I’ve always been someone who easily adapts to change. New beginnings are always welcomed and I truly believe that change is one of the most significant ways that we grow and evolve as human beings. It can come in many forms – changing states, quitting your job, starting a new one, changing your hair, re-designing your home, new life, a significant loss, or shifts in relationships.
These are just a few examples, and aside from having children they’re all something I can relate to – as this has been my life wrapped up in the last 3 years. Change has become a part of my identity. I don’t fear it, I embrace it. Always. I welcome it with open arms, because change has never steered me wrong. It’s only turned me into a better person – someone I’m proud of, someone I love.
All this to say – about a year ago I found myself completely unfamiliar with who I was. Like I was standing in quick sand, but had no sense of urgency to figure out why, or more importantly, how to change it. I got to a place where I didn’t feel like it was even worth the hassle. That the way I was living – internally, for other people, just to get by – was as good as it was going to get for me. It was crippling. My thoughts were no longer my own, I was dumbing myself down and making excuses for my sadness. I was blaming the decline of photography work coming in to the fact that I had moved to South Florida and my style just wasn’t “beachy” – rather than addressing that I was in fact, depressed, and didn’t have the passion or the focus to tackle the problem head on. I was blaming my intense introverted behavior on missing my dad to the point where I couldn’t catch my breath most days. I pretended to be whole, when in fact I was broken in half.
I didn’t want to say anything to anyone because I wanted so badly to be brave; to adapt to this change the way I had so easily before. This wasn’t my first time moving away. I had lived in Denver for two years post college and did wonderfully. I met new people, I fell in love with a new career, I embraced my surroundings knowing full well that I was so lucky to have the Rocky Mountains as my daily backdrop. I developed friendships that I still have today, and ended up moving home to spend the last four years of my dad’s life by his side – tending to his health and helping my mom both physically and mentally through the hardest season of our lives. It’s an experience that makes me really proud – both the move and the coming home. So I thought for certain that if I just put on a face, displayed things as perfect on social media, eventually the comfort would come as it once had. This place would feel like home and I would feel like myself again.
Free. Strong. Witty. Ambitious.
Aside from two girlfriends that I was lucky enough to meet there in South Florida, and who I would quickly grow to love, that feeling of “home” and familiarity never happened. It only got worse. I was then faced with the overwhelming decision of “if not here, then where?” I could literally go anywhere in the country, I could go anywhere outside of the country. But something kept calling me home.
I fought hard with that decision – the coming home. Was that a cop-out? Was it the easy decision? I still had my clients and a lot of work happening in Chicago. I knew the city like the back of my hand. My best friends were here. My mom is here half of the year.
Here’s what I came up with:
Life is forever changing. What stands today could be different tomorrow. Relationships, opportunities, travel plans, etc. Where we live doesn’t have to define who we are. I’m learning that now. That the most important place to be is to be at home with yourself.
I’ve finally found my way back.7