Settling In

I had an interview this week for my local CASA. It was somewhat startling, even to me, when I heard myself say that the two year commitment they request would be no problem, as I was not going anywhere. Even at my most stable time before moving to Virginia, I think that question would have caused me pause.

But now, I’m unpacked. My photos and artwork adorn the walls; knick knacks and souvenirs are scattered throughout. I have my new driver’s license and the last pieces to be completed, title and new tags, are somewhat underway.

Yet the mentality of not only my loved ones but also me, somewhat, is of wanting to grab hold of every last moment – to squeeze out every vestige of fun in the time we have together. I’ve reminded a few (and myself, if I’m honest) that I live here now. We can be in the moment, knowing well that there will be more.

Yet as I write that, I wonder. I have several friends dealing with the sudden and unexpected loss of loved ones right now and still others trying to reconcile terrible, possibly terminal, illnesses of theirs. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Not for anyone. How do we reconcile these two things in our lives? I don’t clearly know the answer but I’ll go with this for now:

Be present.
Be kind.
Never leave anything unspoken. I don’t want a single soul I love to leave this life or mine unsure of how grateful I am for them in my life, for all they do, for all the joy they have brought to me by being a part of it all.

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It’s a Whole New World

I haven’t written in a long while. Not because I didn’t have anything to say, mind you, but because what I had to say wasn’t fit for public consumption and I was annoying my own self with it all. I was in a funk. I was downtrodden. I was in a bad place, for me, both figuratively and literally.

The last two and a half years was hard. And lonely.

But it was important. I learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about how I relate to others in my life. And I learned who would be there for me, no matter what.

I learned how to put myself first. I don’t mean that in a narcissistic way, in the least, but in a way that is healthy and right. I learned that it is ok to say no, and let it simply be "no" without feeling guilty or over-explaining.

I learned that sometimes it is better to be alone than constantly on the go and exhausted. I learned that I not only need to take time to care for myself but that I deserve and need it.

I learned that sometimes what you are good at doesn’t necessarily equal what you truly should be doing or what you really want to do. And that sometimes, what you think you are supposed to do isn’t at all.

I learned that some things truly are just for a season or a reason, just like people.

I learned that change is not a bad thing but sometimes, despite every effort, things don’t work out. And that doesn’t mean you failed. It just means it wasn’t meant to be.

I had decided within a year of my move to Virginia that it simply wasn’t for me. I won’t go into the litany of reasons; I’ll simply leave it at that. I had started applying for jobs back in Pennsylvania about six months in, while halfheartedly still trying to make my experience into something different. When it became clear that change wasn’t coming, I redoubled my efforts – and efforts they were. The end result is that I found a job with a great and growing organization in my hometown and moved back at the beginning of this month.

Five years ago, I honestly would never have considered returning to my hometown. I’d left for college an hour away too many years ago and had stayed about that distance for most of my adult life. Though I stayed close with my family and many friends in the area, it was enough for me then to come visit periodically. But something shifted while I was in Virginia, and when this opportunity arose, I knew it was the exact right thing for this time in my life. It is important for me to be here. I NEED to be here.

And so I am.

I’m settling in well, both at work and in my new home. And I’ve been so lucky to have the support of so many friends and family to help me settle in and to join in my continuous celebration of my return. What’s next, you may wonder? Stay tuned!