2022 — A new year and time to find out the secret to being happy.
After the last two plus years of uncertainty, I am finding out the secret to being happy is what I call living a new normal — by being authentic, unique, and focusing on hat makes me happy.
It’s a new year with new beginnings and opportunities. Shooting for a new normal after 2020 and 2021?
Starting a New Blog Makes Me Happy!
I’ve decided to start a new blog and I’m calling it “Chasing the Elusive Butterfly of Happiness.”
I bet you’re secretly wondering where does this name come from?
From my Mom!! She says this is what I’ve been doing since I moved back to North Carolina in 2016, after I happily fired the federal government and decided to leave my intel analysis job to pursue my art full-time.
Derek was ready to get back into the corporate world and I was ready to leave it behind. Seemed like the thing to do for both of us to find happiness. So we set off on our adventure together!
Change is Good
But, life seems to be a full of constant change for us… when we got back to North Carolina, I managed the building of what we thought would be our retirement home; then we went through unplanned open heart surgery for Derek in early 2017 and supervising his recovery; then dealing with drama from the new home owners association, the developer, and the builder. A bit too much drama for us, so we decided to bail and sell the dream home and move yet again. No one needs that much stress. It was the right decision.
We decided to move to Washington, North Carolina! Our dream home went under contract November of 2018 and it was time to find a new home. Easy enough you’d think, but two weeks before closing on our new home we thought we were going to buy we found out was full of mold!!
So we bailed on that purchase and thought we’d rent instead. But we found that renting was not an option due to the hurricane that came through 6 months earlier. There were absolutely no rentals to be had in Little Washington. We scrambled to find anything we could buy and close on within a short two week timeframe. Grateful for our amazing realtor Abbott, he helped us maneuver through this chaos and we did find a small home in a reasonable location, but not ideal — it definitely didn’t replace the dream home we just sold.
So… for me, the search continued for a larger home in a better location. We found another place six months later on the other side of the Pamlico River in Chocowinity, North Carolina.
Progress and a Solo Exhibition
Yes, this meant yet another move during the hottest part of the year — July 2019. I found a pretty good studio space to rent in downtown Washington NC, and life seemed to be coming together. I was painting and selling some art!! I landed gallery representation and managed to get a solo exhibition scheduled for March of 2020 at the North Carolina Estuarium in Washington. I was taking some business classes at the local community college and meeting some great people and expanding my art network. Life was good. I was finally becoming happy.
Then 2020 arrived. I had just set up my solo exhibition at the Estuarium and then everything shut down when the pandemic hit. At first we thought “this will pass” and we can get back to normal. But this pandemic hasn’t passed. Depression started to set in — I stopped making art, frustrated with not being able to get out and go to my studio, and my solo show ended up being cancelled. Although we did make a video of the exhibition and posted it on social media… it just wasn’t the same.
Effects of COVID-19
Life was changing before our eyes. And not just our lives — people we knew were getting sick and dying from this virus. Attitudes were changing… and not always for the better in our eyes.
After a year of watching things slowly spiral out of control politically, economically, and emotionally, Derek and I started to discuss our options. Yes, you guessed it, we decided it was time for another move. But this time, a much bigger move, a more involved move, a move to another country… to Canada. This was HUGE — a life-changing adventure for sure.
One thing I am grateful for is Derek’s ability to humor me and roll with my crazy adventurous side!! Life has never been dull since we met. “Let’s do this!!” It took a lot of planning and coordination, but we did it!! We crossed the border into Canada at approximately 10pm on January 3, 2021 and arrived at our rental in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia at 9am January 4th. We settled in for our two-week quarantine and the beginning of our new life.
There is a quote that comes to mind from Rosalia de Castro that says:
I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I am going in what inspires me to travel it.Rosalia de Castro
Life is Short
Why not? Life is short. Derek thinks the elusive butterfly of happiness for me is growth. It’s not about a destination or settling down. It’s more about moving forward and experiencing as much of the world as I can before I die. I feel like he is right.
Ever since I lost my first husband, Bill Weatherly, on April 15, 1999, I have been trying to find out what makes me happy. Experiencing new places and trying new things in life seems to do the trick.
Finding that special place to live, where we feel safe and comfortable, makes me happy. It’s hard to explain, but I’ve come to the conclusion I shouldn’t have to explain myself, I just have to live my life and do whatever it is that makes me happy. I trust my gut instinct and my hubby Derek. I’m pretty sure the Universe won’t lead us astray.
What is Normal Anyway?
People may question our way of life, and I’m sure some people don’t see me as normal… moving so much, taking on so much change, constant change… but that’s okay, I’m not them. I’m me and I’m grateful to have an amazingly supportive husband who is willing to walk this journey with me.
Another quote comes to mind… this one by Maya Angelou:
If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can beMaya Angelou
I’m definitely not normal and I am definitely looking forward to finding out how amazing I am. If you’d like to know more about me, check out my ‘About‘ page on my blog.
Wishing you and your families all the best for the 2022 New Year!! I hope you discover how amazing you are in 2022!! Here’s to all of you amazing people out there!! May you find YOUR elusive butterfly of happiness!
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A lovely first instalment on the new path ahead! Congrats ???? Dear Friend! I look forward to witnessing your journey, and hope to traverse alongside for parts of the trek!
Thanks Penney!! Glad to be up here in Nova Scotia with you and I’m certain we’ll be traversing together on many things!!
Looking forward to continuing to follow your travels and evolving art creations!
Miss you n NC but who knows when travel safety increases we may head up for a visit!
Thanks Gloria!! I’ll be posting new work and new thoughts soon! We’d love to have you up for a visit when its safe to travel. Hugs!!
No matter where you are, you go with the flow of your creative energy! How wonderful Jackie!! Congrats!!…
Thanks Monica! We love it here and people like you and Penney make Nova Scotia even more awesome!! Such an inspirational place to live and be inspired!
I am in love with that picture. The sky/clouds are outstanding. Is that a silk piece or acrylic-oil? Whatever it is, I would love to see how you got that effect!
Hi Linda! Thank you so much! It’s actually a digitally altered photograph I took of a place called Seawind Landing on the eastern shore of Nova Scotia. The app I used to create this artwork is called PAINNT. I will be turning this image into greeting cards in the near future! Stay tuned for how to get yours!! Happy New Year!
Jackie, what a wonderful statement of who you are and how and why you’ve followed your heart! Having known you so long, it all makes complete sense. I can only wish for you the most creative, full and happy life in Nova Scotia. It’s beauty and character have made it one of our favorite places ever so who knows, maybe we’ll have to make another trip up your way. Hugs and best always to you and Derek!
Thank you Georgia! Such kind words and so appreciated. Hard to believe it has been a year today since we arrived in Nova Scotia!! So far it’s been all we could have hoped for!! Let us know when you and Bill head this way, we’d love to see you. Hugs and best always to you and Bill!