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“It is what it is.”
I’ve always hated that saying. Maybe it’s because it sounds like such a cop-out for saying what you feel. Maybe it’s because it’s an easy way of waving a white flag when you don’t have the courage or strength to try anymore. Or maybe it’s just because my mom always despised this term. Ask anyone, and they will say I am my mother’s daughter.
Regardless, this expression has come up countless times over the past few months for me.
I can’t make “Nantucket money” in the depths of March and my bills are piling up. The economy has not completely turned around and the lack of winter population is too easy to blame. There’s too many places trying to stay open year-round and not enough diners to fill the seats. It’s been a rough, windy season. It feels like a constant struggle to be so in love with this island and to try to live out here. It is what it is.
Soon you’re going to thank your lucky stars for a parking spot on Main Street. The Grand Union lot will become a black hole that you can’t understand why you even fathomed you’d get a spot there to begin with. We don’t want a parking garage though . . . There’s too much shift in the downtown. There’s too many people trying to “change” what’s not broken. The island is becoming too expensive for all us “normal” folks to make a home here. The influx of summer residents keep our pockets filled during the eight weeks of August and keep our heat on in the frigid month of February. My best island friend hates the idea of change and she can’t change that. We thought we’d loathe the winter and now we long for the quiet, calm, cold days. It is what it is.
People move off The Rock unexpectedly. Restaurants that were so admired close their doors with no forewarning. Beloved island bartenders change their gigs. New restaurants open causing a stir among the locals. And here comes the often empty promises of college kids arriving back with all the ambition to work, and you just know most of them will dive into the Nobadeer party path. But that doesn’t stop us from hiring them for the short season. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not. It is what it is.
“I hate the weather this time of year,” they exclaim constantly throughout April. That one day in the 50s is followed by four days of fog and gale-force winds. The Gray Lady is in full effect. The bluff is falling. Madaket’s eroding. The daffys are blooming too early. Spring can’t come soon enough. March is three months long. It is what it is.
I can’t seem to find (m)any normal relationships out here. They all take too much effort and I can’t put enough in. The island is too small. We’re all so interconnected. We struggle to get over our Polpis pasts to move on to our next Nantucket future. We can’t swing a Tory Burch clutch at LoLa on a Sunday without hitting an ex-boyfriend with a new fling. There’s no reason to go on a Match.com dating site when you already have gone out with most of the people in your 30-mile radius. The most important relationship to have is a good one with yourself. It’s frustrating. It hurts to see them all. It’s half of what keeps me here and the other 50 per cent thinks the idea of the Back Bay is appealing. I will not leave here. It is what it is.
I love this island. It isn’t for everyone. I love my island family. They ain’t normal. I love my island job. It ain’t easy. I love my island life. It sure ain’t cheap. But after all, all good things come with some bad, and all grand plans come with big sacrifices. Nantucket isn’t for everyone. But it is for me. Alas, It is what it is.
And I am who I am because of Nantucket.
– Holly Finigan’s “Finigan’s Findings” appears regularly in this space, and periodically in The Inquirer and Mirror