I moved across the country this summer.
This is something that most people would likely label as uncharacteristic of me.
I was born and raised in Florida, have loved it my entire life, and most of my family still resides there today. I had a great life there — childhood friends, a strong, loving support system, a job I had grown to love, and plenty to do and see all within driving distance.
However, Jeffrey and I have discussed moving across the country for the past several years of our relationship. Something about the fascination with a place and lifestyle different than ours, a window of opportunity in which we are young and relatively carefree, and the desire to stretch ourselves and grow and collect new memories to store away for a lifetime.
I knew it would be hard. In fact, I dreaded how difficult it would be. I imagined myself ripping up my roots that had been planted and harvested and tended with great care. I imagined what it might feel like to live thousands of miles from people who are incredibly important to me. I imagined starting my career over, making new friends, finding new places to frequent on Saturday mornings. I imagined the difficulty of navigating new roads (I am a notoriously terrible navigator). I imagined putting myself out there in ways I had never done before. It was terrifying. And it still is.
The truth is that I am not an adventurous person. For a long time, I masqueraded as someone who was. I loved the idea of being a free spirit. Easy going. Laid back. And in some arenas, I might be. But not in the arena that involves letting go of everything I've ever known in life and trading it in for something completely brand new.
And that's precisely why I had to do this.
If I want to grow and challenge myself and be someone who is brave, then I must do things that terrify me. If I am to stand in front of students I love and care for and tell them to take a giant leap of faith, then I must also take leaps.
If I want to (someday) raise children who take risks and make mistakes and create their own new and unique path, then I must also be willing to do those things. I must also be willing to be bold and to do things that might be a little scary. Might be a little terrifying.
And today when I walked into a teacher orientation filled with a sea of new faces, my heart ached for the comfort of the school I left. When I went shopping and needed a second opinion, I actively missed my mom sitting in the dressing room with me. When I needed to sit with someone and say nothing (but really say everything), I longed for a coffee with my dad. And I will continue to miss these things. I will long for these things forever. And that's how it should be. When someone lives a full, happy life somewhere and decides to leave parts of that life in pursuit of something different, the components of that full, happy life will leave a big impression. I'm better for that impression. Happier for it.
That impression is the only reason I'm able to move across country. That impression is the whisper that tells me I can do this. It's the thing that keeps me moving. It's the confidence to keep going. To take that leap. To be bold and brave and courageous. To step outside my comfortable box and make a new box. To continue a story which deserves to be continued.