I have been trying to write this post for a few months now. I don’t blog much anymore, but I knew that I needed to write about this year, in particular, a moment that acted as a light bulb in the darkness that I was walking in.
I found myself in a pretty deep funk this past Summer. You know, the kind of depressing days where you cry at EVERYTHING. A commercial, a text from a friend, or just having to clean the dishes. And I had no idea why. Yes, I was dealing with a transition of moving from LA to Nashville, but I had a great job, was starting to make new friends, and I was living closer to family.
I was questioning a lot of things: Who am I? Why am I not this way? Why am I this way? Why in the world did I react that way to that? Why am I still single? What am I working towards? Do I even have goals? And why am I crying at everything???
What in the world is wrong with me??
And nothing seemed to be fitting. None of the pieces of my life seemed to be working together.
During this time, I was invited to a dinner with a few other ladies who had recently transplanted from LA to Nashville. It was fascinating to hear about our rollercoaster relationships with both of our cities, what we hated, what we loved, and what we found just down right annoying. It seemed that we were all having a hard time with the change of it all and that it simply boiled down to that, change.
And then one of them said this:
“I think that it’s so easy to get caught up in the chaos of LA that you can forget to grow up. Here, buying a house is an option, and time moves a little bit slower, and we’re forced to face real life, adult moments.”
It hit me like a punch to the gut and I started tearing up over my margarita in the middle of Taco Mamacita.
I have found myself alone more in the last year since moving, than I have in my entire life. I was working from home, my roommate had a completely opposite schedule and I was discovering that rekindling old friendships and creating new ones was harder than expected.
In LA, I went to an office 5 days a week filled with 400 people. I lived with a roommate who worked in that same building and came home every night where we would recount our days to each other. I was constantly on the go – at the gym, at the beach, volunteering for this, a board meeting there, a concert over here. I was busy, and I loved it. But it also didn’t leave much time to just be. And there was the added time consumption of traffic (don’t get me started on that issue).
When she said those words that night, I realized that this past year had been a pruning season. I have moved “home”, found myself in a house outside of the city, where I sat at alone a lot of my days.
You’re bound to start talking to yourself, reflecting on life, questioning everything about your daily routine or your lack of one. I’ve learned more about myself in the past year than I have in the other 27 years of my life, because for the first time in my (adult) life, I have had time to slow down.
Plus, there is the added pressures of doing the “grown-up” things in Nashville, like buying a house, getting married, and anything else that has to do with settling down. There are Southern expectations that get lost in the Neverland of Los Angeles.
No one is expected to buy a house, get married, or even land that dream career LA. You kind of float through a fairy tale world of never-ending sunshine, Tinkerbell baristas, pirate landlords, and a bunch of lost boys.
Yes, this is an extreme generalization. Not all of LA is like this, but it is much easier to get caught up in a vacation world and just escape to the beach for a little while in never-ending scenes from the movies that you grew up with.
In a land-locked Nashville, life is a bit more real. Yes, there’s plenty of creatives crowding the coffee shops and many are living the aspiring musician lifestyles, but adulthood is attainable. And I think that can be scary to someone who embraced their wanderlust, and kept “adulting” at bay for so long.
Now, let me be clear. There is a strong difference between maturity and “adulting”(at least in my case). I’ve been called “mature for my age” most of my life and I don’t consider myself as someone who wants to hold onto a college lifestyle or anything like that. I simply found the act of slowing down scary. Planting my roots, settling down, committing to a place or a lifestyle is not easy for me – and it was all happening before I could realize what was going on.
I’m feeling a bit more balanced these days. Feeling more grounded in where I am, who I am, and where I’m going. But the culture shock was real, growing up is hard, and comparison can be all-consuming.
I may not be ready to let go of my wanderlust heart, but I’m learning to live here in the in-between. I will work on being more grounded in Nashville. Grow my roots, and embrace “adulthood” as it comes. But I will keep my head in the clouds. Keep dreaming, keep a child-like wonder alive, travel, and continue to believe that anything is possible.
I will be okay with being unsure. I will be okay with change, roots, and maybe even growing-up…