Hi. I'm not dead. I just moved two kids, three dogs, and an entire household 130 miles north. So ya. Not dead. Just tired. And, if I'm honest, a little lonely.
It's weird to admit that as an adult. That I'm lonely. It's weird to think that adults can be lonely. It's even weirder to think that I'm so connected to so many people in so many ways (thanks, social media--and that's not sarcasm), but that I can still feel lonely.
I don't even like to say the word. I pride myself in my extroverted-ness, my ability to make connections, my sincere desire to have friends, not just acquaintances. But, damn, moving to a new city and exhausting energy every day to talk to people I meet beyond the initial "hi"s and "how-are-you"s is tiring. It kind of sucks. And, right now, I don't really want to do it anymore.
This--this loneliness--is one of those things I didn't really think about in the move. I didn't really think about the logistics of my move. I thought about the house and the children and their activities and my husband and his job and my dogs, but I didn't really think about how exhausting and not easy it would be for me to re-establish relationships and routines in a new city.
Don't get me wrong, I knew we would all go through some serious changes. I knew I was leaving the safety and comfort of my hometown and taking a huge risk in this move. I saw the bigger picture and how dynamic it would be for us.
But the day-to-day? I didn't really picture that. And it's been hard.
I'm really having to push myself. Yet I'm not sure that's a bad thing.
Monday, I chatted with the woman who runs the kids' consignment store on the major street on my block. We talked about dance and gymnastics and how our kids are freakishly talented for their ages. Tuesday, I engaged with the mom at the park who seemed to be loud (like me), and I came to find out she is a high-school math teacher who recently resigned (makes sense). I joined the "Santa Barbara Moms" Facebook group and I have a play-date set up for Friday and some workouts scheduled for next week. I'm hoping to get into the MOPS (Moms of Pre-Schoolers) group that meets on Fridays at the new church we tried, which also happens to be the campus of Farrah's school. And as I'm typing this now--all of it sounds exhausting.
Last week, I talked to a couple of my dearest friends and they each had similar yet very different advice regarding how I could better navigate this transition and address my feelings and concerns.
One dear friend suggested I "put on my life vest first". She emphasized that I take care of myself and let the children follow. I mean, I really could not agree with that more. Yes. Yes. YES! I know that whole philosophy. Parents, put on your oxygen mask before you help your child. I'm no help to my kids if I'm not breathing. Knowing the the protocol is one thing--putting it to action is another, and hearing it from a best friend always helps. So maybe that's what all the extra reaching out and expending energy and trying to make connections stuff has been. Maybe it's my way of taking care of myself first. I'm really hoping that somewhere in all of this "self-care" (although, that's not really what I think it is but it is taking care of myself) I can develop one or two deeper relationships, with some women I vibe with, so I can kind of start getting into a new groove.
I also need to consider that it hasn't even been three weeks. But right now, I miss my neighbor. I miss my family. I miss my friends and our street and our house and our Starbucks and our Target and running into someone I know absolutely everywhere I go. No exaggeration. It's kind of ridiculous how small Brea is for someone who went to high school there (read: me).
In contrast, my other girlfriend suggested I take a few months to be on vacation. To relax. To enjoy this city and its beauty and soak it all in knowing I am living in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Oy, she's right.
So I'm trying to do both. Take care of myself and relax and enjoy. But guess what? Those are seriously the two things in the world I am THE WORST AT EVER.
I guess my friends really know me, and really know what I need to hear, huh?
Thank goodness for such awesome women in my life. You know who you are, and I love you.
I think added to all of this is the fact that I'm not settled in this house. I'm not unpacked, I still need a couple more pieces of furniture (we are now in a bigger space than we were before), and I don't know where all of my stuff is yet. It gets frustrating.
Also, this home is a rental. Let me say there is nothing wrong with a rental. At all. I'm beyond grateful for this house because it is providing my family an incredible opportunity here. However, I love to decorate. And it's hard to invest in a home that I know is not mine and that I know isn't permanent. But I also don't want to have an impermanent attitude. I don't want to think of this home as temporary. If I think of it as a short-term space, I know it will impact my energy and my overall experience. Yet I'm not really sure how to change that mindset. Ugh! Someone help me with this, please.
Can you hear my anxiety? Typing this is supposed to be cathartic and as I do so I can feel my shoulders tensing and my jaw clenching and my back tightening.
So let me pause. Let me take a deep breath. Let me go put my toddler to bed and I'll come back to this in the morning.
Ok, I'm back. It's not morning but it is the next day and it's amazing how in one day I can feel better and how God can provide and answer some prayers for me. And I hope you don't mind that I'm writing this like a journal. It's really the easiest way for me to communicate. So, thank you for giving me this space.
Today I got my hair done. I know this sounds silly, but my hair is such a huge part of my identity. It contributes so much to my overall sense of self. When I feel like my hair is done and fresh, I just feel better. Those tensed shoulders from yesterday relax and settle back a bit. I walk a little taller. And my husband said he noticed a sparkle in my eyes. Sounds superficial, but I know what makes me feel good, and I don't find any shame in that. So ya, I'm feeling myself as I type this. ;)
I also got word today that I'm no longer on the MOPS waitlist--we got in! So that there is a huge answer to prayer. I'll have a couple hours every week where the kids are loved on and I spend some quality time with like-minded women. Stoked on that.
So, in just one day, it's looking a little better here. I spent some time in prayer last night and I know that helped me. Plus a fresh 'do. Plus it's almost the weekend. And ya, it's going to be ok. At least for now.
If you caught my last post, you know we fully believe this is where God wants us right now. But just because this is where we are supposed to be does not mean that that path is easy. And, as a certifiable, self-proclaimed control freak, relying on God and trusting the process just doesn't come easy for me. So I'm struggling. And I think that's perfectly all right. And I'm grateful to be able to work through that because there is one thing life has always shown me--everything turns out all right.
It's funny--when I knew I was going to start this blog, I created a list of "blog post ideas" that I thought would help fuel me as I started writing. It turns out, I am not in need of ideas. My life is full enough, and sharing what is on my heart as worked pretty well so far.
A FEW THINGS HELPING ME GET THROUGH THIS WEEK
Sunny and seventy-five degrees in Santa Barbara means lots of time outdoors. The older I get, the more I cannot stand excessive sun exposure. So it's lots of hats, and always having this sunscreen on hand. I love that it's mineral-based, but rubs in clear unlike so many other mineral sunscreens. And, I can hand it to Farrah and she can apply it herself.
I'm a little less lonely now that I unpacked my good friend, Alexa. It's mildly embarrassing how much we depend on her. We love listening to music and dancing around the house. And lately I've taken to using her to create all of my lists for me. She's so darn handy. I get that it's a splurge, but if you don't have one, I'd encourage you to take her for a spin. I'm pretty sure your life will change for the better.
I've discussed before my love for sleep aides like this sound machine. But I'm such a light sleeper that I need even more help than that. And while I love morning light that our large bedroom windows provide (and while my toddler loves night-lights), any ounce of light will wake me up. So, bring on this buddy, which really helps me get those extra minutes of oh-so-precious sleep. Surprisingly enough, its super soft to wear and does not leave those unwanted kinks on my hair come morning. (Under $10, and currently 20% off when you click the coupon.)