Well, come to think of it, not so easy come or go?! My family and I have been 'visiting' the PNW for the last 4 years. It wasn't an easy transition from the South, a place I still miss dearly. But the bright-eyed and newly married me packed up our SUV with two dogs, a cat, and my willing mom and set out on a cross-country adventure to the beautiful state of Washington.
My husband, Geoff, was stationed out here and was heading back from a year deployment. Even though I was sad to leave my friends, family and the life I'd built behind, I was even more excited to start my life with the man of my dreams.
Ok, honesty moment...my only reference to military life (mostly) was my Netflix binge of Army Wives while Geoff was deployed (true story). I laugh now looking back because, well, some of it's kinda true and then the rest is, yep you guessed it, dramatized for tv. *gasp* And maybe this is the Southern hospitality in me, but when I moved into our new home in a cul de sac, I halfway expected SOME type of neighborly greeting followed by a casserole or cookies?? Ok, that might be from Army Wives, but needless to say the welcoming vibe did not exceed my expectations.
So, one day, I put on my big girl undies and took my neighbors some cookies to strike up some type of neighborly relationship or friendly conversation at the very least. Spoiler alert: it worked! A few moves and years later, we're still in contact with each other to this day. But my years here have NOT all been 'made for tv' picturesque. I've struggled with seasonal depression, loneliness, loss, and even the 'occasional' tear was shed here and there. I've lived places before where I hardly knew anyone at all--surely it couldn't be that hard to find a niche of happiness and friends to share that with! I compared my time here with previous homes and wouldn't you know it, it bit me square in the tush. You've heard the saying 'comparison is the thief of joy', right? Well, it's so true in every aspect of our lives...I wish it was like a little seed I could rip from our brains before it digs in it's toxic roots and begins to grow.
As you continue reading my potential sob story have no fear, for there is gain in the pain. Today's post is not one of defeat, but one of patience, perseverance and growth. It might've taken longer than expected, but I've always believed God had a divine purpose in my time out here. And I still may not see some of it until I look back, years from now, and reflect on the life we had. As for now, with a cuter-than-you-know-what son who brightens my world daily, a loving and supportive husband, and friends I couldn't do without...I'm saying good-bye to the PNW at the end of this year.
I've found pieces of myself I didn't know existed, passions that give me life, friendships I'll never quit, and a deeper love for my husband I thought possible. As odd as this may sound, I would never trade the moments of unhappiness I've experienced living out here because they've made me fight harder then I ever have to find a deeper sense of self worth and content.
Over the years I've found such joy in exploring all around this beautiful state - it's really become my church away from home, my happy place. I've researched, driven, and gotten lost only to find some of the most jaw-dropping views I'll never forget. Through hiking, waterfall chasing, sweeping panoramic views, and physically demanding trails, I've found a happiness inside from exploring what's offered outside.
As our time draws near, I'm trying to soak up every bit of PNW I can! My heart leaps with joy at the possibilities that our future holds back in the South, but I will leave pieces of it here in the upper left of the US for the friendships and memories I leave behind.
Thank you to all who have been a part of my encouraging community out here. With the inability to individually thank you all (mainly because I'd lose it and get all "emo" on you) thank you for being that moment of light I needed in my life. Your kindness, love, and welcoming friendship will always be cherished.
Want to read more about our adventures in the PNW? Come visit me and say hey over at www.lemonstolove.com
Thanks for reading!