I have found myself more than once thinking about how much has changed over the last eighteen months. Eighteen months ago, I was very unhappy with my daily life and felt confused and unsure of my direction most days. Nothing was so horrible that it made me ever question if life was worth living and in the back of my mind I knew there had to be more for me. It took me awhile to get the courage to even consider any other option than trying to continue to dig myself out.
I remember many phone conversations with a friend who reminded me that I had the power to choose a different path. This friend helped me to see that even though I felt buried and without any options, I really did have options. I was reminded that maybe I would lose some/all of my friends, maybe some cash, I’d need a new job, maybe some school credits would go wasted or I’d be delayed in graduating, and maybe there would be horribly sad days that make me question what I was thinking. But none of these things would be really that bad. I was stronger than those circumstances. Even if all of them happened, the end result could still be so amazing that it makes me forget all that. My friend basically told me if I wasn’t willing to take the risk there was a guarantee of no reward. If I took the risk it could turn out yucky but at least I’d know and I could try something new or it could be more amazing than I dreamed. My friend wasn’t pushy but gently reminded me that he was making efforts on my behalf that I would find clarity, all I had to do was open myself to accepting the answer would find me through whatever method I believe in.
I knew my true friends would support my decision to find my happiness in whatever manner and wherever I felt it had to be. The cash won’t be here in the end so why be overly concerned with the amount in the bank account or my credit score number. I knew as long as I had enough savings in the bank to keep me feeling ‘safe’ and my credit score stayed within a range (and hey it can swing both ways because of many factors), I knew I’d be financially ok. The job was the easy one, well once I convinced management I would stay for the project no matter what, since I applied for a transfer within the same company. After twelve years of school, losing a credit or pushing my graduation date back a month wasn’t going to destroy me. Not when I worked so hard to get myself through school while working full-time along the way. And those horribly sad days that make me question what I did? Yeah, those never happened. Sure I spent my first Arizona Christmas on the couch with a bottle of champagne, a box a gluten-free macaroni and cheese, and some movies but that was my CHOICE! I had a couple offers but at the time I didn’t feel right about accepting them. Don’t get me wrong, I have down days. Isn’t there a saying like: Where ever you go, there you are? Those down days though, they are few and far between. I found my happy. Once I gave my happy a chance to stop hiding and gave it a little encouragement, it let loose.
Never in my life can I remember being asked why I am so happy all the time or why I am always smiling. It wasn’t until Arizona that I stopped putting out my tough girl vibe almost all the time and really got to discover who I really am and want to be. There was a time I had many friends who called me ‘Tough Girl,’ now I get called ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Smily’ by people who can’t fathom the idea of me being tough. I don’t find it bad that I want to happy every day, or that I’ll always have a smile to give, or even that I’ll make a bunch of annoyingly ridiculous ‘little sister’ comments each day.
When people ask if I want to go back to Minnesota, I don’t even have to think about it. Yes I miss seeing my family and friends in Minnesota as often as we want but for so many reasons I can’t go back. Not back to the way I was, not back to the fear, not to the self-hatred, and certainly not to the COLD!