Words written after our first venture back to California after the return to our home state; written September 2017:
Was it all just another flashback? The vivid ones I get when I shut my eyes and suddenly no time has passed and we're right back in our Golden State, in the places where we grew, where we changed, where we explored our potential—past what we were and more who we could be?
Those of you who coached me through the first months of our move know I didn't like it very much in California. It was too far from our loved ones, everything was less convenient, and the culture? What on earth was this new culture? I had been nicely settled into a world where we had everything planned and all was familiar and that was the way I liked it. And then we moved.
I cried. And cried. Fought depression. Found every reason in the world to dislike our new state. Battled through the weeks just so we could escape on the weekends. But there was a little voice in my heart saying, "Wait... just wait." It was seven months before I listened.
And then, ever so slowly, some of our [new] adventure's golden light began to seep through the cracks in my heart that had been created by our distance from home. And suddenly, I fell captive to the enchantment of living—truly living—in California. But even more, living in a new place. Suddenly, it made sense. It had to be this far from our roots or else we would've given up and gone back. We had to test ourselves far away from the personas created by falling in love in high school, to learn how to keep our relationship and ourselves growing. I had to learn who I was away from the weight of expectations produced by never leaving where I had been raised. For the first time, I could be the person I aspired to be, and I realized she had always BEEN me.
And now, we've been back, following previously-forged paths through our Californian stomping grounds, where we broadened perspectives and learned so much and felt more emotions than I thought capable of a human soul. We saw and connected with those who've filled our hearts with their timeless friendships. How suitable that we spent this past week, our first full week living in California exactly two years ago, there once again with the people and places we love. And with such a different lens (gladly so, on my part)!
This is my story and my perspective. By no means do I intend to make my life's circumstances a generality for everyone else's; we are all different with our own stories and that is a wonderful thing. But if you get a chance to expand your world, take it! And when it's hard and you regret your choice, push on. There is an indescribable beauty that comes with living in a place with familiarity and the comforts of home. But there's also a certain beauty that arises from pushing yourself to allow "home" to become a fluid concept. One made of new places and people, and more than anything, a feeling of accomplishment and curiosity in your heart that enables never-ending growth. Take the opportunity to better a new place with what makes your soul unique. And conversely, better your soul with the uniqueness of a new place. What an amazing ripple effect this could create.
I am thankful we're returning to Michigan, and family and friends and puppies and places we know, but I'm leaving a part of my heart there. And that's just fine with me, because it means I'll go back to find it again. ❤️