While I try to maintain a certain amount of balance to my life, I find it difficult at times to do that and when things get to me, I go in search of what makes me feel ok with the world. I call this my serenity. The word, itself, means the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. Even the sound of the word is calming. When we first moved out of the suburbs back in 1990, we were looking for some property where we could build a home and raise the kids in a time and place that wasn’t crazy and unsafe. We searched within an hour of where we were living and found nothing appealing. We stretched out our search and after feeling we were striking out, we ended up in Northern Michigan, four hours away. There we found 20 acres way off the beaten path and decided this was where we were going to land. Why? There were very good reasons people called it ‘God’s Country’. It had a panoramic view of about 8 miles and between the wildlife, the woods on the property, the quiet except for nature, and plenty of clear space to build in, we knew it had to be “home.” I kept searching for a word that described the feelings it invoked in me and, after living there for a few months, serenity popped into my head. I asked my husband if we could call our new homestead by that name and he agreed. He felt it aptly suited it.
When family responsibilities pulled us away from there after 6 years, we missed every aspect of living there. We’d lost our serenity. No place we tried living brought that back to us. Our discontentment was obvious. We realized that while serenity is a mindset, an attitude, and an acceptance of where you are, we couldn’t find a place that suited us to achieve that. It would be another 18 years before we did.
I knew when I saw my current house and where it was located, that we’d found serenity again. There was a lot of work that needed to be done and it was buried under years of neglect, but we were both hopeful and excited. Just this morning, the lake was smooth and clear, exactly like a mirror reflecting the shoreline. The only ripples in the water were caused by the occasional geese or swan family that would parade down the lake, a perfect line of fuzzy, yellowish babies with one parent in the front and the other picking up the rear. It is a still day. One without the usual breeze, but the birds are tweeting and the chipmunks are chattering. We went from 50 degree weather to 80 degree weather over the last two days. The projected 40% chance of overnight rain never materialized. I see petals dropping from the trees like snow. The pollen is high right now making us all suffer a bit and last night, just after it finally cooled off enough to sleep, with the windows all open, a skunk let loose and forced us to close all of the windows in a very big hurry. There’s a price to pay for serenity, I guess. I can’t help but wonder how long it will be like this. I hope for several more years. We find peace and calmness here, even in the dead of winter. The lake is beautiful year round in different ways and my house has become a very comfortable home that we love living in and sharing with others.
Not everyone is so lucky. We had the means and the wherewithal to search, and ultimately find, our serenity. It’s never been perfect, but it’s close. The lack of perfection gives us something to aspire to, something to work towards. That’s why it’s important for each of us to find a place we can do the same in. A place that always feels like home and calls you back when you are away. Somewhere that brings you the peace and tranquility you need to restore yourself, whether it’s overnight, a weekend, or a lifetime. It might not be a house or a location. It might be a relationship, a career, an opportunity, or a situation. It could be all of those things working in tandem with each other. Whatever it may be for you, finding it is key to a happy, healthy life, and one you deserve. You will know it when you find it and make sure you can hold onto it as long as possible. Where is your serenity?