You know how Facebook pops up those “memories” that you can decide to share or not share publicly every once in a while. I’m always shocked when it says, “Where were you 3 years ago, 8 years ago, 2 years ago..etc. How is it that your experience and reality can seem thousands of miles a part in how they “feel” to you??? 3 years ago today I was living in Kirkland, Washington and we were packing our bags for Austin, Texas. Today, I sit in my Boise, Idaho home and 3 years ago seems like 20 years ago to me!! Seriously, I lived a lifetime in 3 years and there are lessons I’m continuing to learn throughout this adventure we’ve been on.
I’ve had to come to grips with a very real lesson that I wished I would’ve learned so many years ago and that is, “home” is NOT a place…it’s just not! Oh we sit on our sides of the fences and stare at our neighbors with longing eyes and wishful thinking just knowing that “if we only” had that or “that place looks way better” or “if I lived in a sunnier climate, cheaper economy, lower cost of living, better school district”… blah, blah, blah!! I mean I did this and I did it again in Texas. Here’s how mine looked, tell me if you relate to this at all.
For 14 years I lived in one of the wettest, dreariest places in our country, Seattle Wa. It has the highest rate of suicide in our country and MS which they are now linking to lack of Vitamin D, they see an average of 68 days of sun a year..a YEAR y’all!!! Now listen, I have a deficiency! I was raised in southern California so my perspective to weather was jaded upon the sheer fact alone that, well, I was ALWAYS in perfect weather. I’ll never forget my first trip to Seattle from San Diego and I thought I was walking onto a movie of the “Walking Dead” (pre-series), but seriously, everyone was wearing black or grey and they all looked pale, ghostly and like death was just hanging over them. Here comes overly cheery, bouncy, slightly tanned with a chipper disposition and probably totally obnoxious to those Seattleites self and was slapped in the face with sadness. Despite seeing this and knowing this, I still made the decision to move, away from family, away from sunshine…..for a guy! Girls, take note, please don’t ever make life decisions for a guy. I love my husband and I love my family – we are committed to one another, but our lives have been hard..very hard and I think part of the reason was my initial decision to move and leave my family.
Raising 4 kids without family around on one income in a wet, dreary climate really took its toll on this bubbly girl and I very quickly started hating it…I mean debilitating depression and anger over where I lived and desperately wanting to be back near family and sunshine. I just had to get outta there and I knew if we could that life would be better, I would be happier, my marriage would be better and our quality of life would greatly improve! This mentality stayed with me all the way until the moment in our lives when we actually had the opportunity to move out-of-state back in 2013. My dream finally became my reality and though California wasn’t an option for us, I didn’t care! I had to get out of Seattle and our next best option was Austin, Texas. Finally, I thought…finally I’ll be happy, settled, content, joyful again and everything will be so much better. Oh man…even writing that sentence has me laughing to myself and I just want to go slap that girl silly!
About 3 months living in Texas, I was very quickly reminded of everything I left behind. In those 14 years living in Seattle I created a family, a community and I had my “people who knew me intimately in a way that even my blood family didn’t and it hurt…it hurt bad! Not only that but all the sudden you realize the beautiful things that you took for granted on a daily basis, mountains, seasons, lakes, beaches, variety of trees…BEAUTY!!! Seattle has been likened to a beautiful model whom is always sick and I couldn’t agree more, but my gosh when she’s not sick….when she’s not sick she’s the most majestic creation on this side of eternity and it took me moving to Texas to realize it. I mourned, cried and became depressed and discontent in Texas. Life was hard, we were starting over with everything, work, community, home, money – everything from ground up and it was very emotionally and mentally challenging. I just wanted to get back to Seattle – I mean I figured it out and I turned from my blind “grass is always greener” ways and just had to get back home to where I belonged. I’d finally be happy again if I could jut get back to Seattle, (insert eye roll).
My hubby refused to move us back to Seattle due to economic changes, traffic and of course, WEATHER, which he so kindly reminded me of on a daily basis while we were in Texas, “don’t you remember how depressed you were??, you wanted out of there so badly”! Yea, yea – that was then this was now, things have changed, I know more now – I’ve grown I see more clearly now! We compromised on Boise, Idaho, great economy, not too big of a town, 4 seasons, low-cost of living, great schools, mountains, lakes, rivers, etc. And here we are…almost a year here and life is perfect, nothing traumatic has happened, we became instant millionaires, my children have excelled in their perfect schools, we’ve settled into a rich community with at least 20 friends that are now like family and I’m finally happy and content in life! NOT……
Texas may have been hard but quickly after moving to Boise I realized how blessed we were by the community and friendship we had made in just a short 2 year period. God provided such a rich community to us that the pain of leaving those people almost felt equally as hard as the family we left in Seattle. All the sudden the realities of Texas became clear and I then mourned and continue to mourn the loss of that place and those friendships.
Starting over is NEVER easy no matter what and almost a year here and we are still struggling in all areas of life. Hubby still is trying to get business going and we’ve been financially struggling since we moved, still trying to settle into the right community and friendships for our whole family and don’t feel truly connected yet. Kids have had their struggles in school and we experienced probably the worst winter on record here in Boise, Idaho. To say that life got “better” since we moved from Texas or even originally from Seattle, would be a statement that wouldn’t work and though I can’t speak for other families that move, I do feel that I’ve learned some hard and important lessons;
1.) Moving is ALWAYS hard, no matter what, where or how. You are starting over in every area of your life and that is hard, adjusting and painful. It will take a toll on your family, marriage and finances
2.) If you are constantly looking through lenses that life will be easier, better, more enjoyable in another “place” then the problem is with you not where you live. My discontented feelings in life has been 10% due to location and 90% due to my attitude and how I looked, (look) at life. I took for granted all the beautiful things I had in my life in each of the locations I lived in, I looked back at what I had and then longed for that instead of being present in the journey and blessings that were right in front of me
3.) There is no perfect place! Oh sure you can google, “Best places to live” and there are all sorts of articles on your ideal location but in my opinion every place has it’s good and bad and you have to settle to some degree on something.
4.) People are more important than a place and I learned this one too late after leaving Texas. I really don’t like Texas and I really didn’t like the town I lived in, but I could have made it work and probably would’ve been happy and content there because of the relationships I had and the community that surrounded me. At the end of the day you can have a beautiful, fun, adventurous city/town or whatever but if you have no one to share it with and enjoy it with then what’s the point.
5.) My longing goes deeper and I will never be fully happy and content until I am finally in my eternal home with my papa! It’s hard not to accept that earth is our home and some of you may disagree with me, some of you are fighting for that perfect home here and maybe have even found something really close to it….but there is a longing in all of us, a groaning that we cannot make go away no matter how hard we try, no matter how many times I move it sits with me always. Accepting this reality has made it possible for me to finally be content in any circumstance.
Boise is ok, it has it’s faults and there’s some things that are a little shocking to me to be honest but I am choosing to stay, choosing to make this place my temporary home and look for the best in it. I’m trying really hard to not look back and miss what I left behind but strain to look forward and be hopeful for the future as I press on. I am so grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and how I’ve grown in character from my moving adventures, I’ve sure made some incredible relationships and met some amazing people and for that I am eternally grateful! Remember, it’s 10% circumstances and 90% attitude so make a decision today to be happy, grateful and live life to the fullest in this moment!