The last day of my old job came and went. I was very stressed out and although I absolutely loved the job, I am glad that it is over. The last day went well, but I was still very anxious. Fortunately, ever since then I have been feeling a lot better. I am giving myself a week to devote to self-care and self-soothing activities before I start deciding what to do job wise. Yesterday I used birthday money to give myself a massage from my favorite spa and as my tense body was being rubbed and relaxed, an intense wave of gratitude washed over me. I am incredibly, incredibly lucky and blessed to be able to do this. A lot of people do not have the support, the resources, the time, and the knowledge of how important self-care is. I am so glad that my decision to make it a priority in my life right now is supported by the people I love. I have to take care of myself or I will end up relapsing and back in the hospital. I had to quit my job, even though I did not have a replacement (a common criticism), because I was so anxious that I was making myself sick. Living in anxiety had become a way of life again and I recognized that I needed to kick it out. The way I feel now is glorious! Of course, I have my anxious moments, but they are mere moments now and not a way of life. (Last week, I was having several panic attacks a day! It was definitely a loud sign that my life needed to change.)
The last day of our vacation was bittersweet. It was both a wonderful and relaxing day with more opportunities for good food, fellowship, and beautiful picture-taking, but it also contained a terrifying jet ski ride and it meant that the vacation was almost over.
I wanted to include a picture of my uncle cooking breakfast, but lately I've been taking greater care to only include pictures of others unless I've specifically asked the person and gotten their permission to post it. I am pretty impulsive and carefree when it comes to my pictures, but I know many other people are more cautious and easily embarrassed. So....no pictures of the great cook, but there is a picture of my yummy last breakfast! We had cherries, scrambled eggs with cheese and sausage, and hashbrowns cooked in bacon fat. Let me repeat that last part: hashbrownns cooked in bacon fat!!!
OMG!!! The potatoes were leftover from the honey mustard chicken and vegetable casserole that I made on day three. They still had the tang from the honey mustard and the bacon fat gave them a smoky, heavenly flavor.
After breakfast, we went down to the pier. My uncle and my first cousins once removed went to fish, while the rest of us went down just to sightsee. Once I got down to the pier, I realized that it was a such a shame that it was the first time that I had made it down there on our trip, because it offered some beautiful views and was very relaxing and peaceful. I took a bunch of pictures, which I will share with you (of course!).
I didn't know what "Alligator Ice" was, but I thought it was worth a picture. Turns out it's a type of slushy.
There were these black crows sitting morbidly on the railing. I didn't realize that crows were beach birds!
I like the close-up view of the bird the best:
Let's continue on our journey down the pier...
Here is another postcard picture:
Later that day, I did something that was not so relaxing for me-I rode on the back of a jet ski that my dad rented for an hour. Sounds like adventure and fun, right? Maybe it would be if I was the type of person who liked things liked roller coasters and motorcycles and just in general fast and dangerous things, but I do not. I was not planning on riding it at all, but then my dad offered to let me ride on behind him and I thought that perhaps I should not let this opportunity go by without giving it a try. And oh man, was I wrong! I absolutely hated it! The wind going through my hair, the bumpy waves...made me scream and cry in terror. Hopefully I have learned my lesson and will stick to what I know to be true about myself and will leave the dangerous and fast stuff to my Naval navigator brother.
Fortunately, it didn't take me too long to recuperate. The whole gang of us gathered on top of the crow's nest on top of the beach house that night to watch the sunset and to take pictures. It was a beautiful and sweet and slightly sad moment. Of course, then there was dinner and then there was the hustle and bustle of packing, which was not so fun. This Sunset Beach vacation was one of the best vacations ever, mainly because it reminded me of what is important-being around the people I love, being mindful and appreciative of good food and pleasant sensations, and recognizing how good it feels when life is taken more slowly and lovingly, instead of in fast, painful gulps of panic. I am hoping and planning to continue on in this mindful, intentional, pleasurable way.