Thanksgiving/ Move-A-Versary Reflection
Wow, I haven’t written in my blog for ages. Months and months and months. I’ve had a few people ask me what happened to my soul dives. Honestly, all I can say is that the past year has been challenging in many ways and I guess I’ve been more introspective and private as I’ve navigated my way through what these past months have brought my way.
However, this week marks the one year anniversary of packing up our house in Seattle and moving east toward our next chapter, so I can’t help but mark this milestone with some reflection, and I thought this would be a good chance for a revival post, back by popular demand.
As I said, at this time last year, we had loaded the moving truck and had hit the road with dog and bird in tow, for a drive across the continent (and border) to start building a new home, back where we thought our roots were planted. But what I’ve learned most in the past year is that home is not a place that you leave behind or move to or from. Home is a feeling of comfort and safety that you have to create and work hard to bring it with you wherever you go.
The year has been full of ups and downs that have made finding that sense of “home” a challenge. We encountered a lot of bad luck as it related to our move, for example a truck not showing up, and a flooded storage unit. We bought a house that, in the beginning, was not particularly kind to us and has taken a lot more effort to settle into than we anticipated. While we love being close to our families and old friends, we have realized that having lived our entire married lives far away and relying primarily on each other, upon coming back we have had to learn to carve out time and space for ourselves. Finding the balance between considering the advice and opinions of others, but ultimately make our own decisions as a team, has been an unexpected lesson along the way. We have faced the loneliness of becoming worst-winter-ever hermits, and the disappointment of not being able to see some close by friends as much as we thought we would when we moved home. We have faced the challenges, excitement, fear and anxiety (mixed with more excitement) that comes along with being responsible for the life of another (tiny) human as we embark on starting a family of our own. We both started our own businesses, and have benefited from the flexibility of that choice but struggled with the uncertainty and ambiguity that comes as part of that entrepreneurship package.
And when faced with layer upon layer of difficulty and disappointment, it has been hard not to lose sight of all of the good. Looking back, I was so cautious about celebrating successes because I feared that each high would inevitably be followed by a low. I withdrew for fear that making myself vulnerable would lead to disappointment and hurt. But in the meantime, it’s been another year of growth and discovery, some of which has come from conscious effort and some of which has come from practicing patience and waiting it out. And I’m glad to be on the other side of this year, finally feeling like I’m starting to settle in and find my “home”.
Today is US thanksgiving, so I’m taking this opportunity to share a perspective that I’ve recently been trying to adopt with you. Recently, in a yoga class, the teacher said something to the class that really resonated with me: I don’t have to do yoga, I get to do yoga. She was totally right. As I was struggling through a pose (I’m just not as graceful with a soccer ball pushing out of my belly), I was feeling some negativity. And without judgment or minimizing my feelings, those few words reminded me that being there was my not only choice, it was my privilege. I had taken a step toward taking care of myself, to make myself feel good, and I was the only person in that room who was judging the awkwardness of my transitions and poses. So that has became a sort of mantra for me lately.
The other night when I was complaining about pregnancy back pain, Navin turned that perspective-generating mantra back on me and said (somewhat cheekily) “you don’t have to be pregnant, you get to be pregnant.” And even though he was teasing me, he is completely right. It’s sometimes hard to keep perspective about what a wonderful thing is going on inside of me through those aches and pains, but this is something I really wanted and am so lucky to get to experience, and I am thankful.
Try applying that mantra to yourself next time you’re feeling frustrated or grumpy. It probably won’t work for everything (because let’s be honest, I am not all that grateful for holiday shopping lines or traffic jams), but it just might change your perspective and help you feel some gratitude toward your circumstances too.
Happy (US) Thanksgiving, friends.