So, I’m not totally sure where to start writing something like this except to come right out and say it: I’m moving back to Washington, DC! I accepted a new job– one that has a good future in the skills set that I am looking to use in my career and will help me get things back on track. Last September, I made the most difficult decision ever in taking a chance on a job back in Nebraska where I am originally from. I remember not feeling totally right about taking it. While I love my home state and being near my family was something I wanted very much, Nebraska is not the place for me. I don’t quite know what I need or want in my life and I don’t want a place to decide for me what that is or isn’t, but I can’t deny that my heart is in DC. Maybe not forever– it was never my goal to stay there for the rest of my life– but for now, I feel like that’s where I need to be. I feel like I have unfinished business there, like there is something waiting for me there, so I’m going to find out if that is true and what that is.
Leaving Nebraska is going to be the hardest thing I will ever have to do. I’ve learned that it’s not where you belong that makes a home: it’s who you belong to. And I have the most incredible family anyone could ask for. Being back here and getting to spend time with them has been a blessing I still can’t believe I was given. While a lot of people can’t stand being around their families for a long time, all I want is be near them. They make me laugh and I remember countless times when they were there for me.
I am a “divorce child” and I have still never really learned how to cope with saying goodbye and homesickness, and I think it’s because my capacity to love has only gotten stronger as I’ve gotten older and realize more and more how short life is and how important it is to care about the people in your life. When I lived in DC before, flying home for the holidays was something I looked forward to more than anything else and leaving home was always the most bitter pill to swallow. I would be homesick for days upon coming back to DC. But even now, leaving my mom’s house yesterday to drive an hour south to Lincoln, I was homesick. So, I don’t think that will ever go away. Now that I know that I will always be homesick for my family, even as I live an hour away from them now, I can go anywhere else because it’s not the distance that is causing it: it’s the love I have for my six siblings, my step-dad, and my mother and knowing how much I miss them when we can’t all be together. Being back in Nebraska has been wonderful only because I’ve been able to see my family more often.
But I can’t stay here because, as much as I love my family, I have to put myself first and think about the things I want in my life. They get that. But I still have a hard time convincing myself. Sometimes I feel guilty. I missed most of my younger sister’s childhoods because I went away to college when they were 6 and 7. And then I moved to DC when they were in their teenage years. I used to talk to my twin sister– my person– every day over email (or, used to– she’s going through something of a quiet phase, I guess), and hopefully will again when I leave. We both had to find our own way apart from each other, but things are different now than they used to be and sometimes I hate it. And I know my two brothers are going through the same things I am– they’re finding out what they want for their own lives–but I wish I could be there for them more than I am now. My mother is always a phone call away and boy, do I take advantage of that! I can’t even talk about what my mom means to me because now I can’t even see the computer screen through the tears that have formed just thinking about her. I know she supports me but I also know this is tough on her. She was excited that I moved back home, and now I’m leaving again.
Despite feeling sad and guilty, I’m happy and my family shares my joy. The people in your lives are there for a reason, I am sure of it. I have never been more convinced of it than I am now. Last year, I lost someone I loved who showed me that home isn’t about geography: it’s who you are with that makes a place home. I’m grateful for that lesson, but I need to go out and find the guy I will love more than the one who walked away because I believe he is out there. But I don’t think he is here in Nebraska. So, as much as it hurts to think about leaving home again and not seeing my family every weekend, I owe it to myself to find the man I will marry and build a life with in DC or somewhere else. It’s exciting to think of where I will be at this time next year or in two years….and on.
Ultimately, I have no plan for my life and that’s how I’ve always lived it. I know what would make me happy, but until I am presented with choices, I can’t make decisions for my future. That approach has gotten me to some amazing places with amazing opportunities and I have met exactly who I needed along the way. Even now as I am moving back to DC, I know that this what I want for my life right now because, frankly, there are no other alternatives. I need to feel like my life is moving forward in one area or another, whether it is at work or in a relationship or both. That feeling is the key to happiness, the compass that guides my decisions, and absent of that feeling, I go a little nuts. So, I am excited to see where this path takes me because I do feel like I am moving toward something great.
I’m going to be busy as hell for awhile, but I am determined not to let my moving get in the way of training. I am committed to Chicago and this is only a 3-week blip in the scope of my training season. It’ll be interesting trying to fit in training runs while I am driving the 20 hours back East, but stay tuned! Can’t wait to run my 20-milers on my favorite trails again.
DC, here I come!