I read something recently, a quote or sentiment of sorts that basically stated instead of searching for who we are; we should simply create who want to be. This struck a chord in my heart. When I was young (early teens) I believed that moving to another place would solve all my problems. If only I had gone to boarding school out East, if only I could go to New York City for college, if only I could work in San Francisco or Boston…then life would be perfect. I learned quickly after high school that location had little to do with the life I was living or the outlook I had on it. Physical location, I learned, just became the distance I was from people I loved. It didn’t change my optimism or my trials. It only taught me who has always mattered and who never really did.
It’s that idea of the grass being greener on the wealthier, coastal sides of the United States that I have carried with me far, far too long in my young life.
After getting a three year taste of the city life, I won’t deny I am passionately in love with the hustle and bustle and the skylines. It’s everything I never grew up with and the city of Minneapolis was everything I’d always hoped and more. But getting plucked up from that life and dropped in a relatively small city in Alaska has been humbling. It’s reminded me about the years I spent yearning for somewhere else instead of enjoying the opportunities I had in the backwoods of Northern Minnesota.
I spent far too many years searching for a new place (and a new me), when I should have spent it accepting who I was and creating who I wanted to become.
Now, as I have conversations with my husband about where we want to go next and where we’ll end up for good (if that’s even an option for us nomads) I am once again reminded that I shouldn’t spend my time in Alaska dreaming of the next place, and instead creating the person I am in this moment.
I am a small town girl who loves cities. I enjoy shooting guns and going to concerts of bands I’ve never heard of at small venues downtown. I don’t wear camouflage or cowboy boots, but I rarely dress up either (jeans & t-shirts all day, every day). I don’t need to search for whether I belong in a city or the country. I’ve created a life where I can identify with and love both. I’m still learning that the grass isn’t always greener, and that what the coasts may have in glamour they sometimes lose in kindness. I’m learning what matters. It’s a slow process, but I’m still young.
My life of late according to some photos on my phone
“Picture yourself when you were five. in fact, dig out a photo of little you at that time and tape it to your mirror. How would you treat her, love her, feed her? How would you nurture her if you were the mother of little you? I bet you would protect her fiercely while giving her space to spread her itty-bitty wings. she’d get naps, healthy food, imagination time, and adventures into the wild. If playground bullies hurt her feelings, you’d hug her tears away and give her perspective. When tantrums or meltdowns turned her into a poltergeist, you’d demand a loving time-out in the naughty chair. From this day forward I want you to extend that same compassion to your adult self.”
– Kris Carr