When I was eight years old, my parents had to make a difficult decision. My father had been offered a job in New Jersey, far away from our home state of Florida. As more and more pharmaceutical companies left the area, the move (and accepting the job) seemed like the rational decision but to leave behind everything they knew, all of their family and friends to take a leap into the unknown was frightening. I was young then but I remember seeing the reactions of family and friends who felt if my parents made the move, they would be abandoning them. It was very difficult but eventually my parents decided that to do what was best for their little family, they should accept the job offer and hope for the best. Initially I was distraught as it felt I had no say in the move that tore me away from my cousins, friends, and school.
Before we made the move up, my dad would spend the work week in New Jersey at his new job and then fly home on weekends to see us. It was hard not having him around and even though I was initially upset to be moving, once school let out for the summer and we sold our house to make the big move up north, I started to appreciate this crazy new life adventure. New Jersey is so different from where I grew up! People are different here. In Florida we tended to blend in as so many people shared much of our same history and even physical features. Even the pace of life was different as was the range of cultures, and ideas.
It wasn’t until we moved here and were forced to reconnect with each other (because we didn’t know anyone else) that I became closer with my parents. When we first moved to NJ my father’s company put us up in a small hotel room as we looked for our new home. Because we had so few belongings with us in that little room, my mom, little sister and I would go out and explore our new surroundings quite often. I have fond memories of that first summer. The three of us would spend hours reading together in libraries and bookstores, discovering different parks and trying all kinds of fabulous pizza.
Eventually my parents found a home for us near some distant relatives of my mother. It just so happened that the town we moved to was only about 15 minutes from the beach. We were shocked when we first visited the Jersey Shore. The water is so COLD – so unlike the tropical waters we’d taken for granted when we lived further south. It was quite shocking to us to see just how much people here loved their frigid beaches especially because growing up we had never really frequented our much-milder beaches very often.
Looking back it still amazes me how we rarely went to the beach when we lived in Florida. We maybe went to the beach a handful of times throughout the entire year! New Jersey definitely changed that! While we still aren’t the biggest fans of the water temperature, we have adopted a local appreciation for the beach. I may not be able to enjoy many beach days because of my busy schedule but having the ocean so close has been a true blessing. It is so wonderful to be able to stop by for a walk along the board walk after work or swing by after dinner. I love the waves, the jetties, the sea glass and walking along the shore.
While taking a leap into the unknown was scary, I am so glad my parents decided to make the move all those years ago. Who knows what kind of a person I would have turned out to be if we’d stayed behind. I probably wouldn’t be as interested in preserving my family’s culture, and I wouldn’t have the same open and honest relationship with my parents. I definitely wouldn’t be the same beach-loving person that I am today!
My parents have taught me so much over the years but one of the greatest lessons they’ve taught me- not with words but through their actions- is not to be afraid of change and the unknown. Life is an adventure with good and bad along the way but if you don’t take some risks every once in a while, you will never know what you are missing!
Have you taken any big risks in your life? What (if any) are some of the good things that have stemmed from taking that risk? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you. ☺