Monday, July 16, 2018

A Time of Change.

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had a great weekend. I'm currently sitting on my couch watching Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, learning about Quebec, Morocco, and Congo. It's an excellent way to spend a lunch break when you work from home, and kind of a nice escape from reality after a very tiring weekend.

Last week was spent at home, visiting my family in southern Michigan (where I was born and raised). It was a much-needed visit, and I got to spend time with two of my siblings and their families, my parents, cousins, aunts, and uncles, which is always enjoyable given it doesn't happen very often. In fact, it's been years since I last saw my cousin (visiting from Texas), and I've never even met his wife. So there were good times with family, a few too many glasses of wine, and lots of catching up. I even checked out a new wine tasting room and went to Chili's for the first time in years (not a fan of chain restaurants). Our waiter found out I was vegan and thought he'd be funny, handing me this as he said 'Enjoy your appetizer'. I don't share his humor and was slightly more annoyed than impressed: 
Anyway, the week with family and friends was wonderful. I even got in some snuggle time with Coco (my parents' Australian cattle dog), met an old friend from elementary school, and found time to get my hair done. (Guys. This is a post in itself. What should have been a 1-visit ombre turned into a two-visit bleaching mess that has left my hair blonde, yes, but also extremely damaged because the hairstylist didn't listen to me or take any note of the picture I showed her. This is why I never get my hair done, not to mention all of the chemicals in their potions and sprays. Big, expensive regret.) Anyhoo. I left early on Saturday to head home, not feeling entirely well after a few days of dog-interrupted sleep. It took me about four hours to get home, then another 45 minutes to head up to the nearest grocery store for some essentials before finally heading home. There is nothing convenient about living in Michigan's upper peninsula, and yes - I am trying to move out as soon as possible.

After I got home and unloaded my car, I headed out for the evening. Very good friends of mine who have been with me through all the ups and downs of the past year are moving in the coming week, and Saturday evening was their going away party to celebrate. Sunday, I helped them scrub down their bathrooms, walls, and floors. Of course it was nice getting to spend the weekend with them, catching up after a week apart and reminiscing about the past year, but it was also bittersweet. I had great friends last summer who also moved away (to RV around America - thinking a collab might be coming) and it was incredibly hard to say goodbye after only knowing them for a few months. While I am looking forward to visiting these friends in their new home, goodbyes are always tough. I've come to realize that this place is a bit of a 'transition town'. People come for the idea and leave because of reality. I've met so many people here in the last year, tourists and temporary residents, and it seems no one stays for long. There's an initial excitement of the beautiful view, the hiking trails, and all of the outdoor activities throughout the year (kayaking, hunting, ice fishing). But then it sinks in: its isolated, there's the small town 'everybody-knows-everything' phenomenon, and the high prices of essentials. Of course there are the locals who were born and raised in this little harbor town and love it, but those who don't have roots don't stay put. And I can honestly say I'm right behind them. 
I'll be giving my notice at my apartment soon, and there are a lot of things up in the air, but I can honestly say I hope to be out by the end of August. The original reason I moved here - the coffee shop - is no longer part of my life. There's more encouraging me to move than there is to stay. I used to love this town and everything in it: it was a vacation spot for my family for years in my childhood.  We spent summers up here enjoying the sun, spending time on Mackinac, and enjoying all of the tourist attractions. But now, having lived here for just over a year, having made and lost valued friendships, and having realized that small town life definitely isn't for me, it's time to go. In fact, my motivation in adopting minimalism started with the idea that I wanted to be ready to move as soon as possible. (The less you have, the less you have to pack. Solid thought, yea?) I know that I'm in a transitional phase right now: a lot is changing. And as hard as it will be to say good-bye to the few friends I've made in town, I know that there are bigger, better things ahead. If you're wondering why I haven't moved yet, well...it's complicated (certainly a post for another day). I've wanted to since November, when my time at the coffee shop came to an end. It has now been nearly eight months of wondering, waiting, hoping, and hustling. If I let myself think too hard about the situation - knowing I'm moving but not having an exact plan in place - it can be overwhelming. But. There's also a great deal of excitement that change is coming. Finally. Change is good. Change is what makes us grow.

Sometimes that's exactly what we need: the chance to slow down, re-evaluate our situation, and allow ourselves to grow and evolve. We are constantly changing, whether it happens in baby steps or in big leaps. Moving forward and moving away from this town will definitely be a big leap: a fresh start. This morning started with a smoothie bowl, a walk, and a great cup of coffee before work. These are little things, but helped me feel somewhat refreshed and ready to tackle the week ahead. So friends, I hope you had a wonderful weekend and wish you a 'fresh start' this Monday as well!

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