What a month it has been! June may have been the most hectic month of my entire life, and that is combined with some pretty dramatic transitions. I am currently sipping my morning coffee while sitting on my balcony in Nashville, TN and really can't believe this is my new reality. I LIVE here. For christ's sake, I say "ya'll" now!! If you would've asked me about my future plans 5-10 years ago, this move would have NEVER even crossed my mind. But that is what life does, it changes. And honestly, the change hasn't always been easy or expected, but it brought me exactly where I believe I am meant to be. I haven't experienced that feeling of belonging in one place yet.. everywhere I have lived I was itching for something more. (I've always related really well to that Sugarland song, There's Gotta Be Something More). But leaving your comfort zone and moving to a new city by yourself brings an undeniable sense of freedom, wonder, hope, and motivation to succeed. Of course, there are also feelings of loneliness and fear of failure that creep in now and again, but being surrounded by an abundance of new scenery, new opportunities and new faces, keeps the excitement level sky high. It really makes you feel like anything is possible.
I decided to move from California to Tennessee when I was accepted into a beautiful nursing school in Nashville. I really didn't think I was going to make the cut so I had numerous other cities lined up as backup options, but I had no idea where I was supposed to choose. I remember praying over and over for a sign, some hint of direction of where I was meant to be next. I knew I would be fine anywhere but I wanted to it to be somewhere where I would be really happy. But how do you know where you will be happy when you've never lived there before and unfortunately can't see the future? I really struggled with this unknown answer of where I wanted to go next, until I received a generous scholarship that made everything clear. It was from Belmont University in Nashville, and I knew that was the sign I was waiting for. I accepted the offer within minutes.
As I prepared for my move to the south, it was a very bittersweet time period. Part of me was extremely excited to fly to new beginnings, and leave behind all the pain and bitter chapters that seemed to suffocate me in such a small town. But the other part of me didn't want to leave behind my dearest friends and my family. I felt a sense of guilt because I knew I would miss out on so many of their milestones, and it killed me to think they could adjust to no longer needing me. Well, they are the one thing in my life I have ever needed, so my next plan is convincing them to move out here. (They all rolled their eyes when I mentioned it, so that one is going to take a little more work...)
As I made the most of my last month home, I started planning my roadtrip across the states. I have always loved driving and thrive on independence so I was more than ready to do the trip by myself. I was telling this to my 80-year-old grandfather at my goodbye party when he literally yelled, "why the hell didn't you invite me, woman?!" I thought about it for a second and the medical professional in me immediately thought, his body is too old for that and his heart is a little weak and if something were to happen, I would feel completely responsible for it. But he insisted on going with me, and it started to seem like the best idea I never considered.
Well, it was. We made a full vacation out of it and stopped at just about every dive bar and tourist destination in every state. We crashed cheap and not-so-cheap hotels, we worked out at random gyms, we shopped for antique treasures, we yelled at bad drivers, I told him to put his hearing aids in a million times, he told me I 'eat like a lawnmower on dry grass' and I laughed until I cried, we sang "On the Road Again" by Wille Nelson at the top of our lungs, we drank margaritas until we were the last ones in the restaurant, we shared our best kept secrets, and we became really good friends. When we finally made it to Nashville, and he helped me move everything in, I realized there was no better person that I could have taken with me on that trip. He was the perfect companion. So if you are reading this and you still have grandparents alive, take them on a roadtrip, anywhere. I can assure you, you will not regret or forget it.
Cheers to new beginnings!