Exactly a month ago we packed up our car with suitcases, an air mattress, and the odds and ends that didn't make it on to the moving truck, locked up our Denver home for the last time, and drove away... without turning back once. At the time, we were so exhausted from packing and cleaning, and so anxious to start our drive to Santa Fe, we didn't think about glancing back at the place we called home for four years. At the time, we were so excited about the next chapter of our lives, we didn't feel the need to look back on the last one. And at the time, we felt peace in our hearts about the long goodbyes we said to the friends and familiar places that filled our lives in Colorado. We were at peace with, and truly in awe of, the changes we were making and the perfect timing of a plan greater than we could have ever imagined.
Now, a month later, we are just starting to accept that same peace as a cornerstone of our new lives in California. After six years of seemingly constant physical, emotional, and mental chaos, the peace that surrounds us now is strange and surreal. I have struggled to find the right words to describe how this change feels and have come to the conclusion that I may not have any yet, if they even exist. It's a delicate task, describing something new and refreshing, without sounding bitter towards the past. Sometimes things aren't better, just different... and sometimes, they truly, simply, are better and that is where the tricky part begins.
Life in Colorado never came easy for us, but commitments and schedules kept us there and kept us struggling to make the most of every day. We pushed ourselves to constantly try new things, to be perpetually busy, to maintain an interesting, urban lifestyle that at least made us appear "Facebook-cool". On the outside, we lived in one of the most desirable destinations and pulled off the "dink" thing flawlessly. On the inside, we were hollow, tired, fragile, and angry at ourselves for not finding happiness despite all we had. Although we both knew what we had been through (and how minuscule the statistic is for marital survival) and the ups-and-downs of taking risks, moving to a new place, and uprooting and re-building (...and re-building...) our entire lives from scratch, we didn't feel we had a good enough excuse to justify our discontent.
While we always knew we wanted a change, and as the years passed it seemed inevitable, it didn't seem plausible or practical with our abundance of long-term obligations and debt. Houses are hard to sell, good jobs are nearly impossible to find, moves are expensive, rental options are obscure, and a small caravan of critters didn't make any of these changes any easier. There were a dozen reasons why we didn't think "now" was the right time for any of this, and yet here we are, staring out the window of our new home, inhaling foggy ocean air, soaking up every second of the sunset over the hills, in absolute awe of our new lives we never could have pictured just weeks ago.