We’re leaving this oasis of happiness? WHY?!? Why would we DO that?
Our time was near and I was FREAKING OUT. While my husband was counting down the days dreaming of returning to Boise’s dry climate and endless single-track, I was anxiously pondering if we could take this new-found happiness home with us. It’s not exactly something you can just stuff in your carry-on. I knew coming home was the right choice, but I was terrified of falling back into the same routine. Why would it be any different this time?
For a bit of context, I spent my 20’s chasing happiness. First it was Colorado, then adventures abroad, back to Washington D.C. to be closer to my family, and then to San Francisco. And for a short time after arriving to each new destination, it held true. There was always excitement in exploring new cities and meeting new friends. But before too long my inner discord always found me again. Odd how that works.
But this time I was moving away from the place I’d found happiness. And sad to say, I still hadn’t learned that happiness was an internal endeavor. Instead my anxieties had me clinging to the notion that happiness was attached to a place, a job, or some other external context.
Thankfully I had befriended two of the most worldly, genuine, and compassionate women while living in Australia. Originally from Croatia and Argentina, both women had experienced so much more in their 30+ years than I, and I was fortunately to share tea with them on a weekly basis. At what would become our last tea, they patiently listened as I gushed about returning to the same jobs, the same house, the same town, and how anxious I was that we’d fall back into the same routine. They patiently took it all in, paused and said, “STAY! We want you to stay!” And after the laughter settled, my friend looked me straight in the eye and said in her Argentinian turned Italian turned Australian accent (which, mind you, was nearly impossible to decipher), “It will be different…because YOU are different.”
As soon as she said it, I felt a release, a calm. It was true. This experience had changed me. It had changed us as a family, and just because we were returning to a familiar place, it didn’t mean we would default to our former selves.
So in a sense, we did squeeze our happiness into our carry-ons. Our happiness made the return trip and we recreate our lives in the very place we initially found ourselves discontented. The only difference being that we no longer feared changing our path and more importantly, we committed to making it happen.
PS. Eventually this will get back to my cholesterol. I promise.