The only constant in life is change.
I’m still not entirely sure what “settling down” feels like. I was shuffled around from place to place as a child and as an adult, the longest I ever lived in one place was 6 years. I almost beat that record while living in South Florida. That sense of heritage, familial ties and putting down roots that most people seem to have, quite simply, doesn’t exist for me.
That isn’t said to induce a flurry of, “Oh you poor thing, you heathen child.” That lack of knowing what it feels like, means that things like traveling to Hong Kong on my own, on a whim, wasn’t that big of a deal for me. Even if I was pooping my pretty pants beforehand.
Perhaps that’s why this latest life change happened swiftly and without blinking an eye, but has come with it’s own battery of bittersweetness.
Bring on (more) Change
Cross out that phrase “Long Distance” in front our marriage and get those boxes packed–I’m moving (back) to Michigan. Put a fork in it, South Florida.
After I resigned from my job as Senior Copywriter and started my own business, we had plenty of exciting things lined up: 2 weeks in Southeast Asia, setting up my new work schedule wheeling and dealing, 2 weeks in Vegas visiting family, a quick trip to Detroit, the hubster’s quick trip to South Florida and then nothing.
I finally had a break in the schedule, one that reminded me how lonely it was without the distractions of an office job filled with co-workers. I dove into my work and more volunteer groups and still, it was weird coming back to an empty condo. Even though we had been doing this for 2 years!
I don’t know how to describe it other than, we had hit our peak with this long distance marriage thing. Things couldn’t get better than they were. Which is cool, right? But they weren’t that awesome because, hey, we were still 1400 miles apart. With an ER doc hubster working long hours. With a stressed out copywriter trying to make things work in her new business. It was still tough. Tougher 1400 miles apart.
It just felt right. I knew it was time. I didn’t have a job I was tied to here anymore and as dreadfully sad as I am about leaving this place that I have created as my home, it’s time to be back with the hubster. I’m lucky I have the ability to do that with this new freelance writing gig.
How to Welcome Change (Again)
Another 1400 mile move. Another batch of tearful goodbyes. And guess what? We’ll be doing it all over again in 2 years when the hubster finishes his ER residency. (More on that later.)
So how do you welcome this change? How do you think, “Oh cool, more curveballs.” Over the years, I’ve learned to just trust myself. Just know and trust it’s another adventure that you’re fully capable of handling. Really, truly. I’m going on another adventure. Bring it!
I mean, I’m currently packing our entire condo, on my own, with 1.5 hands! Adventure-time!
Oh I didn’t mention that change/curveball/wrecking ball, really? I tripped, fell and fractured two fingers, requiring surgery and months of rehabilitations-currently on week 6! I can’t make a fist, write my name without putting my wonky pinky back in line (KNOW YOUR PLACE, PINKY!) and for the first month, I couldn’t work out at all. I finally got cleared to lift weights again. Boo-yah. That would also explain why things have been quieter around here–I literally couldn’t type!
How to Embrace the Inevitable Downsides
I’ve found that people who tell me Michigan winters aren’t so bad, haven’t actually ever lived, for an extended period of time, outside of Michigan. I say that with complete sincerity, too. They don’t know the gloriousness of year-round sunshine. I get 300+ days of sunshine that I never knew I needed. Most important, I’ve found, is that I can be outside. It doesn’t necessarily have to be sunny, as long as I can get out, I’m golden.
I’m leaving it for the Arctic Tundra of the north soon and it’s grey skies loom deeply in the back of my mind. <cue Winter is Coming> It really, truly is just about the weather. If I could transplant loved ones, friends, the work ethic and Midwestern friendliness to warmer pastures, I would.
So, I’m embracing that the winter will just be bad and I can get through it. It won’t be my favorite time of year. A plus? I can legitimately wear fall boots now! I plan to stay outside going for walks, sitting in a park writing and walking or biking to coffee places for as long as the weather permits. I know myself and I know I will need to force myself out when temps hit below 50, but I will do it for as long as I can…and then bundle up hibernating when the snow and ice hit. And sleet. And black ice. And brown slush. And frozen doors. And numb fingers. And frozen nostril hairs.
Yes, I’ve tried winter sports. I’ve given them a good shot too! Outside of a quick vacation skiing, it’s just not my jam. And hey, Michganders, that’s okay!
We don’t plan on being in Michigan forever. With age, I’ve learned to never say never, but we’ve discussed, at length, where we want to “settle down” (Oh God, is that possible?!) and it isn’t in the Midwest. Consider it the 20+ years for me and 30+ years for the hubster of Michigan winters. It ruined us. We out.
Focusing on Gratitude
Sounds woo-woo, doesn’t it? I’m not one for sitting down and focusing on what I’m grateful for when times are tough. But, as my sunrises at the beach come to a sad end, I feel in my bones this move won’t be awful.
When we moved down to Florida six years ago, I knew no one. I had little help as the hubster trudged off to med school and I was left fending for myself on scary freeways. Seriously, you don’t know real fear until you’re stuck behind a Lincoln Continental going 30 MPH on the freeway, with people zooming past you, annoyed, texting, eating and somehow doing the Marcarena. It took me a solid year and a half to adjust to this new state.
I’m going back to the familiar. I’m going back to a support system full of friendly faces and wonderful friends. I’m finally able to live with the hubster, make dinner together, laugh at our senior kitty’s antics and even pee with the door open! This move will be easy-peasy in comparison.
And that’s what I’ll choose to focus on. What I’m grateful for.
So, wish me luck on this new adventure. There are sure to be many more in the years to come! Thanks for your support through the inevitable chaos of new transitions.
How do you deal with massive changes?