I’m sure that many of you have seen the whirlwind of my life over the last 6 months. We sold our house and moved into a crappy apartment with a mind full of dreams. Dreams of beaches, donating all of our jackets and hats, and a new zip code. A zip code that represented so much more than just where our bills would show up. It would represent a fresh start, a new plan, a girl who really did something special with her life.
So with that dream fueling our actions – we said goodbye to our house, put half of our world into a garage, and waited for Spring. Spring was our time – I would be an official RN and we would be free to open up the country, the world even, to whatever my heart desired.
I’m sure you noticed the words my and I quite a bit already. The funny thing about marriage is that there’s two people involved, but there’s always one person who wins, right? Does any marriage really have a 50/50 compromise schedule? Does any wife utter the words “Well, I won last time, so now it’s your turn”? If so, if you’re that couple, that wife.. kudos to you. I don’t live in that world, and I’ll be the first to admit it. My husband is the best man I know. He accepts me for who I am, with all of my demands, my flaws, the emotional roller coaster that is my life. So when I decided we were moving, he was along for the ride – roller coasters are scary, but also fun, right?
So while we waited for the ice to melt and the birds to come back, a few other things were decided – I didn’t want to be a nurse, not in any way, shape or form. I wanted to follow more of my dreams and work from home as a health and fitness coach, which, by the way, has turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and quite honestly, is the reason I’m typing this and you’re reading this (a year ago, I would have already been sitting beachside, still unhappy, and just realizing it). So I quit school, quit my job, and followed this passion, again with my hubby’s blessing. But now Spring didn’t matter – anytime was a good time to move away. I did what I always do – kicked, screamed, complained, cried, and then planned. The problem with being an adult who acts like a child is that once they realize they have the resources to do what they want, the crying stops and the wish list becomes a to do list. I planned a lonely getaway to the Sunshine State. If he had to stay home to work, I was going to spend my time in the sun and push us one step closer to reaching those dreams. So I packed up my bags, and I went. The beaches were exactly what I wanted, the sun was shining every day… and I was still me. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was always going to be me. In sunshine or in rain, in Uggs or in sandals, feet in the sand or in the snow – I was taking me along. I wasn’t any happier being on the beach than I was being in the snow. Sure, every time the -8 degree weather hits me in the face, I’ll cringe and think to myself “there are people who are laying out right now!” – but I mean really, to the core, happy. I know a fleeting kind of happy all to well, that’s not what I was looking for anymore.
So what was I doing this for? What started this “dream” and why was I holding on to it, when deep down, I guess I never really wanted it at all? And then BAM – another ton of bricks. Was I really willing to move my family across the country, to ask my husband to quit a job he loves, to put our financial freedom in danger, to put off starting our family – all in hopes of being validated by what other people think? Was sharing a story that read “Ohio couple fights for their dreams by moving to the ocean” going to make people like me more, or think of me as someone who REALLY did something with her life? Was that story going to make me like me more? Did that up my credentials as a person?
And after spending hours upon hours of praying, crying, praying more, reading personal development, fighting and making up with my husband, and probably more fighting, I said what I think I had been feeling all along –
“I want to find happiness and validation in myself – I don’t want to run from the girl who doesn’t think she’s enough anymore.”
I don’t think it came out quite like that – it was probably paired with Chanel mascara running down my cheeks, and muffled into my husband’s chest, as he was there to catch me from my fall, like always.
So that was it. There was no turning back from that statement. That’s not something that I could admit and then take back or pretend it didn’t happen. It’s something that I need to work on, every day, probably for a long time. There are moments of every single day that I want to pretend I never said it, and sometimes I wish I never felt it. I wish I could go back to the place where I had myself convinced that a new location was “the only thing I’m missing”, because believing that is SO much easier than the commitment to improve my view of me. My mind gets the best of me and wanders to a place that I get to rewrite my story. But I look around – and I have to keep asking myself the same question – Why would I want to? I have a good life, a GREAT life, a husband who loves me, a family who supports me, a job I adore and that I’m good at, co-workers who have become my best friends, and challengers who value my support and knowledge.
So, I’m working on it. I’m working on loving myself, on not being so hard on myself, on not trying to fill voids with fleeting excitement or material objects, on not being consumed by anxiety, on simply just being. Each day is a new day and a fresh start for me. And why would you rewrite a story that isn’t even finished yet, anyway? It’s a long book, and so many of the pages still need to be filled.
So there you have it – the very long, unfiltered, completely transparent reason that The Grist Family is staying right where we are.