When the real estate bubble popped a few years ago, a lot of people around here and other places experienced devastating losses. Some of them got back on the proverbial horse and started over with a more renewed spirit, learning from their mistakes, others are still struggling, wondering how it all happened.
And while we are seeing tremendous regrowth, we have not forgotten how we got here.
Property values are ascending, people are buying second homes again for their beach getaways and even more amazing, people are BUILDING again, but there is still the dust of loss in the air.
Some of us blow it away in reaffirmation of our own strength and some of us feel it weighing in on our chests.
Many people that you know here lost thousands, even millions of dollars. People gave back their homes, their cars, and put their designer shoes for auction on Ebay. You know people in your neighborhood that held off on a divorce because they could not afford it, or asked their children to consider community college instead, or even moved in with their seventy year old parents.
So when we ponder all this lost……what did we really lose?
What is it truly a loss if we learned from it?
If it made us better?
Is it a “loss” only when we quit?
A certain Vince Lombardi quote comes to mind, “We didn’t lose the game…..we just ran out of time.”
My point is our panhandle coastline is still a beautiful, glorious place. We have lost nothing. If anything we have gained.
Those of us that gave our possessions back to the bank learned to appreciate what really mattered, our relationships with our loved ones, with our God, with our inner self, all items that interest rates and the stock market index can not commandeer , unless we let them.
Those of us that experienced material loss had an amazing opportunity to look deep inside ourselves and tap into our own abundance, our own power to create and manifest. We gained spiritually.
So we went back to school. We picked up new skills, we changed careers. We started to write that business plan, that song, that piece of art we always dreamed about. We rolled up our sleeves and job or no job, we got back to work. I watched my mother start over at nearly fifty years old. I watched her build a company and then help start another. She chose not to relive, but to rebuild. A choice, that many people in this community have made.
This is an area that is used to rebuilding. When a hurricane is coming, we put boards on our windows until the storm passes. We do what is necessary, but we do not stop living.
And living we are, as occupancy rates are up, houses are selling and 2012 is on point to be a record breaking year for visitors, all proving that the Florida panhandle is resilient and ready for the next chapter of her adventure.
And the best part?
Coppertone still smells like heaven.