Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Yesterday I noticed that my local Walmart no longer carries sun-dried tomatoes. Instead they now have a 5 x 5′ section dedicated to one brand of boxed macaroni and cheese. I tell you this for two reasons. First, I love sun-dried tomatoes, especially the ones packed in oil. (Extra healthful, right?) Secondly, the absence of sun-dried tomatoes at my local Walmart* seems to be a sign from the Universe. Let me explain.

*For anyone who doesn’t know, Walmart is my only option for food shopping unless I want to drive 45 minutes to the closest stand-alone grocery store.

Last week, I started writing this same post. At the time, I titled it “The Secret.” Not that I was revealing a secret, but in reference to the book The Secret, as in if you put it something out there, it comes (back) to you.

If you’ve followed IBC for some time (I’ve been doing this for 8 years now!), you know that every year around this time I write a post about bettering my life. Yet, year after year, I find myself in the same predicament. Over the past year, I’ve decided not to get super personal here on IBC because I felt no one needed to hear all that “stuff,” and besides, it wasn’t professional. (I even created Behind the Charm to share more personal things, but that hasn’t worked.)

I don’t want this post to be sad, so I’m going to keep the explanation to a few short sentences. In a nutshell, 2016 was an awful year for me personally. Through the IBC/work lens it was a wonderfully successful year with lots of amazing opportunities, trips, magazine features, etc. However “behind the charm,” I’ve been pretty miserable. In short, I’m lonely, often unmotivated, and carrying a couple extra pounds. I’ve also somehow managed to lose most of my friends. I could go on, but you get it.

I do love my job and am so grateful for the success I’ve had while getting to create day in and day out. I often find it hard to complain when, if you look at my life on the outside, it seems to be magical.

So, you’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with sun-dried tomatoes and why I’m writing about it here. I need your help and opinions. My question is this: With “nothing” left for me here in St. Mary’s, is it time for me to move?

Sun-dried Tomatoes | Inspired by Charm

Before you can answer, a few things to consider.

First, I love my home, but I’m not attached to it. It’s not in an ideal location, plus I’d like a bigger yard, etc.

Secondly, as I’ve mentioned before, my plan has been to buy my grandparents’ house when the time comes. My grandfather passed about two years ago and my grandma still lives there. Naturally, I want her to live forever, but as a result, that puts me in limbo.

Also, Is buying a house in an area that seemingly has little to offer me (e.g., no relationships, no friends, no sun-dried tomatoes) the best decision?

Another plan I’ve had is to purchase my grandparents’ home when the time comes, but also rent or buy a little condo near the beach so I can have the best of both worlds.

And if I do decide to leave St. Marys, how do I even begin to choose where to live? Given my job, the world is my oyster. However, what if I move, and I’m more lost and lonely than I am now?

As you can see, I’m confused. I also need to consider my two cats. I can’t just abandon them for half of the year if having two residences would be the best option. I also have no intention of getting rid of them. They are part of my life until they pass to Kitty Heaven.

Also, St. Marys is home. Being close to my family is a gift that I treasure. However, lately I feel like I have just a supporting role in their lives rather than a life of my own.

And speaking of a life of my own, I haven’t dated in years. It doesn’t help that I’m a bit of an introvert, but a guy trying to meet a guy in small town America is kind of tricky. Many young people want out of this place the day after they graduate. This has been a big issue for me because year after year, I want nothing more than to spend my life with someone.

So, in a nutshell, that’s my situation. (Also, I should mention I am chatting with someone about all of this “stuff” in trying to work things out. I’m not making any major life decisions tomorrow, I’m just getting the ball rolling.)

I decided to write this post in an attempt to open the doors. Maybe you have some thoughts or helpful suggestions? Maybe you’ve been through a similar situation? Maybe you know the “perfect” place where I should put down roots? Maybe you have an adorable condo for sale on the beach? Maybe you have a pool house I can rent for part of the year? Maybe you have a cute cousin I should meet? Or maybe you just have a can of sun-dried tomatoes I can buy?

I realize I have a lot of work to do on my own. Ultimately this is my life, and I’m the one driving the bus. I get it. However, in this particular instance, I wouldn’t mind a few backseat drivers.

As always, thank you very much in advance. Even if you have no advice to offer, I appreciate your kind thoughts and continued support of IBC.

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links as part of the Amazon Services LLC Associate Programs and other affiliate services. This means that receives a small commission by linking to and other sites at no cost to the readers.

Posted By at 11:25 AM
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  • Frances at

    Hi Michael, I’m on my wife’s Instagram she loves your blog and I loved this entry. We have 5 kids (14,12,10,8,6,) and live on Long Island, about 40 minutes from Manhattan, you should stay with us anytime, summer may be best. Our life is chaotic and we are constantly in the middle of something. I think staying with us would be frightening, exhausting, and refreshing. Our house is big enough that you would have enough personnel space to observe and/or being part of our daily chaos. You would probably get a few good laughs, which is always a good thing, Anywho think about it, we’re pretty normal, I’m a school teacher and guidance counselor and my wife is an account and works in Manhattan. We could also checkout houses and neighborhoods together. All the best to you. Lance

  • Maria at

    Dear Michael
    I just read this blogpost today and even though I can’t help you I had to write and tell you that I think you are great, I love the way you expressed your situation and I wish you the best. Oh and reassure you that it’s going to get better. You’ll find your way to happiness.
    Love, Maria

  • Phoebe K at

    Michael, I just wanted to offer my support and understanding. My mom and I think that you are just the cutest and I’m sorry that you’ve been struggling lately. My sister is in a similar situation. She’s living in our small hometown in Ohio and feels like there’s no one there with whom she can connect. She wants to date but doesn’t know where to start. She likes to say, I don’t want to go on a first date at a tractor pull! My advice to her was to get a part time job somewhere fun. Sitting around the house will rarely result in anything happening. Just getting out and about is a good place to start.

    I am a big advocate of either making the best of it, or changing it. I think that a new residence, at least for part of the year, would be a great change for you. I spend a lot of time in the Sarasota area in Florida, and it’s great! It’s a liberal, artsy community with warm weather and lots to do. Maybe you could find somewhere to rent for a bit?

    Good luck! You have a lot of people here who truly care about you. <3

  • Nancy at

    Michael, I want to say that I love your blog for all the obvious reasons. It is always full of beautiful home decor, great affordable diy ideas, and yummy recipes, but I also love it for the personal posts you share. I have a son who happens to be gay and has lived away from home since college. He has lived in 3 different cities in the last 4 years, due to job transfers. He now lives in Bethesda, Md., working out of Gaithersburg, Md.. He spends most of his free time in D.C. He has struggled with his social life and work life and not being happy with where he has lived in the past, however, things seem to be looking up right now. I have never shared personal information like this online, I guess I feel like I can relate to your situation because of my son. I hope you find what makes you happy very soon, because you deserve it.

  • Brocanteuserose at

    Hugs. Just hugs for you. oh and hugs for the kitties. 🙂

  • Angela at

    I admire your honesty and your ability to put your real self out there. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, my friend. Here’s to new adventures!

  • Leslie at

    So many good comments and this 66-year old will add hers. My first marriage lasted 17 years, produced two children, and was filled with loneliness. After my divorce I was single 11 years before I married again — I did not date very much in those single years but I learned one valuable lesson: my Creator filled the loneliness and was/is my constant companion. I urge you to take the 31-Day challenge. Find a month with 31 days in it, and read one chapter from the book of Proverbs each day. It will fill the emptiness, draw you closer to the loving God who created you, and will give you clear direction in choosing which road to take. Jeremiah 29:11 says “I know the plans I have for you, plans for good and not for evil…to give you a future and a hope.”. Sending prayers and asking the Father to give you clarity and direction.

  • Susan at

    Michael, you were such a beautiful person. It’s funny because when I was traveling to see my daughters college I noticed a sign for St. Mary’s in Pennsylvania. I googled it and thought what a cute quaint small town . Not long thereafter I found your blog. Let me just say that you are a beautiful person with a lovely soul that comes right through my iPad. I have to say I did wonder about what kept you in such a small town. Now reading this blog entry I understand. You should do a feature on your grandparents house at some point. I assume it is also in St. Mary’s.
    Why don’t you lease a house in another area for a year and rent out your home and see how you like it. You of course will bring the cats. Honestly Michael when I first read your blog I thought you must be living in an area around New York City. Have you been to Brooklyn? It is the headquarters for Etsy. There are tons of creative single men in the area. There are hot spots like Williamsburg and Greenwood Heights. It’s right across the bridge from Manhattan but it’s a location in enough itself. It has all the shopping you would want. It is a little pricey but why not try it for one year. It certainly would feed your soul on a creative level. There’s a beautiful park called Prospect Park where my sister lives. Why not do an Airbnb there for a weekend and see what you think. Yes it is drastically different than St. Mary’s, but there are many good people there I think you would like it. Then you can just see what happens. Give yourself one year of adventure. Thank you so much for sharing. You were such a lovely and special guy

  • Melissa Leach at

    Thanks, Michael for being real. Honesty goes a long way,,,especially when you are honest with yourself. You are young, have no regrets. Move on and live!!!

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