Thursday, September 10, 2015

Adventure in the Great Wide Somewhere

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently had a two part revelation. I shared the first part here. The second part of the revelation brings a new chapter in my life. For the past several months, I have struggled with wanting to stay in Kirksville. I wanted to take a step outside of my comfort zone and move forward with my life, but I kept finding reasons that made staying easier. I have a good job, I have a good living arrangement where I get along with my roommate, and I have some of the strongest friendships I’ve ever had in my life. My life looked complete. I didn’t feel that way though. Don’t misunderstand; those things are all good, but I knew that my life was meant to be more than just a good job and a house that I liked. That is when I started to reassess what I wanted out of life and what my reasons were for staying in Kirksville.

Aside from being the place where I grew up, Kirksville has given me three things that make it hard to leave:     
1. A safe place to come back to when needed
2. Solid job experience
3. Long-lasting relationships

My job, while fast-paced and one that keeps me on my toes, has been a blessing. Starting part-time and moving around the building until landing on Assistant to the CEO in less than three years was not something I could have achieved on my own. I have learned a lot by working in the different areas of the building: how a business works, the different aspects of patient care, administrative duties, and that I have the perseverance and ability to accomplish what is set before me. Also, in the words of The Wonder Pets, “What’s gonna work? TEAMWORK!” (I love that show.) I am part of a team. A team that celebrates with you, holds you up when you are barely getting by, and one who supports you. I knew that even if I made one of the hardest decisions to move on somewhere else, I would feel the support and love from my work family. Over half of the long-lasting relationships I mentioned are in that building.

That left number one and number three on my list. Three years ago, which actually feels like another lifetime, I came back broken and drained from California. Kirksville was my safe haven to rebuild the relationship that had been bruised and strained between my family and me, as well as the place that I would recoup emotionally, mentally, and spiritually before moving to the next place. I had no idea where I wanted to go, but I did not plan to stay in Kirksville forever. What I didn’t realize then nor did I later want to accept is that in order to move forward, I had to sort through some things in my heart and mind, revisiting memories that I did not want to remember. Instead, I shut out 16 years of my life, so to speak, and sealed off that part of me. In doing that, I wasn’t free of the brokenness I felt, the pain, the frustration and hurt. That only led to the fear that I would fail again, which is how I saw California. A big fat failure. I was afraid to try something new in case it didn’t work out the way I wanted.

It wasn’t until earlier this year that I saw the truth. I did not fail in California. No, my time there did not end the way I would have liked or chosen for myself. That didn't mean I failed though. In reality, I grew up- a lot- and I became my own person for the first time in my life. I thought for myself. I made a decision that was best for me. We aren’t perfect. I know that I’m not. I accept that. I accept that I make mistakes, but leaving California was not one of them. Moving there was not a mistake either. I needed to go there, for a reason that I don’t quite always understand, except that my relationship with my family depended on it. Since coming back to Kirksville, my family and I are closer than ever before. My sister and brother are my best friends. My niece and soon-to-be born niece are my heart. Most importantly, I understand my parents and what they’ve been through in life and have greater respect for them than I did 9 years ago. I was no longer afraid to move because of my fear of failure.

Next came my friendships. I started mentioning that I was thinking about moving, and my friends were sad. I was too. I had worked so hard to cultivate my relationships, and I couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing them on a regular basis. I need my friends, and I like to think they need me too. For some reason, the thought of leaving my friends was the worst part. It kept me in Kirksville much longer than I wanted to be in Kirksville. I kept telling myself that I had to stay because my friendships alone were enough. Don’t get me wrong. I have pretty spectacular friends, and even when I make new friends in the future, they won’t replace what I already have. The problem was that I was using my friendships in Kirksville as another excuse not to leave because making new friends can be hard. I wanted to keep the same friends, and I wanted Kirksville to work out, but I was feeling miserable.

One day, a friend of mine gave me some news about her life, and I had my second revelation. All of my friends’ lives were moving forward. They were sincerely happy with their lives, and I was not happy with mine. My life was not moving in the direction I wanted it to go, and as long as I stayed in Kirksville, it would continue to stay put. I saw my friends paddling by me in the river called life, and I was sitting alone in a canoe, going in circles. I had to make another tough decision. What was best for me? Where am I supposed to be? As much as I wanted to stay with my friends, things were changing. I couldn’t put my life on hold any longer.

Of course, leave it to my favorite Disney movie to inspire me. I’ve said it before, but Belle understands my heart when she sings,

“I want much more than this provincial life
music builds
I want adventure in the great wide somewhere
I want it more than I can tell”

I’m ready for my next adventure. As I write this, I am driving to Fort Worth, Texas, where my new adventure awaits. While this trip is just to visit, the next time I make the drive, it will be to start fresh and see what happens. I don’t have all of my ducks in a row, but for the first time that doesn’t matter. I’m excited about life again and the possibilities waiting for me.