Chohutta Wilderness, Fanin County, GA. January 2013
The last two weeks have not been the easiest.
I came to the realization while in Birmingham over Christmas, that a decision NOT to go back to Provincetown this season was in my best interest. For lots of reasons. Financially, I don’t want to get “behind the 8 ball,” as it were. I’ve been really good the last several years managing my money and a big part of that has been eliminating and staying out of debt. Doing that, and saving a shit-ton, enabled me to change things up two years ago. One of my greatest fears is getting strapped down by debt and financial obligations. It’s limiting on every level of what I want to do with my life.
Then there’s the back-biting and bitterness that’s so apparent in a small town. Unlike Season 1, I saw more than I cared to this summer. I may be eating a bit of crow, but the dew is off the lily and I did, indeed, see behind the curtain. I’m not sure a one-street town and it’s attentive closeness is where I want to invest several years of my life.
And the lack of year-round opportunity (hell, even people year round would be nice) is a real problem. One industry in a one-street town does not lend itself to copious opportunity. I’m not cut out for the still quiet of the winter months and all it portends.
But the main reason was the worry about and decreased ability of my parents to look after themselves. They’re fine this very moment, but I can see a time in the very near future that I’ll be needed in Birmingham to help downsize their home, go through and move their stuff, take them to doctor’s appointments, etc. When I left for Ptown in 2011, the feeling was 5-7 years. I’m thinking more like 2-3. So, I made a tough call, to change gears and continue things here in Atlanta.
What’s been hard has been telling those on the Cape that mean so much to me: Brad & Joel, Chef II, Devon, Robert. And it’s been hard to tell people here that I’m “back for good.” The perception of failure seems to be so easily achieved. But I don’t consider it failure at all. To be cliche’, it’s a journey, one I undertook and continue on my own choice. For once in my life, the choices I’ve made in the past two years are mine and mine alone. It’s daunting, troubling, anxiety-causing and stressful, but at the same time, the responsibility for myself is extremely freeing.
Now if I can just remember these words, especially around 3:30am, all will go well! I need to enjoy the trees and embrace the big forest that’s out there.
Sorry for the delay….I been busy doing nothin’.
So here’s a recap, to catch you up:
* I left Provincetown on December 9 and headed South. To be honest, the voices inside my head were becoming deafening and the lack of activity combined with the slow drain on my bank account made it an easy departure. On a couple levels, I’m glad I stuck around two extra months: I finished my restaurant business plan. It’s totally buttoned-up and will work whenever and wherever I need it to. Living in the Cottage with Chef II was a great experience, our friendship growing exponentially. She’s a gem and I see great things in our future. But Ptown off-season is not for me — No M’am! I now know that and can adjust accordingly. It’s too quiet, too small, too dark and too, well….dead. I need people around, things to do, places to go…you get the picture.
* My trip was easy and uneventful. I spent two great days in Princeton with Teeter. She’s always good for what ails me and sets the perspective nicely. She too is going through some transition so I think my visit did her some good as well. I spent the last night in DC with Lilly Belle and Jeff, dear friends from Auburn. They’re stationed in Washington for a hot minute and it was great to catch up. Leigh is another one that is good for my head…
* I rolled into Atlanta at rush hour on a Wednesday….Ugh, I had somehow forgotten what a nightmare that is. I don’t think there are as many cars on all of Cape Cod as I saw on I-85 in Gwinnett County. It took me an hour to make my way to East Atlanta…
* …where I’ve been living with Matt and Stephen very comfortably and easily. They’re gems and have opened up their home to me without hesitation or conflict. It’s a bit tight but I like the routine. They’ve made coming and going easy and I’m glad to pitch in with housework and such. Cooking has been a joy.
* My trip to Birmingham for Christmas as a tough one, to be honest. I was not prepared for the change in my parents….mostly in my Dad’s attitude on aging but generally in how much slower their days are. They’re still 100% self-sufficient, but I can see that that will not last too much longer. Dad and I had some good conversations about their futures and I listened to him as he bemoaned his arthritic hips and Mom’s memory lapses. But at 80, they’re remarkable. My sister still teeters on being a burden to them. I think she doesn’t realize that they may not be capable of any kind of emotional or physical or financial care she may require. Oy, it’s a bit bleak, the Brown family situation…
* BUT, we threw one hell of a 80th birthday party for my Mother last weekend! Funny what a party can do for folks’ mid-winter blues. I catered, cooking and hosting 35 of their closest friends. It was a joy and came off flawlessly. I’d say it was my best gig ever.
* On the Social Front, it’s been busy. I’ve pretty much caught back up with everyone, save a couple of people. I spent an amazing day with Pattie collecting food for her community food bank; have had beers at Moe’s and Joe’s more than once; picked right back up with Beth; noshed with EriK at our favorite haunts and picked the brains of several old, not-seen-in-a-while friends. All good.
And there you have it, in a nutshell. There’s more, but I’ll get to that in time.