2015 started out on a very stressful note. I was extremely tired and stressed and I just wanted a change. I thought about moving to an island because it's what everyone always says but never really does and I couldn't find a reason not to, and every reason to try. I planned this move starting in January of this year, I visited in March and I moved in June. It's December and I'm still here and I can honestly say that I made the right decision for me. On paper, my life in Chicago was perfect. In reality, my stress level averaged a 12 on a 10-point scale. Now, my stress level is probably a 0 or a 1 or 2 daily and maybe a 3 or 4 when I'm at work. I used to check my email and phone at least every 5 to 10 minutes during dinners with friends and family. Now, I sometimes don't turn on or forget my phone or sometimes my phone doesn't even work in certain places and here and I don't really stress out about that. I used to shop just to shop back in the states; here we buy things we need to live and that's been a great change. It's not that we don't just buy things sometimes as well here because I did just that about two hours ago because it was "super cute," but for the most part, our houses are not trinket central and shop therapy doesn't play a huge role here.
For the first time in my life, back in September, I was really happy just being me by myself. I didn't necessarily need anyone in my life to make me happy, I figured out how to change my environment and surroundings to create the happiness I was meant to have. And then about a week after that happened, I did meet someone who made my life really special. The most important part of this whole experience is that it's amazing to meet someone who is on the same wavelength as you and who makes everyday even easier than it was before, but who isn't the foundation of your happiness. I learned that it's important to be content with your life before someone comes into it because a relationship is not an anchor for happiness, it should be more like a sail that can be raised as needed when flowing through life. It almost feels like I was meant to come here and figure out things about myself that I couldn't figure out back in Chicago (Like that I get super seasick while sailing in the open sea during a rainstorm. Sorry fishies and thank you to my boyfriend for holding my hair back; You must really like me because that wasn't one of my best moments.)
When I first came here, I made a huge deal about the temperature difference between St. Croix and Chicago, and while it's nice to be able to wear flip-flops everyday and have extremely warm temperatures year-round, the temperature and location isn't really important. Many people are extremely happy all around the world and not everyone lives on a tropical island. What I really like about St. Croix is the attitude people have towards life. I love the small community and the value people put on each other. I just had one of the warmest and most genuine holiday celebrations. It started really early on Christmas morning with the most beautiful sunrises made even more special by someone I really love, and the weekend continued with people who genuinely cared about each other and wanted to see each other happy. We did give presents but that wasn't the focus, although the aloe socks I'm wearing right now feel amazing, especially since we almost never wear socks here! And to my boyfriend's mom who gave them to me, thank you! And thank you to my wonderful parents who sent me my favorite banana chocolates, iced coffee, dried fruit and a mini new year's tree (it took two trips to the post office and some pleading and puppy eyes but it was well worth it).
2015 came with some of the best and some of the worst moments of my life. I am so thankful for both because I was able to figure out what really makes me happy and I was able to meet people who have the same outlook on life as I do now. I really miss my family and my friends who are still in Chicago and elsewhere, and if I could have one wish, I'd bring them all here to be with me. But right now, this is the place where I should be and while it may or may not be forever, it has been the best decision I ever made.