I’m trying to get a feel for writing in my new office. The window is different, the air is different. If I look closely I will notice that I am surrounded by some of the same things, but nothing really feels quite normal. It’s not bad, really. It’s just different, and I have never really been one for change.
Yesterday afternoon we were running errands in town and suddenly I was struck by the familiar sense of having driven down that exact road a few thousand times before. It was familiar. Familiar is typically good for people like me, us change-haters. Considering I lived back in Idaho for the past 6 years though, the familiar felt foreign. And yet, yet somehow it didn’t. The familiar almost belonged to me and suddenly, as I reflected on those six Northwestern years they seemed like a microscopic blip. It were as if the reality of being back here, in this Midwest Mitten state, hit me square in the head. It was hard to believe that six Christmases passed outside of here; hard to believe that birthdays and summers had as well…
And yet, it kind of wasn’t too.
Those six years were six hard years. HARD. We struggled more financially in those six years than before. I struggled more personally. I learned a lot of things in the Idaho chapter of my journey. Lessons in truth like:
– you really, truly can’t ever go “back”.
– your kids are worth whatever it takes to reach them. You will never regret a second of it.
– if living near family was painfully hard the first time around, going back won’t be any different. No matter how many promises are made, or how much you might romanticize the absence of it- if it sucked once, it WILL suck again.
– When you least expect it, you just might rekindle old friendships that you absolutely didn’t expect to. They will be there, beside you, through some amazing legs of your journey and you will be there through the most amazing one of their’s, and because of it your life will always be better.
– Jobs that sound more “peaceful” because they do not require travel, have the potential to actually be the exact opposite. As a result, your quality of life could dwindle. Significantly.
– You’ll lose friends you’ve had forever. I guess it’s inevitable, but still sad and sometimes very ugly to go through. You’ll also make new friends in equally unexpected ways. Some will be friendships for now, others will be friendships that you know in your core will last a lifetime.
– At least in my case I know that, though I’m better for the six years there, I am worse off too. Less patient, less kind. More tired, more cynical. Less healthy, much less happy, beyond far from the person I want to be- and let’s be honest- the person I maybe was those years ago.
So I’m here, in the last place I ever thought I’d be again, and I’m not sad.
I’m pretty glad. I’m pretty relieved.
But I have to remember I can’t go back. This is as much a fresh start as anything else.
I am different now.
Time to step out and start living, work on friendships, make new, heal…