Two weeks ago, Nate and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Celebrating our first year of marriage felt like such an accomplishment, not because being married to him has been hard work; being married to him has simplified and enhanced my life in every way. Instead, it felt like an accomplishment, because of what all it entailed – the most pivotal event being our move to Augusta, Ga., two weeks after our wedding.
And one year ago today.
I love birthdays, anniversaries and other milestones, because they provide the perfect opportunity to reflect on and recognize not only life’s blessings but also celebrate who we are. I’m doing a little bit of that today as I remember how I felt a year ago and think about everything that Nate and I have accomplished since then.
We left for our honeymoon Monday, April 14, 2014, and returned to Arlington Sunday, April 20. The week between our honeymoon and leaving for Augusta Saturday, April 26 was a full one.
I spent the days working and packing up my office in Bethesda, Md., in preparation to telecommute for the next couple of months starting Monday, April 28. I spent the evenings packing up all of our personal belongings and saying “see you later” to our friends, a few of whom helped me with packing.
During that week, Nate, who had been on terminal leave from his job in the Navy since April 1, delivered two truck loads to our new home. Some of his evenings were spent driving, and others were spent sleeping on the floor of the new house before he turned around to come back to Arlington to pick up another load. As the week progressed and items went from closets and shelves to boxes and as boxes vanished, I started to feel lonely and sad – not because I was no longer surrounded by things but because of what an empty condo symbolized to me:
Nate returned that Friday from dropping off his second load. We spent that evening touching up walls surrounding areas that our furniture covered, because our condo was still on the market and had been for a month and a half. We went to bed in preparation for a day of driving and unpacking. We woke up to sunshine, which made for perfect driving weather, but all I wanted to do was have a “normal” Saturday – go to my 9 a.m. cycing class or go for a long run, get a mani/pedi, meet a friend for lunch and shopping, and then enjoy an evening out with friends.
Instead, I spent the day driving to a home and city where I’ve never been.
A low point during the trip was driving down I-81, through the Shenandoah Valley, past the exit to our wedding venue where we had been married just two weeks prior. I so badly wanted to be transported back to that day not because I wanted to be a bride again but because I realized that our best shot at getting all of our favorite people into one room had come and gone.
The next day, Nate drove me around Augusta. When he flew down for his interview in the end of February, just two months prior, I asked him to describe what he saw. He described the downtown area as “cute” or “quaint.” Images of Old Town Alexandria, which was just a short drive from our condo in Arlington, Va., as well as Charleston, S.C., – two of the most beautiful (and wealthy) cities in the United States – flashed through my head. So, when Nate drove me through downtown Augusta via Calhoun Expressway and Greene Street, I ugly cried.
And this continued all day.
And for the next few months.
I’ve always been a pretty adaptable, well-adjusted person, but change brings on a lot of anxiety for me. My adult years have brought a lot of stability into my life that I didn’t have during my childhood or adolescence. Since establishing that stability, I’ve always feared that change will shake that up … because it does.
Something that I’ve learned throughout this move is that keeping an open heart and an open mind is essential to happiness.
Without these experiences, I wouldn’t have met the people I have or be happy enough to plant some roots and buy my first home.
I’m living the life I’ve imagined.
I remember sitting at my desk in my home office shortly after the move, during my month and a half of telecommuting, wondering how I’d ever make friends. To go from that to enjoying tacos and homemade sangria with friends while wearing yoga pants last night is nothing short of a blessing.
In three days, we’ll be celebrating Charmed Wellness’ first birthday, and I look forward to reflecting on its first year. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all the love and support you’ve shown to me through this blog on the somewhat bumpy but scenic route to livin’ well as a southern belle.