. Success to me is walking into the coffee shop and the barista starting on my medium caramel iced coffee before I even finish saying good morning. You know how when you get your check at a restaurant and there’s a little section that says “customer” and it normally says something like “Table 6” or whatever number barstool you’re in? Success to me is having met so many people and made so many friends that no matter where I go, they always type in “Vic” because they don’t need to identify me as what seat I’m in, they know me. 

I’ve never thought of myself as someone who would want to live in a small town, but now that I know what it’s like I’m not sure I ever want to go back to an overpopulated suburbia or a big city. I love saying good morning or good afternoon to every person I see. I love being asked how my day was before I’m asked what my order is. I love knowing everyone’s name, where they came from, and why they’re here. While I was in Virginia I had several people tell me they noticed how much I’ve changed, how I seem so much more relaxed and how my anxiety isn’t weighing me down. I’ve learned to slow down and accept things I can’t change, which I think are the two things I needed to happen the most. I used to race around cramming as many errands as I could into one day. I used to try to control every situation I was in, think of every possible way to manipulate the outcome into what I wanted. I was a blonde ball of stress and anxiety but hey- I always had a fresh manicure and lipstick that matched my purse! 

I am so grateful for my friends and family for their support and for noticing my change because I notice it too. I am happy to finally be happy, and with no one to credit but myself. I wish I could pass on this energy to everyone in my life. It’s so important to slow down and stop worrying. It’s freeing. 

Overlooking Overlooks.

 

In the past 6 months of living on St. John, I have come to realize how many profound differences there are between vacationing here and residing here. While on vacation I remember craning my neck out of the taxi while driving down North Shore Road trying to soak up every glimpse of the overlooks as we passed by. I’ve noticed lately that I don’t even glance over anymore. The beauty of the island hasn’t changed, it’s just as stunning as it was last summer, but my perspective has changed and I’m not sure I like that.

trunk bay overlook

Trunk Bay

A lot has happened in the past couple of months, on island and at home, and I’ve been feeling a little numb. I go to work, I go to the beach on my days off, I hang out with my friends…but I don’t think I’m taking as much out of this experience as I should be. I’m tired of spending days in a bad mood over a stupid reason, I’m tired of not being happy enough with myself to enjoy being alone, and I’m really tired of feeling like there is “nothing to do.”

annaberg overlook

Leinster Bay 

 

My roommate had a friend visit and she had never been anywhere like the Caribbean before. She was overwhelmed with how amazing St. John is and as we sat on the beach watching the sunset over Cruz Bay, she went on and on about how happy everyone looked. That made me think about how I don’t even notice that anymore…I don’t notice the toddlers shrieking as the water splashes on their tiny toes, or the honeymooners taking too many kissing selfies, or the amount of joy pouring out of people who have worked all year for their one week. That is a pretty overpowering thought- people work all year long to be able to spend a week on this island and I can say with certainty that I have wasted a full week here being in a shitty mood.

cruz bay overlook

Cruz Bay

I am taking a vow to work on filtering out negative thoughts, focusing on my own happiness, and exploring to find more to make me feel fulfilled. There is a whole world here on this little island and it is time to refresh and see it from a new perspective. I am going to stop thinking about how I’d rather be in bed when someone asks if I want to go sit on an overlook after spending too long in town. I am going to stop compulsively checking my phone in hopes for a text while the sun is setting over the ocean right in front of me. I have been letting bad vibes and routineness cloud the views. I am going to stop overlooking overlooks.

coral bay overlook

Coral Bay