Five sweet, short, long, hard, crazy, wonderful years, and here we are.
We’re different than when we first met. Our goals have the same roots but have grown and changed just as we have. Our quirks and personalities, while still uniquely ours, have shifted over time. We’ve experienced pain and loss, just as we’ve experienced joy and grace.
I can’t say that life together has been everything we planned or expected. There’s no way we could imagine how we’d grow and change over time. We’ve taken on some incredible adventures and challenges I never would have dreamed we’d face. It is impossible to sum up all of the emotions and fun we have had. I cannot pretend it’s all been easy, but I also know it’s been more than worth it.
Five years ago we were two kids in love. Today, we’re still two kids in love, but somehow in an entirely different way.
This might be a favorite week for me. Just maybe. I will say, I certainly do like it. Ready for the short and sweet?
1. Go on an adventure. We all have routines, and there are reasons for routines. Good reasons. But sometimes you have to get out of that routine and go. It takes time and effort (not to mention, money), but it’s worth it from time to time. Make sure you set aside time and take an adventure. Or just take the opportunity as soon as you see it. Even if it just means taking the bus to try a new restaurant in the town you already live in, go on an adventure. Because tell me, when was the last time you did that? Does it make you a little scared? It might be time to just go.
2. Take risks. Adventures don’t come without risks. Risks don’t always lead to rewards. It might not all pay off, but you’ve got to take that chance sometimes. It is the only real way to grow and learn and explore.
3. Don’t take a photo of everything you see or do. Some memories are better left without a photo. You get to relive them in your memory without remembering how the camera wasn’t working the way you wanted or you missed a shot or the pose was wrong or simply that the photo doesn’t do it justice. So then don’t. Just take in the moment as it is.
Hello to the Thursday Three! It’s been a good week of lots of fun things. I’ll just go ahead and tell you that this will be a photo heavy post, but I’m alright with it. We’ve been showing off Raleigh to my youngest sister for the week, which is a great excuse to visit all of our favorite places in the area. All I can say is, YUM FUN.
1. You are never too old to try something new. Right before my sister arrived we decided to cash in one a Christmas gift card toward a local Art Bar. I’m much more of the writing type…I see things I like in art but when I go to replicate it…well, it doesn’t always go as planned. That said, we spent six plus hours painting away until our canvases looked like something we meant to make. Can you tell what it is?
This was the bonus 6″ x 8″ canvas the hubby painted while I finished up my masterpiece. It fits right in with the rest of our kitchen!
2. Christmas is still here in this household. Because both sisters were going to be in town this week and shipping is a total pain, we just decided to leave the tree and decorations up. At this point, it almost seems easier to keep it going year-round. Alas, we have a real tree and cannot make it last much longer. But who doesn’t love those twinkly lights on the tree?
3. There’s not enough time in a week to see all of our favorite places in Raleigh. I made a master list of all the things we’d go do and see and eat while my sister was here and we’ve only hit about half of them so far and sadly, she leaves tomorrow. Recently, I found a list of places to check out in Raleighand they really did include all of our favorites in case you are wondering what there is to do around here. I wouldn’t call Raleigh a tourist-y place, but we sure do like living here. It’s been really fun showing yet another family member all the reasons why we love it.
To wrap up this series on moving (at least for now), I wanted to make sure to touch on a very important part of the process–giving it time. Time to settle in, time to reflect, time to consider everything that just happened…even years later.
Part 6: Settle in and Reflect
The act of moving does not happen overnight. Maybe you got from point A to point B within one day of travel, but such an involved process takes time. Allow yourself time to get used to everything. Don’t strain to unpack everything right away. You will need to get used to your surroundings, from getting acquainted with the grocery store to discovering your new routine. It will take time to feel comfortable with it all. All the while, you will be trying to make new friends and likely be pushed outside of your comfort zone.
Keep busy, but not only with tasks and chores. Find time to take a walk around your neighborhood. Try a new coffee shop and visit a local attraction. Give yourself time to get to know your new community, even though you might feel like a tourist looking in. This will help you to better acclimate and come to love your new surroundings.
Since moving, I have found our favorite bakery, favorite pizza place, favorite coffee shop and have a running list of places I have yet to go to.
After a certain amount of time (6 months to a year and then again two years later), consider your decision to move. Was it the right one? Are you glad you moved? Is this where you want to stay for awhile? Do you want to go back? Allow yourself the opportunity to reflect on all you have done and learned in this time.
For me, Raleigh is the place to be. It’s perfectly surrounded by so much culture and activity in the Triangle, all while managing to be a few hours away from the beach. While pollen season was a new experience, I don’t miss the cold or the snow (which is increasingly apparent at this time of the year). My neighborhood has proven to be the perfect place to live, and I have made some great friends.
It’s been awhile since the last post on the moving process due to the 31 days project in October, but I’ve still got a few more steps to talk about. After our move from Iowa to North Carolina essentially on a whim, we got a lot of questions on what all went into the process and love hearing about the moving experiences of others. If you’re new to the series and feel like starting at the beginning, here’s Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.
Part 5: Follow through
The divide between steps four and five marks the difference between dreaming and doing. If you are going to move, then this requires actually moving before claiming a new home or state of residence. Granted, this can take months or even years, depending on the circumstances.
This part can be exhausting and stressful. It requires a lot of decisions, details and money. There are all sorts of tips and tricks you try to implement as you stuff boxes, pack the truck and drive off toward your new home.
To make it happen, we were constantly burning the midnight oil as we tried to finish up our obligations, make lasting memories and gain closure, all while seriously preparing to move halfway across the country.
To keep your sanity, here’s what I would recommend doing in the biggest stage of them all:
Make a list – there will be far too many details to keep straight and this will help you sleep a little better at night
Reduce your haul – have a garage sale, donate items or have your friends over to pass along anything you no longer need
Say goodbye – we invited everyone we knew to come over for one last barbeque at our house the day before we moved…some might find that crazy but it gave us some closure
Set a date – it has to happen and you will need a date to start sorting through the details of the moving truck and places to stay as you transition
Don’t rush into a housing decision – there are so many decisions to make and you might not be ready to finalize the place you want to live for the next several years, especially from afar. Consider short-term housing, a storage unit or extra trips beforehand to visit the area and confirm the right place to go.
Plan for leeway – the schedule might get thrown or your stress level might require a few extra take-out meals and chocolate so try to budget in as much extra time and money you can to alleviate some stress when something inevitably comes up
As a continuation of my series about moving, here’s a little lesson on breaking the news. If you missed earlier posts in the series you can check them out here: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
It all feels like a dream until you start telling people. It should feel like a dream for a little while. Dream away. Because once you start spreading the news, people will have questions and even more so, they will have comments. For instance, one friend told us we were crazy, to our faces and then walked away. Someone seemed to hardly find it interesting and kept talking about how good their soup was. Others were shocked and said very little, but some immediately celebrated with us and for us. We just never knew how someone would respond.
So, think through what your plan is and then tell people in stages, starting with those closest to you. I had talked about the desire to move for years, so to some it was not much of a surprise. For others, sharing the news about a move can seem monumental to those first hearing about it. It’s important to get some feedback along the way though, which is why it is helpful to share it with those you trust and love first. The more you share your plans and story, the more you will get a better idea of just what you are about to do means to you.
Further, don’t just think about what your plan is but have an actual plan. Without it, people will quickly tire of this “official” stage when you haven’t yet hit the “it’s really happening” stage.
Somewhat contrary to what I just said, here is the order in which my husband and I broke the news.
Landlord (our lease required a 60-day notice, but otherwise, he was not the closest person in our lives)
Close friends (limited details)
Close friends (extensive details)
Commitments (i.e. utility company, volunteer organizations, bands, book club)
The order of your list might be different but it is good to consider what your timeline will be based on your comfort and your responsibilities.
Have you had to break the news about a move? How did you do it and how did it go?
Based the questions I am often fielding about our move, I’ve written up a few parts of the moving process. You can start reading it wherever it is most helpful but if you’re particular about following the order, you can start with Part 1: Deciding to Move.
Part 2: Finding a Location
For some, this part of the process is dictated by outside factors. This may include a job offer, a family tie or something out of your control. If so, this part will look different. Finding a location will mean, finding a job or family tie or whatever it is that is calling you and then sorting out the details to make it a reality.
For me, I needed to sort through what I wanted in a place. Criteria can range from the size of the town to the weather in the winter.
The following contributed to our list of criteria:
Near geographic interest (i.e. mountains or ocean)
Warmer weather year-round
Bigger city than current location or nearby one
Within 20 minutes of a Target and within an hour of Trader Joe’s
Music and arts culture
Having criteria helps, but it does not automatically give you the answer. There were several cities that fit this description. For some, several options is a positive thing and can lead to more opportunities in the job search. For others, it can be difficult to plan without a narrowed search or a clear direction. Moving can be a complicated process with a lot of planning involved, so it’s best to go with what you are more comfortable with.
The final push for Raleigh came because of these key factors:
It showed up on similar “Best City for…” lists as Des Moines. Knowing we liked Des Moines helped us realize this would be something we would like.
Family would be three hours away, which we knew would be helpful
We had some familiarity with that region of the country, although limited knowledge of Raleigh itself