making things happen
You’re probably thinking “Elana, you’ve been going through this big life change and you’ve been off on a big adventure and we’ve hardly heard anything about it!” At least that’s what I assume you’re thinking…
The truth is it’s all been very overwhelming. Even though writing often helps me understand my feelings, in this case I didn’t even know where to start. Feel free to message me and say “Elana, tell us about X” or “what happened when Y” and I’ll happily write about those specific things, tell you those stories or share my experiences. For now, it’s all just a big, messy, confusing mish-mash in my head and so I’m just gonna start somewhere…anywhere…
It’s already been more than two weeks since we left Seattle. Three, four, and five weeks ago was just a whole lot of sad, and stress, and sad again. I was leaving behind this amazing (not to mention familiar) life, beautiful place, loving friends, and heading into an unknown future where the only knowns were that I would be back with my family, living in snowy cold weather, and have access to all the Coffee Crisps that any Canadian can get their hands on. I was worried I wouldn’t get everything done that I wanted to get done, see everyone that I wanted to see, and pack up everything that needed to be packed before we left. I was tying up loose ends and grieving the end of a chapter that I will forever look back at with a smile. I couldn’t even look forward to what lay ahead of us because I was too completely absorbed by the sadness of saying goodbye, and the stress of what needed to get done.
Packing sucked. I was incredibly lucky to have the support of my family to get our lives into those boxes, but packing really sucks. The broken nails, the cardboard cut hands, the feeling that as you empty out drawer after drawer, cupboard after cupboard, and fill box after box, that your house doesn’t look any emptier than it did when you started. Moving day was stressful when our truck was so late that our movers came and went with nothing to load our belongings into, and I honestly didn’t think we were going to pull it off. But it became one of those days where you roll up your sleeves and get it done, rely on the kindness of others and demonstrate the importance of just asking to speak to a supervisor, for goodness sake! Without going into any more details of the nightmare that was our moving day, we successfully packed our truck and sent it on its way. We said our goodbyes to Seattle the next day and hit the road on our cross-country journey.
Almost four years ago, we had corporate relocators handle our move from Toronto to Seattle. That was so lovely… having someone else do the packing, loading, coordinating. It was still a lot of work for us, but not even a fraction of the amount of work and problem-solving it took to do it ourselves on the way back. However, we had decided it was time to move home and embark on the next chapter, and we didn’t want to keep waiting around hoping everything would just fall into place. So we took control. We did it ourselves. And it felt incredibly empowering. Not only did we pack up our own house and load our own truck, but we packed up our pets, got in our car and drove ourselves across the country. What an amazing experience to have in my back pocket if I’m ever feeling stuck or waiting in limbo: I don’t need to wait for the “right” time or “right” situation… I don’t need to wait for anyone’s permission… I don’t need a lot of money… I can just do what I need to do and go where I need to go to make it happen.
I think that I’ll have to do some separate posts on our road trip experiences: maybe on the importance of flexible planning, or how to survive in a car with your husband, dog and bird for 8 days (and still love each other). I could tell you all about the cultural differences we experienced across America, and about just how exciting (and just how boring) an adventure can really be.
For now, I’ll leave you with the thought that taking control and making a goal into a reality feels pretty amazing. It was a lot of work, but it’s something that I can feel proud of. And it’s a skill that I’m going to be relying on a lot as we take steps to re-settle into our new (old) home. In the past week since we’ve been here, we’ve had such heart-felt reunions and warm welcomes. It was important to be able to say goodbye and it was okay to feel sad about leaving, but it’s nice to finally be able to take my eyes off of the rear view mirror and look ahead at the road of what’s to come.