Tag Archives: Choices

'On The Move

On The Move

I missed New Jersey before I even left it. Like a breakup that you see coming and though you know it’s for the best you start to miss what you love before the moment it’s officially gone. I wasn’t breaking up with New Jersey per se, I was moving forward, opening a new chapter, stepping into the vast unknown. Okay, so it sounds like a break up, but truly Jersey, no hard feelings. You will always be my first love and a huge part of who I’ve come to be.

I traveled across the country for more than two months to get to my new city. And, as breakups tend to go, once I was in this new place, I missed the familiar.

A great friend told me, right before I left, the best advice she received in her cross-country move was in times of transition it is okay to grieve. Let yourself grieve. Man is that a liberating piece of advice.

I tell you now, I cried. I cried a lot. I allowed myself to feel – even when I would have rather shut my feelings off. I cried out of fear. I cried out of insecurity. I cried out of vulnerability. I cried out of nervousness. I grieved the life I left behind until I was all cried out.

Life starts when you allow it to.

Once this city became my new reality, I was fearful of what it would actually look like to create a life here. I questioned decisions made leading up to this point that I had felt so sure about before. Was I out of my mind? What made me fall for this place? Why did I pick up and move away from nearly everyone I love?

Fear is a powerful devil.
The truth is, those questions end up being the best reminders of why I embarked upon this journey to begin with. I was ready.

Moving is enlightening. It presents us with an opportunity to sift through things, figuratively and literally. We physically and internally sort through “stuff” to best help us move in a forward direction. It’s a chance to open boxes and take a careful assessment of memories to decide which ones to keep and which ones need a said goodbye. We make our lives lighter, in healthy ways — recognizing what we truly need and what we may have been unknowingly holding onto.


It’s quite a process. When I started preparing for my move cross-country, I found myself sorting through a great deal. The move surfaced everything from old photos and keepsakes to retired relationships and personal weaknesses that tested my character. Moving can do that; it shakes things up. I started to discover some things had remained in my life that I wasn’t aware were still there.

It’s funny; when we say a word a million times it tends to lose its individual value. “I’m moving” just sounds to me like a common phrase for an action I decided to take and I pay little mind to the root of the word, “move.”  It’s called moving because we are physically transferring ourselves from one place to another, but think about that; to move is to take action, to start doing something, to make progression, to change, to improve, to open our view.

Moving, in its inherent definition, is meant to shake things up for us, and in us, to help us forward.

In the last month before my big move out west, the realness of it all slowly set in more with each day. It was a gradual roll over the past year, but that concluding month was my final dose of reality. I had been working through things in my life, many times with blurred, puffed eyes and a sore, but healing heart. I felt as though I was participating in a final exam of sorts for that season in my life. No grade would be given for its completion; just amplified gratitude and strengthened endurance if I made it through.

It’s not easy relearning lessons that you hoped you’d only have to absorb once or ones you thought you had skated by in the past. Maybe that’s the point though. Maybe it’s not about “getting by” or “pushing through.” Maybe it’s all about enduring until it no longer becomes a lesson for you, but rather an experience to be shared and, perhaps, a possible lesson to help someone else later in life.

Moving, if you allow it, lets you see your life, yourself, at bare bones. No ego. No shame. No guilt. No regret. At bare bones, you are what you are. If you can look at yourself and your life that way, no-frills, then you can begin to build upon it as a base to create and allow for the life that was meant for you.

“You’re building a foundation,” she said to me. “Ever notice how quickly a building goes up after years of witnessing construction that looked like it had little to show for it?”

I nodded my head visualizing her analogy.

“They spend years working on buildings. All you see, for the bulk of those years, are orange cones everywhere and all you hear are loud drilling and bulldozing noises. Then one day, seemingly all of a sudden, the building is up and it’s beautiful and sturdy and stunning. You see, what takes the most time is in building and securing the foundation.

I continued to nod, in awe of this incredible compare-and-contrast example she was playing out in front of me. It was spot on.

“This is where you’re at,” she continued. “There’s some digging that needs to be done. This is what God is doing in your life – digging, steadying and working hard on your foundation to eventually build you up – sturdy and beautiful.”

She paused, “You’re feeling it and while you may not see what it will ultimately look like just yet, it’s on its way.”

So there I was, in my first adult apartment – bulldozing and being bulldozed. With a few weeks left, I sat presently in front of well-taped U-Haul boxes, immersing myself in all of it. I tossed out old receipts while saving captured moments and penned words that to this day make me smile more than I could ever fully communicate to another human being. I continued to face some real moments of pushed down tension all the while becoming present and grateful for where I’d come from.

I was moving. I was transitioning. I was evolving.
I was ready.

'Just Sit In It

Just Sit In It

“I care,” I said. “I care about how they feel and what they think. I care a whole lot.”

“Okay, you care.” she said nodding her head slowly and calmly, acknowledging that she received the information I surged in her general direction. “It’s good to recognize that and own it.”

“Well where do I go from here?”

“You don’t. You just sit in it. This is the step for right now.”

“Well that doesn’t make me feel any better.”

She laughed. She loves to laugh. It took her a long while to love her laugh. It’s hearty and heart felt. It’s infectious and feel-good. It’s insanely honest and will tell you, straight from the hip, how it came into existence. She shares it like a language — one that she is fluent in.

She knew I was looking for an answer – something to pacify my worry and self-doubt. Something to hold onto — tight, like you would a bungee jumping partner as you free fall; but not this time. I was solidly free falling solo with my hands grasping at the air for something — anything, to hold for comfort. And my best friend was allowing it.

It didn’t feel good. It didn’t feel hopeful. It didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere or ever would with no action steps going forward from where the conversation started.

“Just sit in it” translates in my ears most times as a fast road to sadness and to inaction and inertia.

Why though? Why the extreme negative?

For some reason I just find it scary – sitting in wherever I find myself to be, not receiving any actionable feedback. Figuring things out on my own sort of terrifies me. It’s not that I am alone, but it can feel that way in these moments. No matter what is said, I have to make a choice going forward and no one else can make it for me.

While there is an obvious beauty in finding what I really believe to be true, trepidation tends to rise to the surface quicker these days and I find myself wrestling with this simple question – what if I’m wrong?

I’ve come to discover that decision-making is what life is all about. I’ve grown up close to people who have had a very difficult time with this particular process. I firsthand witnessed individuals I love literally struggle to make a verdict on everything from material effects to personal relationships. Not knowing what to say goodbye to and what was healthy to keep.

I catch myself falling into learned behaviors like these sometimes. Even as I type this out, I am reminded of how I just spoke to a friend of mine regarding how hard it is for me to say goodbye or to end conversations with people. If it were up to me, most times, I would never do it.

I Love conversing – with a capital L. It is practically my oxygen flow.

I never want a good conversation to end – and in the same vein, I never want to have to say goodbye to great moments that I don’t know if I’ll ever experience again.

But in the end, I do. I end conversations even if I’m uncomfortable or awkwardly doing so. I say goodbye to things even if it’s a challenge in the moment. And, for the record, while it varies in degrees, it remains a challenge every single time.

Perhaps that’s all each decision ever is when it comes down to it. Trust.

The key for me has been staying grateful for the experience had and hopeful for the experiences to come. It’s enjoying the moment and trusting in the future. Perhaps that’s all each decision ever is when it comes down to it. Trust.

Life is full of choices. I think what we all need to work on making more well known is the simple truth that most of our decisions in life will fall into grey-areas – where the choices we make are both good and bad.

Life isn’t always so definitively right or wrong – in fact, it’s hardly ever so stark.

I know, trust me, I wish it were. I want there to be some sort of checklist going forward. One that I could find peace in intuitively knowing what is always “correct” and tick the boxes of the steps I am meant to take to progress from where I began.

As much as I wish for that, I also am thankful life doesn’t work that way. I think if it did we would never really come to know who we truly are because our decisions would forever be pre-made for us. I think we would rely heavily on always “getting it right” and less about embracing individual growth through mistakes made.

I’ll shoot it straight with you – I cannot stand making mistakes.

I literally cringe at the thought of letting someone down and if I slip-up, even in a small way, I typically will not let myself off the hook for quite some time.

My friend put it well the other day; she said we all need a personal trainer/motivator in our lives. Some need the ones who will get in your face and yell you into better outcomes. Some need positive encouragement and feedback each step of the way. She reminded me how well she knew me by saying that both her and I need the latter and would utterly breakdown in tears if subjected to the former. She then posed the question, “If we know that is true, why are we allowing the voices that motivate us internally to act like drill sergeants?”

“You’re not good enough.”

“It’s all your fault.”

“You messed up again – what made you think this time would be any different?”

“You’re lazy”

“You’re unwanted.”

“You’re not worth it.”

It’s not even about letting anyone down at a point; it’s about being my own worst enemy.

Her analogy made me realize that I need to make choices internally as well as externally. To know myself well enough to make a decision to recognize the type of encouragement and motivation I need for personal betterment.

I need to be kinder to myself.

I do also believe the pressure of always making the “right” decision ends up encouraging us all to people please. Like I said, I cringe at the thought of letting someone I care about down. This is something I’ve struggled with persistently. I find myself, these days, challenging my old people pleasing default through my faith. Which, to be honest, mostly looks like vast, unknown territory, but a pretty epic excursion in itself.

My faith journey has been a highly personal one for me – one that I’ve always been a little nervous to share too much about. I kept thinking it was more respectful to leave out that part of my life, but I’m starting to realize it’s more just a deficit of confidence in myself.

I guess, like with anything, I am always afraid that sharing such a personal decision will automatically put me in a box and allow for others to prejudge me without getting to know the heart behind the choices I’ve made for myself. I also truly never want to make anyone uncomfortable or feel disrespected.

The truth of the matter is, it all comes down to intention.

If I take a moment and honestly evaluate the intent behind my decisions, I wouldn’t doubt myself for a second and therefore, wouldn’t be as concerned about the possible perception of others. I want to love people well and allow them to feel heard and respected.

Ultimately I cannot control the reactions that others have to the decision I choose to make. I can only stay true to my good-hearted intentions and come back to that foundation with every choice I decide on my own.

I want to love people, not find my value in them.

I want to love people, not find my value in them. I want to find peace in the lack of a checklist going forward and embrace the idea that I may not always get it right. I want to breathe easier knowing my intentions are always to strive to be noble even though I may make decisions that could naturally bring out both good and bad. I want to let go of any ounce of me that longs for something to hold onto to feel safe – my false grasp of control.

Sitting in it. That’s where I was – still free falling.

My face was staring at the ground – what looked like mere inches away in comparison from the distance at which I had started. The metaphorically cord stretched to its furthest limit and to my whole body’s surprise, it didn’t break. I didn’t break. Instead, I was launched back upward.

“We are walking on the same path, side by side,” she came back and said. “And tonight, with this one thing, I just happened to have my foot in the air a split second before yours. I see what’s on the other side of this for you and I’m so excited for you to get there.”