Hello, my name is Ashley and I've had this dream since childhood of running away to Florida. I think a lot of people share that same dream, the difference? In 2017, I finally did it.
It wasn't as simple as it sounds. As we become adults we gain a lot - wisdom, responsibilities, jobs, fears... somewhere in the mix of things we become comfortable with our long working hours and mediocre salaries because, well, it works. The bills get paid, and we're too busy working to even know how busy we are working. We blink and three years have gone by and we're still doing the same things we were doing three years ago. That was me, working too many hours but too comfortable to do anything about it, because it was a steady paycheck that paid the bills (and my shopping habits!). Besides, I was doing meaningful work and I had a wonderful boss and amazing coworkers, wouldn't it be foolish to leave that to chase down a silly dream? The adult in me was saying yes.
2016 was a big year for me, I was marrying my best friend and soulmate, Tim. We had the most magical wedding at our Alma mater where we met, James Madison University. Would you like to guess what the theme was? Nautical, of course! June 25th, 2016 was the best day of my life! And as fate would have it, just two months and a few days later would prove to be one of the more difficult ones. Remember that job I mentioned? The one that had made me too comfortable to chase down my dreams? Well, the company dissolved my role and I was laid off.
Tim and I had talked about looking for jobs in Florida after the wedding and chasing down that beach dream. But, like the hundreds of times before, it had only been just that - talk. I was afraid of giving up a job that made me feel meaningful, with people who I cared so much about. How often does someone have that? But now, I had nothing to lose. Instead of letting fear and negativity take over, we mustered up all the faith we had and decided to make this set-back a set-up! I started packing all our non-essential household items while my husband made it his personal mission to make my biggest dream come true - and within only 6 months of being married, he did it. My sweet husband landed a new job with a great company in Florida! But, not just anywhere in Florida, it turned out to be the city with the #1 beach in America! Let me tell you, when you pray and hand over your dreams for God to handle, and fall completely on faith, he DELIVERS!
We packed up a moving truck and our two cats, Mallow and Snickers (@MallowTheCat on Instagram), and we headed south! It was the longest 14.5 hours of my life, but it was well worth it. When I first stepped out on the white sand and looked out over that clear turquoise water, I cried. OK, I still cry - it's just so unbelievable. I didn't even know I could be this happy. I didn't even know how it felt to truly LIVE! Not to merely exist, not to just be comfortable, not to constantly be looking toward the future - the right here right now in this very moment kind of living! Sheer unfathomable joy.
And this is why I wanted to create Living Life In The Sun. Living Life In The Sun isn't just the name of my company, it's what I feel like I'm doing now - I am living the life I was created to live. I believe that everyone is born with passions and dreams for a reason and it is our duty to chase down those passions and dreams, boldly and fearlessly! I want everyone to feel the kind of happiness that I now wake up to every single morning. Had I known how this would feel, I would have never become so comfortable to have let anything slow me down! Fear can't exist in the presence of so much joy. It's warm, peaceful, and happy here "in the sun" and I'd like to invite you to join me.
I want to see how you are chasing down your dreams and making the most out of life! Post a picture on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and #LivingLifeInTheSun!