Happy Anniversary Week! Let the celebration continue.
Some of you may have watched the Academy Awards and the accompanying hoopla. In this award season, people write up their notes and practice their thank-you speeches. Of course, I have not won an Oscar (although I DID get a sweet Liebster Award recently. Woot! Woot!) But I do think it important to give thanks – every single day.
This anniversary week, especially, I want to pause to give thanks to so many who helped make the first year of Choosing the Better Life a success.
Thanks to My Parents and Family
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for everything. My entire life is blessed because of the solid foundation you provided, the ideas you instilled in me early on, and the constant unconditional love and support you have selflessly offered me for more than four decades. I love, appreciate and thank you very much. Ditto to my beloved brother!
I give special thanks to my parents for introducing me to this special island more than 25 years ago and making my life here possible. My parents are also my biggest cheerleaders and blog supporters. For their Better Life enthusiasm, I cannot thank them enough.
I recently asked each of them what they thought about this blogging journey.
- Dad said, “I just enjoy reading everything you write and can relate to your reflections on so many different levels.”
- Mom replied, “This blogging adventure has turned out to be a learning experience for me, too! I had no idea how it all worked, and have enjoyed seeing the great job you’ve done and also the great response. Social media really is fun! Thank you!”
I also probed their feelings – then and now – about the underlying leaps of quitting my job to take a year off to figure things out, and then deciding to move to the island.
I remember thinking that you were very systematic, as you always are, in thinking about making the change. You explored lots of possible places to live, what you might do, made no rash decisions but ultimately decided to do it and follow whatever path(s) opened up. It was, at the time, very atypical that you didn’t have a “plan” so you could control all the elements of your life (I’m guessing you may have gotten a little of that from me!) but I was actually comfortable by the time you reached the decision that it was a good thing for you to do.
I am ecstatic that you are so happy and enjoying life to its fullest. You are one of the sweetest and kindest persons I know and you deserve this happiness. You not only cherish your own happiness but you export and create happiness for others through your words and deeds. I love you so much – you are the PERFECT daughter!
After I finished wiping away my tears (still very much a Daddy’s girl!), I opened Mom’s email:
I had only excitement about “your leaving” for I already knew your ability to combine “head and heart” to plan for your BIG CHANGE while following your heart to do so. Very gutsy. Very brave. And very inspired. I was proud to help nurture that seed in its early growth, and I have never been a bit nervous about it. It helped that the family all agreed! After all, every ending is also a beginning. I love you very much, and I love that you are living your Better Life!
See why I love them so?!
I’m also fortunate to have a wonderful extended family, many of whom follow the blog, too. Thank you to Yvonne, GBob, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins of all stripes!
Thanks to My Friends and Beau
I am fortunate to have, not one, but several very best girlfriends. They live in different states, and our friendships have endured years and miles. As always, I thank them for their support and encouragement – both in finding happiness in this Better Life and in blogging about it.
I was chatting with one of my besties the other day and asked her to reflect on the past year or two. She acknowledged that she was scared and worried about me when I quit my job. Then, knowing my history and heart-pull to this island, she said she was “relieved” when I moved here. “No worries now!” (Shout out to Theresa, who loves the swimming pigs.)
My other besties supported me by proofreading blog pages before I launched (thanks, Bec!), reading other early writings (thanks, Hedda Sue!), supporting me as only a heart-sister can (thanks, Hedda Jo!), and meeting me for serious girl-talk every time I’m in Florida (thanks, Jillian!) Each of you has contributed to the blog’s first year, and I thank you.
Special thanks to my island friends, too. When you make a random comment in person about knowing pink is my favorite color, or referring to our favorite fella as “Beau,” or admiring my freshly blonde roots, I smile and am glad you’re enjoying the snippets of our island life, too!
And, of course, Beau. Much as he prefers to remain behind the scenes, I would be remiss not to publicly acknowledge him for his support (and photo tolerance) for this blog, all of my writing endeavors and, well, everything! Thank you. (Photo omitted. )
Thanks to Early Supporters and Loyal Followers
I also owe hearty thanks to Robert for being an early and loyal supporter and having the foresight to grab my domain name for me! (More on that in the next post.)
This tribute list would be incomplete without acknowledging my dear friends (and expat island neighbors), Sarah and Butch. Butch is almost always the first to “like” the blog entries on Facebook, and he is a loyal supporter of the blog (and me, having known me for decades now!) Sarah has become a dear friend and is a blogger herself, so we cheer-lead for one another. Thank you, Butch and Sarah!
One of the things that I did not expect about the blog, but I now know to be central to blogging and one of its most rewarding aspects, is the development of a community of commenters on the blog, Facebook and Twitter pages. I wish I could list everyone who has commented on the blog, FB, or Twitter this past year, but you’re too numerous to do so. Please know that I appreciate every single comment, like and tweet! Keep it up!
Thanks to Blogger Inspirers
(Being inspired by other blogs has become so important to me that I keep thinking I need to do a more regular “roundup” of blogs I follow, so I’ll keep this list abbreviated for now.)
As I first explored the world of blogging, I was inspired early on by several established blogs like Jodi at Legal Nomads, Michelle at Bleeding Espresso, Jodi at Soul Speak and Tama Kieves. (Clearly, I was drawn to other former lawyers, who comprise 75% of this list!) Not only was I interested in their blogs, but I also appreciated each of them taking time to answer my questions and correspond with me. Thank you!
Prior to diving into the world of blogging, I would have scoffed skeptically at the idea of online friendships with people I’d never met. It sounded like something out of a late-night world, or dicey internet dating. Thankfully, my eyes have been opened and my experience broadened. Just as I was pleasantly surprised by the warm community of commenters that developed around the blog, I’ve been delighted by new friendships with bloggers around the globe.
Again, I hope to feature blogs more in upcoming posts, but a special shout out to my blogger besties from this past year, Christine at Brighter Side of Life and Jacki at HJ Underway. Your support, encouragement, humor and trading ideas has been more valuable to me than you can imagine. Similarly, I highly value Fabian, Lorena, Lois, Ryan, Jonesy, Russell, Patty, Katie, Drew, Sarah, Sharon, Kate and Kayla and so many other bloggers that I look forward to featuring in the future. Thank you!
Thanks to YOU, Better Lifers!
Last of all, but most certainly not least, I thank YOU! I thank you for your interest, comments, loyalty, support, encouragement and inspiration. You are the reason I write. Thank you!