Looking for Friends in all the Wrong Places

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I live in a small town. But its not quite what you think.

Flagler beach, Florida is a lazy beach town bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. We’re on a barrier Island which means if you want to go to the real world you have to cross a bridge—something many of us try to avoid.

When my family got here three years ago, we had no idea what to expect. We were quite literally basing our move off a series of Google searches. The photos of the beach looked nice, the schools were decent, so we came.

I’ll be the first to admit, Flagler beach is not your typical Florida tourist town. In fact, when I arrived I was a little concerned. The town felt—dare a say—a little scuzzy? A little raw? If Flagler Beach were a person it would be a road weary biker dude, worn, tired but happy. If you met him in a bar you might be a bit apprehensive at first, but ultimately he’d be the kind of guy you’d want to sit by for the night because the stories he had to tell. That’s Flagler Beach.

I remember when I got here I desperately missed my friends from Madison, Wisconsin. The upper middle class stay-at-home moms that I hung with were nowhere to be seen. I kept saying to my husband “Where are my people?”

They were here, but I was looking in the wrong places.

Last night my husband and I went to our friend, David Karner’s movie premier in Daytona Beach about thirty minutes from Flagler. The attendees that night were mostly from our town.  As small towns go, there was plenty of sitcom worthy conflict and tension in the air, but we put it all aside to support an amazing guy.

The movie was wonderful, we clapped wildly, and as the crowd cheered, sending their love forward I looked to the group and felt a warmth welling in me.

These are my people, I thought.

Writers, artists, musicians, movie makers, entrepreneurs, free spirits. No, they weren’t moms with mini vans, whose lives revolve around t-ball practice. They were people a varying ages and backgrounds, with a passion for creating…and yes a love for one and other.

Those Google searches I did three years ago could have never captured what I’ve found in this quirky town. And now as my life intersects and weaves together with this marvelous, energized group of people I am reminded:

I’ve found my people.

I am home.

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