What A Difference 5 Years Makes

Five years ago, this month, I was trying to empty out the last of my belongings from my home in Pulaski, Tennessee. I was packing, selling, donating and cleaning. I spent my nights in a nearly empty living room containing only a chair, a tv and the complete series of Frasier on DVD. I was scared but ready to give up the season of struggle that I had known for so long. I wanted to leave behind the memories of my house, my neighborhood and my hometown. After years of heartache, I was going to follow my dream of moving to Florida.

I was looking for happiness. I was looking for wealth and success. I was looking for opportunities that weren’t available in my small hometown. I was looking for something that I had never had before but I didn’t know exactly what it was.

I first moved to Spring Hill, FL where my son lived so I wouldn’t be alone. But it was a huge city compared to the small town I had lived in for the last 42 years. I made many friends but I felt like I was in another country, a big, scary one. I experienced culture shock. I never felt comfortable driving there. One day my transmission went out in the middle of the busiest intersection in town. People started blowing their horns and I could do nothing but cry and throw my hands helplessly in the air. I soon decided I wouldn’t find happiness there and started planning another move.

I followed my heart to Panama City. In my first week there, I landed two jobs and found a home. I discovered opportunities that weren’t previously available to me. I love living close to the water. I have started putting down some roots and I believe this is where I am supposed to be.

I finally feel like I am living the life I always wanted to be living. My broken heart healed and I climbed out of the mud I had been trudging around in. I somehow found the strength to keep pushing forward. Fear and the need for companionship brought me closer to God and He helped me a lot along the way. Happiness is not a constant state of euphoria. It is the overall sense of experiencing more positive emotions than negative ones.

I traveled back to my hometown this week to visit my family. I felt very happy tonight while eating at La Fuente Mexican Restaurant and even more so when my son picked up the bill. I feel happy every time I laugh out loud with my grandson, when I snuggle with my granddaughter, when I hug my daughter, when my sis and I sing along with YouTube and when I eat my mama’s homemade chili on a cold day. Happiness is finding what excites your soul and doing lots of it.




  • Was so good to see you Happy………………………………………..

    Laverne Childers
  • I love spending this time with you! ❤️

    Amy Harwell

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