January of 2013, we were 2,700 miles away from here. We were cold, frustrated, and lonely, feeling like we were missing out on things and trying not to get desperate. Looking back on that time, it’s hard to believe it was only a year ago. What a difference a year makes.
In brief, back in January 0f 2013, our home had been on the market for 15 months. We were living in a tiny town outside of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in a nice neighborhood full of people who didn’t take well to outsiders. We were missing our family out here in California and looking to get back to a life where people got together, socialized and where I’d have excuses to wear my heels. It wasn’t all bad — we had a gorgeous home on acreage and we enjoyed the seasonal weather, but it had been a couple of years of six-month spans where it was too hot and muggy to do anything outside, a month break of mid-range enjoyable weather followed by another four months where it was too cold to go outside, then you’d get a month of mid-range weather before the heat kicked back in. We’d drive 45 minutes to really get anywhere and my husband was driving 75-minutes one-way to work, in the dark both directions, mostly on two-lane highways and our time together during the week was short, which didn’t change much on some weekends as there was property maintenance and errands. We had friends who treated us like family, but only a few, and when you are used to a lot of friends and social activities, you try hard not to be too dependent on the few friends. On a good note, you find yourself enjoying your own company more and taking up new hobbies to stay busy. It inspires you to learn new things and take on new challenges…like starting a blog and learning all about food, for starters. You learn about your priorities and you come together as a family, so despite the negatives, you remember those positives.
Mid-January, we finally got an offer on our home. It wasn’t a smooth process, but it never will be when a prima donna buys your home and pretends its Beverly Hills, your cable/internet goes out so you have to have a literally 1/2″ cable run from the street to your house for two+ weeks while they dig all new lines and then your sewer line takes a dive, 2′ from the city junction and costing $700 for something that should have never been that way in the first place, the kind of thing where you say “couldn’t you have just waited a month??” All while you’re packing and driving around at 53′ trailer in your driveway that is being packed in preparation for a hauler to come get it. On a pre-paid, appointed day while your buyers’ lender and everyone else tries to throw a wrench into things and you want to pull your hair out but you have to settle for more wine. And cupcakes. Baking is a stress reliever.
But we prevailed. We made it out here, and while I won’t go into those details all over again — my heart can’t take it and I have to be drinking wine to get through another telling of that saga — it wasn’t like we’d planned. While all plans can go awry, our trip and return to California gives that word a new meaning. I’m shuddering now thinking of it, so I’m going to skip ahead. (Look back in the archives to March-May of last year..if you dare.) It took a while to get settled but let’s re-assess.
A year later:
I have a new job that I enjoy. I work-from-home and I’m in a field that’s only going to continue to grow.
My husband has a new job that he enjoys. He’s only driving 10-15 minutes one way, in the dark only one way and he’s surrounded by thriving businesses and restaurants.
We have a new house. It’s big, it’s in a good neighborhood with friendly, fun people who watch out for each other, and I have an office. With a door. And a balcony. Ideal. Little dude can ride/bike/walk to school quickly and we are exactly where we wanted to live, within minutes of all-things-fun-and-shoppable.
I am six pounds heavier. And flabbier. But I’m going to blame all our fun social gatherings and family dinners, so it’s worth it. (And I am back in the groove this month, so it’s just a matter of time before it’s gone and I’m semi-comfortable flashing my belly ring again. Or at least knowing I could if I ever wanted to.) It was some good food and I’m not sorry.
I have a growing business. Every day, it brings something new and I love to open my email. So much possibility!
The kids are settled in: school, job, friends. They’re both where they need to be for prospective future careers.
We get to spend nights, weekends, whenever, with the family and friends that are dearest to us. (Minus one, but that’s just temporary.)
Our priorities are solid — and we know what they are. I really think everyone needs to shake things up at least once in their life to have that opportunity to re-assess. It makes you appreciate things more and you have a new tolerance for what you still have a hard time with but can’t avoid. (Taxes. School issues. Taxes. 80 degree weather in January. Taxes.)
I have a mountain view again. And someday, the snow will return.
That’s a lot of change in a year. We definitely are still in a rebuilding process, but on the upward swing. It wasn’t easy, but we aren’t known to take the easy way to do things. To quote a favorite movie of mine, “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” (Ten points to whoever can guess what movie that’s from and share it in the comments!) Everyone can do this though, that’s the thing. Shake things up. Try new things. Not happy where you are? Move. Don’t just complain about your horrible weather on Facebook, but move away from it if you hate it and it makes you hurt. Don’t like your job? Look around. (But don’t quit until you have a new one. Jobs aren’t as easy to find as some think.) Very few things can’t be changed, and if you can’t make a massive change, make a small one. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Then you can look back a year ago and be surprised with how far you’ve come just like me. It’s sort of mind-blowing. We “only” wanted to move back to California, but it’s been an EVENT. It morphed from a location change “back to where we were” to a whole new lifestyle..one I’m kind of digging. Take that, all you horrible things that happened on the way out here. We’re BACK.
And things are looking up!