Whenever I was a child and I got grumpy, my babysitter used to say “Where’s Catherine!? I think we lost her!” Then we’d go on a hunt for “Catherine” a.k.a. me. We looked under pillows, in my bed, in my closet, under rocks… And, when I’d “find her,” the smile came back on my face and all was well again.
Well, I think I found Catherine again, only I hadn’t realized she was lost. She was buried pretty deep, and it was hard to notice her absence. In the past 6 days of living in Grenada, she and I have reunited piece by piece. I asked her where she had gone. I wanted to know how she could have let so much time go by since we’d last seen each other.
I got to thinking how I could have let this happen, and I think I know the answer. This month will mark six years since Hurricane Katrina devastated my home. Six years since one single storm drastically altered the life I knew, the life I thought I would always have. Six years since memories were washed away and six years since ideas of a future got washed away too.
Since then, good things have happened. I’ve worked extremely hard. I feel as though I’ve been successful and reached if not surpassed my potential. I met the love of my life, and I married him. I worked my first full time job. I got a master’s degree. I did the things people do when they are around 24 years young. I checked a lot of boxes. I crossed a lot of t’s and dotted lots of i’s.
But through all that, it seemed like a lot of my hard work was helping me to ignore some nagging problems – sadness and loss from the hurricane that took my home away from me. I went to Virginia, and I spent years away from my family, trying to push out images of my parents working like dogs to try to fix our home, to fix our life. I didn’t want to think about it.
Every time I went home and visited, it hurt. It hurt my heart. It’s not just a house you lose, it’s memories. It’s not being able to get married in the church you grew up in. It’s seeing my parents’ give up their own space and their own time just to live, just to get to the next day.
For a long time, I didn’t say a word about this because people had it worse than me. People had 12 feet of water, not 8. People died. Lots of people died. I made new memories, and I had an insanely gorgeous wedding with everything I could have possibly wanted. My family lived through it and went on to new jobs, and I met my husband. And, painful as it was – I would do it all over again just to get the chance to know him again. But, I’ve learned now that what happened did suck, and it’s okay to cry about it, even if others had it worse. Because writing and crying about it helps to heal it. At least, for me it does.
Where I’m going with this: Grenada is awesome. I think I’m in love. I’ve been here almost a week, and I’m so relaxed. There are people who don’t like it here because they have to wait a long time for the bus or because people are slightly disorganized. But, I have no where to go and no where to be, so I just peacefully wait on people if I need something. I’m 100% okay with it.
It’s truly amazing how much less you have to worry when you start to embrace minimalism. My house takes 30 minutes to clean. My dishes take 5 minutes to wash. The bus is free. The beach is gorgeous. I’m doing really great.
I thought I couldn’t live without my iPhone. I thought my arm would literally fall off my body if I didn’t tweet and facebook all day long.
But it hasn’t.
It’s still attached.
I thought I would be crushed to miss out on some daily HGTV shows.
But I’m not crushed.
Never in my life have I had 6 days in a row where I’ve been happy. Have you? In the past, I consistently had good days and bad, busy days and lazy days. I know there will be trials and tribulations here. I know the hubs will get stressed with school work. I know from time to time, we will argue as all couples do. But that’s okay because a large part of my stress is gone. I don’t need four bedrooms and a white picket fence to be happy. I just need some time to breathe, and I’m so grateful to have it.
All I can say is, you can be Grenadian too.
Just look at the piles of laundry or piles of stuff in your closet, and just let it go. There are some things I would have never dreamed of letting go a few years ago, but I did. I gave away almost everything I owned when I came here. The rest of my earthly belongings are taking up a room upstairs in my in-laws house. That’s it. Just a room. And I probably don’t need half of that stuff either.
I wish I would have done this years ago. All I can say is, if you’re back in the busy rush rush rush of life, don’t wait for a vacation. Don’t wait for something drastic to happen. Just try to enjoy each moment, even if you’re doing something no one likes such as the dishes. If you keep digging, keep purging, and keep living, I have a sneaky suspicion you just might find yourself too.
Just don’t wait six years like I did.