What’s in a year? What’s in a day? What’s in an hour? What’s next?
So many things to ponder and so many things to do. A year back, I had just arrived to Atlanta; I was barely getting my bearings; I was experiencing life in a new place and everything was new. New home. New apartment. New job. Not new everything, but enough new things to keep me on my toes constantly while wondering what new adventures I would have.
One birthday later and I’m still getting my bearings. There’s something about being a flight away from my real home that is equal parts comforting and scary. Being this far from my family for this long is a new experience and honestly one of the few things I don’t enjoy from the move. That and the distance from the beach because I still haven’t gone for a surf on the mainland. Between lack of equipment, taking a while to do the necessary maintenance on my car, and all the crazy things that happen on the news every day, well, getting to proper beaches has been a challenge, though one I do hope to conquer soon.
Being stateside, the realm of possibility has never been this vast for me. I still haven’t done a book event but I’ve identified several places where I can and will. It’s all about writing an email and finding out when the best moment to go for it is, which is often on the lines of “the sooner the better.” Life in Georgia is a peculiar life for an Island boy and there is an overabundance of inspiration to enjoy. The new car smell is still here for me and my wife and finding a new restaurant to try or new places to visit is ridiculously easy.
Still, when you move to a new place, you look for different ways to make that place feel like home. Of course the company you keep helps immensely, but you appreciate different things. Going to a Latin restaurant is a completely different experience here. Being able to go into a place and talk and order and joke around in Spanish is something else, I tell ya. When I went to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens at night and heard coquís, I cried (Btw, coquís are a dime sized breed of Puerto Rican frog with an unmistakable song). It took me to come to the states to be the Puerto Rican or be told “WOW, you’re SO Puerto Rican”. It’s a funny experience but a lovely one nonetheless.
We still have to finish furnishing the apartment, things are still in PR in storage, but bit by bit, this becomes a lovely place to live in. This may not feel like a full on home but it is a home away from home, most definitely.
On birthdays, I often take time to contemplate what life has been during the last year and what I want the new year to bring. For my 35th birthday, the topic was healing. I needed to change so many things in my life to get to a better and healthier place that it was a scary prospect, but one I tackled regardless. For my 36th birthday, the name of the game was change and boy was change a central topic for that year. Now that I’m officially 37, the phrase I’m feeling within is “go for it” and it applies to many things.
I’m finishing several books that are quite different from what I’ve done to this point. I have plans to do a website and sell and send signed copies of my books on the mainland before I decipher how to send to the world. I will be looking into doing several events for 2018 and who knows if maybe one before the year is up. I will be doing road trips to a couple of places soon and continue my adventures in the world.
Throughout all of this, one thing becomes even clearer… I couldn’t do this without the support of family, friends, and frands. Having the support of my wife, my mom, my brothers, and my life family has always been an essential part of my life. Sure I take risks, sure I go for it, but the support I get daily from people who care for and love me, who read me, who support me in life, on the job, and on my writer journey means the absolute world to me. That’s because I’ve been blessed to find myself in contact with generous people. Wonderfully generous people who believe in what I’m doing and how I’m doing it, who watch my vids, read my books, and think about me when they see a cool pair of socks, try a delightful tea, eat a weird yogurt, or see a pristine banana. I am me for it is my decision to be this way, but I’m also me because everyone supports and encourages me and makes it easy to be as me as I can be. So I shall continue to do so, in life, in love, in quirkiness, in books, and in friendship.
In the last year, I’ve gained a few gray hairs and even a few pounds, but I’ve gained so many new friends, so many new experiences, so many new adventures, that I can’t help but be excited of the prospects of that ever evolving question of what’s next. I might kid around that I feel old, but that’s mostly to do with my favorite albums turning 25 years old, my favorite bands being played in the classic rock section, or realizing that I’m 3 years away from being 40. But I don’t feel old. Wiser? Perhaps (especially on the good days where I can use the bitch slaps of life to offer honest advice). But older? Not really. And that’s because love, life, and words keep me young at heart and mind and I’m happy to share them with all the wonderful people of my life.
Thank you for another amazing year. For reading, for reviewing, for pressuring me to write more, for asking how the hell I write and do so much, for laughing with me (and occasionally at me, especially when I try a yogurt that my taste buds do NOT Approve of). People often say that life is good… and they’re right, although life is many things. So here’s to defining life as we see fit and answering that wonderful “what’s next?” question with a smile, good intentions, kindness, and a story or two.
Peace, love, and maki rolls