It's pretty amazing how much can change in just one year.
I always find myself at random times thinking about how my life looked a year ago, and thinking how I have absolutely no idea what my life will look like a year from now.
March 13th, 2014
I've been thinking a lot lately about our life a year ago around this time. We were at a real crossroads and had to make some big decisions about what we wanted for our life. We had one path carved out perfectly right in front of us, and we chose to walk away and make our own path. Now that some time has passed I can really see how it was a huge curve that we took. And what a big risk it was.
We both had been living in Omaha for about a year and a half. John moved out there for his first job after he graduated college, and a few months later I followed. At 23 and 24 it was a big deal for us to move so far away from our families, figure out how to be on our own and not to mention figure out how to live with each other. Although neither of us had been living at home for a while, it was really the first time we had to grow up. We were alone, just the two of us and for the first time had all of life's little responsibilities on our shoulders. (Or, let me be real, most of the responsibility was on his shoulders but still..)
Now I can't lie and say that life was bad by any means. We were doing very well. We both had good jobs. We had money. We lived in a trendy apartment. We had a small circle of friends. We had a real grown up routine. We had everything we needed, but we found ourselves unhappy. We were doing everything we thought we should be doing. But we were doing it wrong. We were taking life way too seriously. Stressing ourselves out all the time and letting the pressure of becoming serious full fledged adults steal all of the joy out of our lives. And while we liked living away from our home town and experiencing a new place, we wanted more. We wanted to be able to experience more than just that. We wanted to see more, learn more and where we were at seemed like a dead end. (And I won't get into details here, but career-wise we knew we wanted some changes also.) I actually have this text saved from John where he says "What we've been doing up until now is crazy. I feel stupid because the writing was on the wall the whole time. It's just taken a lot of time for me to stop and read the message."
So one Sunday, the day after Johns 25th Birthday, we decided it was time to go. A few weeks later we quit our jobs. We moved all of our belongings back home to Michigan. And then without much of a plan, we took off to backpack Europe for a month. We joke that it was our quarter life crisis, but in all seriousness it was one of the best decisions we ever made. It allowed us to throw out our routines, let go of all the stress we had built up and forget our worries about what the hell we were going to do next. It opened our eyes and woke us back up. It wasn't a cure to figuring out life, but it helped us remember some of the pieces of ourselves we had forgotten.
Sometimes I think where would we be if we had stayed on that path? And I don't see anything. Making me believe there really was nothing there for us. But it was scary to leave and lose that security and everything we had built up to that point. To choose to be unemployed, have to move home and start over. To choose to take money we had saved and spend it on something that was good for our souls. I have to remind myself sometimes now to be so thankful for our present life, because we are so lucky how everything has turned out. We took a big risk, and the road here wasn't always easy. We are a million times happier now, and I know that ultimately it's because of the conscious choices we've made since then to do what is us, and not what we think we should be us. But I wouldn't take any of it back. That was a huge part of our story. It was a lot of firsts for us. And we grew so much in that time, both separately and together. So I am glad we had the opportunity, but I am also glad we knew when it was time to say goodbye.
I initially went to write this post about the Europe trip itself and what an experience it was, but this is what came out. Oops. That's what I love so much about writing. Something can happen, and sometimes the only way I know how to process it is through writing.
I did post this to Instagram earlier, but click below to see some of my favorite photos from the trip.