Dear Jacksonville Beach,
I'm sitting outside a coffee shop with the company of just you and myself. You're giving me one of those days. One of those days that makes me sit back and soak it all in. I've been thinking about everything I have and fail to value--especially you. I have the tendency to resist enjoying something in the present moment, thinking of what I had or what's next, sometimes leaving me feeling a little bit empty.
Through the quarrels and tribulations (on your behalf), I have a lot to love. Today I walked and listened to the life around me. I watched your cotton candy sky brighten with every minute as the sun went down. Your horizon stared at me like I was the only person left. My pup leisurely walked in front of me, she seemed to be feeling the same way. I thought about you and how you've been my home for five years. I've never felt home like this before. You raised me. I came here bright eyed and fully inspired, naive to the consequences of the risks you'd throw at me.
You pushed me through school, making me understand my worth and giving me a passion to be better. You reminded me not to settle, but to strive in every aspect of my life. You prodded me in directions that pushed me so far out of my comfort zone, I thought I'd never feel it again.
You also broke me. You showed me a new kind of heartbreak and hit me with the realization that it had never been worse. I thought you betrayed me, even after calling you home for this long. It's only now I feel I've truly forgiven you.
You took what I had and ripped it from my arms, tricking me to toss it myself. And in the depths of my darkness dressed in whiskey and anger, you gave me another reason. With a snarky grin you gave me back myself. You took everything standing in between us and forced it together in a volatile crash. Through a tear I smile at the realization that it's all so cynically romantic. You put my face in the dirt only to help me see how much of myself I'd actually lost. You caught me before I'd done irrevocable damage. And that reason alone gave me the sight to see everything more clearly.
It's only because of you I have what I have now. My most valued friendships and the experience that changed the way I see the world. You made me fall in love with life all over again and for that I'm forever indebted. I owe you what I can never repay, but just know that I'm grateful for you and all your quirks, no matter how much they feel like bad jokes. And though I've outgrown you, I think I'll always consider you home. I mean, you practically raised me.
With love always,