For a gal who dislikes change, I’ve experienced a fair amount of it.

It started six years ago–me clutching my laptop and phone to my chest the last night I called that place home, my angry and inebriated now-ex trying to pry them from my hands.

I went from daughter’s house to daughter’s house to friend’s to friend’s to friend’s over the next year and a half. Then finally to a room I could rent from a friend, living with her and her two teens. When that ended sooner than either of us expected with her move to live with her parents in the mountains, I gathered up my copious amount of worldly goods and moved to live with daughter Corinne in Portland, Oregon, place of my birth.

From the East Bay of California where seasonal changes are fairly nonexistent to the liquid sunshine of Portland, I came. Into the most glorious autumn they’d seen in years! Intensely colored leaves on trees, the crisp, bright air freezing my nose and fingers. Walks through the neighborhood with Finn-dog, my constant attempts to find the right combination of coat, sweater, gloves, hat, scarf, so I wouldn’t be too hot or too cold.

It takes me a year to settle into new. As with everything else in my life, I move slowly and steadily, turtle fashion. I examine every tiny speck as I go, inch by inch, rejecting, accepting, overthinking. I adapt s l o w l y. Now as Portland welcomes another fall, I’m preparing to move again.

This surprises me to say, but I have a man in my life…I feel like I should whisper those words so I don’t jinx it.

After living on the Left Coast my entire life, I’m moving to the south, to Tennessee, to Dolly Parton land. The humidity will likely convert my hair into Big Country Music Hair pretty quickly.

Yards are huge, and I can build a new garden, learn about new plants. The rain comes in deluges that pound down like God dumping a bucket of water over the earth. The thunder and lightning is LOUD and LARGE and makes me jump and close my eyes. There’s a teen involved, someone I get to be friends with, and I look forward to being the troublemaking grownup I generally am anyway.

I have avoided change–so much that I stayed in the #marriagefromheck long past its expiration date. It was what I knew, what I was familiar with. I had lost the ability to see honestly where I was and what I was doing damage-wise to all of us. I let my children marinate in the not-so-wonderful anger and tension marinade of the relationship. I allowed my spouse to continue to treat me with disrespect and disdain. All this weakened my body and spirit. My bad.

When I ran away from home back in February of 2014, I thought my life was pretty much finished. I figured I’d knit and craft and die alone after I moved to Portland to live with my daughter. She could have me cremated and then sprinkle my ashes over local yarn and craft shops, and that would be the end of me. My California grandkids would maybe remember me fondly when they shopped at a Michael’s or Joann’s Fabrics: “Didn’t Aunt Cori drop grandma’s ashes over a Michael’s in Portland? She was the silly one who did stuff like a 1950s Thanksgiving, right?”
The GrandBrits would think of me and chuckle when they remembered me saying I got my pants dirty, since to them “pants” means underwear.

In 2014 I imagined that five years from now I’d just be a picture on somebody’s end table. That’s how over my life felt.

I love to encourage people who are struggling with the same things I am so familiar with–depression, anxiety, divorce with all the trimmings. To encourage people that whatever trauma we’ve endured we can grow and heal and overcome. Maybe even thrive! That’s why this blog exists.

Did I expect this kind of change, this 2000 miles from the Left Coast kind of change? Did I ever once think that one of the many people I’ve encouraged or shared my story with on Twitter would become an actual real life friend, and eventually more? If someone had suggested that six years ago I would have laughed and said “Pants!”

Yet here I am, teetering on the edge of the Left Coast, preparing to move my pared down (but still too many) belongings across the country, so far inland I’ll be only hours from the Right Coast. And confession: he’s younger than me. But it works out–he’s an old soul and I’m pretty immature.

This time next week we’ll be nearly to Tennessee in my little red Subaru. I’ll be starting a part of my life I would never have imagined in those dark days of 2014.

Possibilities exist. With the upcoming changes, I’m living the words I use to encourage others: that we can come through times we were certain would crush us. We can grow, we can heal, we can live bigger than the circumstances we once thought defined us.

Join me. Let’s adventure!

The bring your own beverage conversation: What situation in your life do you feel is crushing you? How would it change your life to remember you will come to the other side in time?

Be as kind to yourself in your words as you are to others. You deserve no less.


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