Every time I visit Florida I think about the old days. And when I say the old days, I mean a decade ago – when Jeff and I first started dating. He lived in Winter Springs and I lived in Rock Hill, so I spent Christmas break/spring break/ part of summer break in Florida. Days at the pool or the beach, nights out with friends. Downtown Disney and Epcot and all the things Charlotte didn’t offer …
In fact, my first plan after graduation was to move to Orlando. Colleen and I had it all planned out; we would go there together and be roommates. I would get a job at what Jeff called “The Orlando Slantinal” and she would get a hotel job and it would be so much fun. I’d lived in the Carolinas my entire life and I was ready to get the heck outta Dodge for a while.
But a couple of months before graduation, Jeff decided to move to Charlotte instead. It made more sense – Charlotte is a much better place for his industry (computer geekiness) and he was able to triple (quadruple?) his salary by making the move.
Looking back on that decision, I’m both happy and sad it happened that way. My family is in the area, and I love having them close by. Charlotte keeps getting better and better by the day, and of course, many of my friends are still there. I love the seasons in the Carolinas – and I’m learning that I really prefer cold weather to hot.
But when I’m in Florida, I feel like I’m touching on what could have been a different life for us. Yes, it’s hot all the time. Even in December when it’s not hot, it’s still hot. And yes, my friends and family are far away. But part of Jeff’s family is here (my in-laws are the coolest in-laws on the planet), and his old friends are here. And if Colleen had come with me she would be here. My little sister in my sorority lives here.
Florida is the adventure I didn’t get to have.
Do I still want us to live here? Not really. Like I said, I am learning I’m not so much a hot-weather person. And it would cost too much in the investment in sunscreen alone for my pasty skin.
But I still crave the adventure. New York City? Rome? Even just Uptown Charlotte? Somewhere. I want us to go somewhere.