Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Tilt.

It’s been six days in Daytona Beach, and the epiphanies have  been incredible. It’s totally changed the way I look  at  so  many  things. Of course,  when  realizations come that fast, they kind of boggle the mind and even hurt a little bit. This trip was nothing like I expected.

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy

I guess Eye Opener #1 is this energy I feel here. It’s very healing.  I didn’t  expect to like  Daytona—at  all— because I’d not cared too much for the energy on previous trips 50 miles south of Daytona or 50 miles north of Daytona.  I’d  never  actually  been  in  the  Palm Coast/ Daytona  Beach  area,  not  even  driving  through.  Funny that  I’ve driven almost down that far or almost up that far, but this  stretch  of Florida is one I’d never encountered. So I expected to hate it and find it grungy and dull and  beach-trashy.  Instead,  I  was  surprised  by the  turquoise of the ocean and breeze on my face and the sense of forgetting everything left behind at home. Not that I would move here, but I can see how easy would be to forget all about the place I’ve lived for so long and every- one and everything there.

But it feels good here, this energy. There’s a playfulness and a friendliness  that was evident in the first couple of days and only grew stronger through the week.

The first surprise was a man dancing on the sidewalk, just carefree and happy and in the moment. But he wasn’t the only one.

I was taken aback by the friendly, good-looking men everywhere saying  hello  and  striking  up  conversations. This isn’t something I find back home. Ever. Back home, it’s  so  conservative  and restrictive  and  the  men  there don’t seem to like my preferences in clothes or attitudes or beliefs, so it was a shock to find so many here who were appreciative of the real me, instead of expecting me to be what they want me to be.

I’d thought  it was  something  I just  had to endure, those attitudes. So the eye opener is that the energy in the place where I’ve made my whole adult life is not conducive to who I am or what I want, and that the energy in other geographical places is actually much better for me. I always thought the place I was living was great and nice and I couldn’t expect any more. But my relationship with my geographical area is like a relationship  with a person, and sometimes you don’t realize you’re just  settling for something you’re used to. Not that it isn’t great and nice, but omigods, I’d weep openly if I had people be as open, friendly,  and  playful  around  me  as  I’ve  seen  among strangers this week.

Now I sort of understand what different friends have meant about just get out and meet people and what could be so hard, when they didn’t understand at all what the energy is like in the place I’ve built my life. I just never realized how different a geographical energy could be for me, and how good it could be for me, even if I have no intentions of living there. It’s made me think.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *