Just shy of 10 years ago, I stood in my brother’s front yard. One block to the right was the house in which my father grew up. One block to the left was the church where I was baptized and the school I attended. The sun was just finding the horizon and the tears were streaming down my face.
I was leaving my hometown to move to a city I had never even visited. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was optimistic about the adventure and knew that whenever I came back, because the plan was always to come back, everything, even the same things, would be different.
Friday, my husband and I drove into my hometown. A drive we make often to visit my parents. But this time was not to visit my parents. It was to visit pre-schools for our boys and look at houses. It was exciting and surreal. Ten years later and even though so much is the same: my grandfather’s house and the church are still there. So much was different: the house is someone else’s and the church has grown. The title of the first white paper on which I worked after leaving kept coming to mind: The Only Constant is Change (a piece about Medicare reimbursement. A great read if you are a nerd like me. A great sleep aid, if you are not a nerd like me.) Knowing so much has changed, I try to temper my excitement about what life will look like with my family in my family’s hometown. Despite the reality of the changes, it’s hard to quell the enthusiasm of sharing this world with them and raising them in this special place.
Over the years, my hometown was not the only one changing. Plans I had fell apart. Details I never imagined materialized. And dreams came to fruition. Somewhere in between I accepted and became comfortable with who I am and found happiness. I am not sure if I could have done this in my hometown. I needed to be pushed outside of my secure surroundings. With no family or close friends around, I could only look to myself for happiness. This exercise with the objective of understanding what made me happy turned out to require painful decisions. The product of those decisions yielded the peace and joy I was seeking. That cycle has repeated itself with almost every change in my life: risk – discomfort – growth – happiness. Even with my failures, finding a lesson in them or learning from them, has enabled me to derive some sort of happiness in them.
When I started this blog, I knew we were moving. I did not know where we were moving. I knew if I did not start this before our move, it would continue to sit on my someday-I’ll-maybe-do-that list. There’s not a lot of joy on that list. It somehow produces more anxiety for me than the items on my doing it / done it list. I did not want the lessons of my last 10 years to be in vain and to forget what it took me leaving to learn: growth only happens with change and I have to keep growing.