7 Lessons Learned: Seattle

“It’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, there are no rules to this thing. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you life a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
              The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

A little more than 10 months ago, I quit a job I loved, packed up my tiny Jetta, bid farewell to my family and friends and headed for a new life in Seattle. In my head, things were going to be perfect. I was going to be living in a city that has always drawn me in. I was going to have this freedom and these adventures that were unlike anything I could have had in Minneapolis. I was going to life a particular lifestyle that I saw so vividly in my head and I was going to have a fun time doing so. To me, there was nothing that could go wrong and if something did, it would all work out- it always does, right?

In the past ten months, I have learned a lot about myself, about others and about life. The life I had dreamt about in Seattle was short lived and like most things in life, not exactly what I had imagined for myself. That’s how it always seems to go though, right? Never is ever what it seems and never as wonderful as the illusion we’ve created in our heads for it. I’ve gained friends, lost friends, found love, found adventure and made a small life for myself. It’s been a whirlwind of emotions and a roller coaster of good and bad times. People ask from time to time, do you regret moving? No. The answer will always be no. Despite difficulties and the losses it’s been a learning and growing up experience. Plus, I credit a move west to the greatest relationship I could have ever hoped to find.

Along with learning some pretty cool things about Seattle and being able to say that I’ve lived in a city that I have always loved, I learned much more about myself and the world around me.

It’s not where but who you’re with that really matters. Yes, Dave Matthews was right when he scribbled those simple yet true words down. I never really fully understood that phrase until this year. People make the place- they make a home. You can go anywhere alone, but if you aren’t sharing the experience, it gets awfully lonely. I found myself missing home a lot. Not because I wanted to go back there, I don’t. But, I miss those relationships, those friendships and those strong arms to help out along the way.

People aren’t always who you think they are. When someone shows you the real them, you need to believe them- don’t try to change them. You’ll probably wish for them to be a certain way, a way that you once knew them but that’s not who they are, at least not anymore. You need to accept that just as you grow up and change, so do others. You can’t hold on to everyone. Some are meant to go a different way than you. That’s okay. Just let them be.

Time zones suck. With friends and family that span North America, it’s hard to find time to chat and keep in contact with them all, especially thanks to time zones. Two hours may not seem like a big deal, but it’s amazing how different a day in the life is by just a mere two hours. Be patient, eventually you’ll get that phone call.

Timing is everything. As I said, I credit my moving west as one of the main reasons my relationship could finally start to blossom with Dave. Timing really truly is everything. Without a move to the West Coast, we would have always been time zones and pricey flights apart. Moving to Seattle we were able to spend more time together and finally, for the first time in 2 years, allow our relationship to blossom into what we both always knew was meant to be. Sometimes it just takes a little risk, a little commitment and the perfect timing for something great to happen.

Distance does nothing to true friends. Once you leave, you’ll really understand and see which relationships were the most genuine and real, which friendships were meant to stick it out and who is in for the long haul. True friends are rare but dang are they gems. The best of friends are never too far- just a phone call away. I love those relationships where I know I can text or call at any hour and not be afraid that I’m disrupting their lives. Even when they are busy, I know they’ll get back in their own time. And once you get to that reunion with them, it’s as if nothing has ever changed- everything feels the same. Nothing ever has to change, except what has to. They are there for shoulders to cry on, and without judgment will listen as you cry, laugh, erupt or whatever else emotion you need to get out.

-When you take care of your body, you feel better. I’ve recently become more aware of what goes into my body and what it takes to stay in shape. It seems like common knowledge but not to me. I learned that counting calories does nothing and that marketing agencies can pretty much put whatever they want on labels to get you to buy their product (with the exception of the nutrition facts). Therefore, if you just stick to natural foods *foods that have words you can pronounce in it’s ingredients, you’ll be okay. Your body is 90% what you eat and 10% gym time. Living a healthy and active lifestyle makes you feel better. Less alcohol and more water helps, too.

-Don’t be afraid to start over, again. It doesn’t matter that things didn’t pan out how you had hoped; it doesn’t mean you failed- that’s life. Take those moments and learn from them. Grow into a bigger and better person than you were before. There will always be a plan that is bigger than any plan we have for ourselves. When I was prepping to leave one of my sisters told me, “be brave, you can always come home.” Knowing that was always a fall back option makes things easier. It makes it easier to leave when you know you can always go back. That being said, it doesn’t make it easier once you are there. People expect you to be living a certain way, to be fully enjoying every moment of this new life and to be completely happy. They assume it’s all going great and amazing. No one talks about what happens if it doesn’t work out, if you aren’t happy and if you don’t want to be there anymore. My mom said it best to me, “Just go. Go someplace you’ll be happier.” So that’s what I’m doing. I’m packing up the little Jetta, donating anything that won’t fit and starting over again. I’m so excited to move to San Diego and start chapter 25 in less than 2 weeks!

SoCal, here I come.

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