Just six months ago to the day, my husband, Nate, and I returned from our honeymoon in Charleston, S.C.
I remember feeling uneasy about the idea of him turning around the next day to drive to our new home in Augusta, Ga., with the first of three loads of our things. After having been distracted with finishing graduate school and planning a wedding for the previous 11 months, I had no idea what I was in for during our first year of marriage, let alone that week.
That following Saturday, after being married for just two weeks, we touched up some wall paint, emptied our Arlington, Va., condo and made the trek to Augusta. We decided to move primarily for his career but also for the quality of our life. We want time and space to raise a family when that time comes, and those are two things that are hard to come by in the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area. I’m well aware that gainfully employed, resourceful and intelligent adults like us can thrive in that environment. However, we were in the midst of a transitional phase and up for an adventure that could simplify and enhance the quality of our life.
And an adventure it was!
The day after we made the drive from Arlington to Augusta, I saw my first palmetto bug, which is basically a fancy word for “cockroach” and then drove through downtown Augusta with high hopes that it would remind me of Old Town Alexandria.
Augusta: 2, Anna: 0
In disappointment, I sobbed while sitting in the parking lot at Jimmy John’s cursing my new city and home. Nate offered to go to great lengths to make it better. He even bought me a pretty desk, because he knows that office supplies are one way to my heart. However, I knew that, like most problems, there wouldn’t be a quick fix. The answer, instead, was time – time to give Augusta a fair chance.
So I chose to cope with culture shock in the only way I knew how; I got involved. Immediately after the move, I started working fulltime and found places to exercise, run and get my nails done – things that I enjoyed about my life in Arlington. Two other things that I loved but felt that were missing from Augusta were my career and my friends. I began valuing these at a young age (school instead of a career, of course), because they brought me stability through trauma I faced during my childhood and adolescence. I didn’t have either of those two things right away after the move, so it took me a while to see it as an upgrade. In fact, for a while, I felt cheated – not at all by my husband’s decision but by the decision that we made together.
On top of feeling homesick and even aimless and depressed, I felt immense guilt.
I’m married to the best person in the world, and we have a wonderful relationship and life, yet I’m still not fulfilled.
I struggled over why this wasn’t enough to make me happy until it hit me:
I need to cut myself some slack. Three life-altering things just happened to me at once. I got married, moved and changed jobs. Also, while Nate’s everything I dreamed of having in a husband and more, he can’t be “my everything,” “my whole world” or any of the other cheesy descriptions only seen in Instagram photo captions. That’s not real life. That’s just a lot of pressure to put on someone. We’re two healthy individuals, which is part of what makes us so great together.
It took undergoing some necessary changes within myself while Nate and I were dating, such as becoming assertive and losing weight, to realize that it’s
important IMPERATIVE to maintain a sense of individuality in my relationships.
Since my last post, I’ve turned the corner in my adjustment to life in Augusta. I’ve made a few quality friends and landed my dream job. In less than six months, Nate and I have built a life, and it will only continue to grow. I finally found what I came to Augusta hoping that I’d find.
I’m well on my way to livin’ well as a southern belle.