We all seem to have that one place away from home that makes us feel happy. My sister’s is Cape Cod (particularly the beach), I have friends who love LBI, Disney, but for me it’s been Stowe, VT. This summer is my 10th visit to Stowe and in my usual fashion, I’ve been counting the days until it was time to come up.

If anyone ever asks I will always say that Stowe is my Happy Place. I love the mountains, the fresh air, the cooler weather, the friendly people and just the overall ambiance that I get from being in Stowe. My first trip here back in July of 2014 I was taken aback by how amazing it is up here. It was the first time I ever hiked up a mountain and it was breathtaking, not to mention a huge feat for someone who had never had the ability to hike a mountain before.

Our trips here are family oriented as we come to spend time with my inlaws. They have a home here and it’s always great getting to see them and spend time with them. On top of that, our trips here are always very, very, VERY active. We’ve hiked, kayaked, rode bikes, walked and ran over the years and it was always so much fun (and sometimes a little scary for this girl who was usually out of her comfort zone).

These last few years here have been a lot more challenging for me personally and I’ve noticed that while I do still love Stowe, I’m not as happy as I used to be. In 2019 I was still recovering from my total abdominal hysterectomy and was only allowed to do light walking. It was a little frustrating, but I figured by the following year it would be all fine. Summer of 2020, I was significantly heavier and started really struggling to do certain things. We still did kayak and hike, but no mountains or bikes. Summer of 2021 was even harder and I had quite a few break downs with all of the foot pain I was experiencing. I had to abort a couple of hikes and it was very upsetting.

This past year I have learned a lot about my body, including finally being diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I will sometimes deal with exercise intolerance and I have had to listen very closely to when my body is okay with movement and when I need to rest. As I sit here outside on the deck in Stowe, I can admit that this year has for sure been the hardest. I am the heaviest I’ve been in 11 years and it has been very hard to watch my husband go out on adventures without me. Even my 9 year old niece asked me why I didn’t go with them (insert crying emoji). Right now they are all hiking up to lunch while I have to drive because I know that if I even tried to go, I’d not only go incredibly slowly, but be in excruciating pain while doing it and especially afterwards. I’d be unable to do much of anything for a day or two after as well. 

It’s a hard place to be in when you know you need to listen to your body, but listening to your body stops you from doing things you really want to do. I 100% took my able body for granted while I had it. I honestly don’t even know how much of a difference it would make if I was in a smaller body. My fibromyalgia and chronic foot pain aren’t going to magically disappear, but things would likely improve and be easier overall. Oh how I wish I could just snap my fingers and be that person right now.

It is a surreal feeling to be in a place that I associate with so many amazing memories (particularly our wedding), that I’ve called my Happy Place for 9 years and feel…well…not happy. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with family and my surroundings here could not be beat, but it’s hard to feel truly happy when you can’t fully enjoy what’s in front of and around you.

My hope is that in the coming years that I am able to come back to a place of happiness here in Stowe. Regardless of how my body changes in the future, I need to learn how and where to find that happiness that I lost and go on new adventures.

For now…Stowe is still my “Happy Place”. I’ll never not love the mountains, the fresh air, the cooler weather or spending time with family. It’s time to take a beat, take a breath and make some new memories!

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