Being Okay With Where You’re At

Growing up I convinced myself that in order to be successful, accomplished, and experienced I needed to live outside of my home town. I went so far as to believe that even if I left my home town for periods of time and then ever ended up living back there I would be a failure–unaccomplished. One of those people who lived where they grew up and didn’t explore more of the world. Anyone else think this? I think it’s a fairly common thought in young people today, especially if you are from a smaller town.

My home town is plentiful and cute and homey. At a bit over 30,000 people it is bigger than the surrounding small farm towns but significantly less crowded than the big cities 45-60 minutes away. Here we are known for our rolling vineyard landscapes, the most delicious restaurants you’ve ever tried, beautiful family friendly neighborhoods and parks, and mostly-traffic-less roads. It is a town that is easy to get around, most people know each other, and most people care about living here. We are the type of town where the residents wear t-shirts, sweatshirts, and key chains with the towns name on it because we’re proud to live here.

However, when I was in high school I made a decision. I was going to go somewhere else for college. Somewhere out of the state, but close enough to come back and visit without an expensive plane ticket. I did it. I went to college a state away and had an amazing experience and fell in love with a different town. I even studied abroad twice during that time and experienced two different countries for an extended period of time. At the end of my college years, I had to make a decision yet again. Grad school was the obvious next step but I couldn’t decide yet what to study. Going back to my home town and working seemed out of the option. Again, I didn’t want to be someone who lived their fun college years and then were thrown back again in the same town with their parents.

So away I went into the Peace Corps. I lived in Guatemala for seven months and had a great time and learned a significant amount. When the pandemic arrived and I had to leave Guatemala my plans were thrown up into chaos. I was back in my home town. I was living with my parents. I was unemployed. If I had to be there for a while, then I was going to make sure that it was for a short amount of time, I convinced myself. I would get a job there temporarily, save up money, get married and then we’d move away together. Where? It didn’t matter much to me as long is it wasn’t here.

With marriage comes growth and with age comes wisdom. My advice if you are stuck in your thinking on a particular subject? Surround yourself with friends and a husband that will set you in your place. That will lovingly point out the flaws in your thinking and show you the beauty of where you are right now. It took a hard conversation with my husband where he pointed out I kind of just decided that we were going to move away for my grad school without consulting him what he wanted (which I totally am guilty of) plus a conversation with two of my closest friends where they told me that being comfortable where you are is okay. I am QUEEN of preaching to get out of your zone of comfortability because that is where growth happens. Which I still stand by. However, it doesn’t need to be taken to the extreme and that’s where I was taking it. Yes, you grow when you are doing things that aren’t easy. You grow when you are stepping out of your norm and experiencing something new. However, you don’t have to do that 100% of the time. And you can get experiences that challenge your comfort where you are right now. You don’t need to move out of the country in order to challenge yourself.

My word for 2022 was presence. We’re only two weeks in and it’s already kicked me in the butt.

I have not been pleasantly present where I am because I am still holding on to my teenage expectations of myself. That, plus I haven’t sat back to realize the things I have actually accomplished. I graduated with a bachelors degree, I studied in Oaxaca, I studied in Tobago, I served in the Peace Corps, I am about to commit to a graduate school to start my masters. I got married. We live in our own apartment. We just bought a second car (a family one for when we have kiddos, yay!). I have an amazing job. Those are accomplishments. Those are successes. And yet, I still always feel like I have to keep going. I can’t pause. I can’t rest. And most of all, I can’t live in my home town! Ugh. What exhausting expectations I have for myself.

I can live here. Because I actually enjoy it here even though I am too stubborn to admit it. And living in my home town doesn’t make me a failure. It’s actually great that I have taken the things I’ve learned in my studies and my travels and have applied them here to serve my home town. My husband loves it here. He came from a big city and loves the feeling of a smaller town. He can see himself starting a career here. He can see us raising our family here. And that doesn’t mean that it is forever. Realistically, our family will be frequently going between Guatemala and the United States. Who knows where we will end up raising our kids or where we will settle down. Or if we will ever “settle down.” All I know is that home is where Jose is. And this place we are in right now isn’t so bad after all.

All this is to say that we need to release ourselves of our child or teenage expectations of ourselves. We are different people than we were at 8, 12, 15, 18, or even 22. And we’re going to keep evolving. It’s okay for our priorities to change. It’s okay if you thought your biggest goal in life was to get a masters degree and have this mind blowing career where you change the world (speaking from experience), but now you kind of think you actually are being called to be a mom and you really want kids (also a mind blowing experience that changes the world). Whatever you want right now, allow yourself to want it. Be present in the now. Let’s let go of thinking we failed because we don’t want the same things that we used to.

Cheers to that my friends. And cheers to those around me helping me to realize the hard stuff. The life changing stuff. Those are the people that make up my community. This community.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s