"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." -Charles Darwin Change. The past 6 months of 2012 have all been about change.
We left for Austin Tuesday night. Excited & full of adrenaline over FINALLY being able to enter this new season of our lives, we drove close to 900 miles.
We made it all the way to Nashville without any major meltdowns from the kids, or heavy traffic. We found a pretty decent hotel to rest in for the night, giving the boys their first hotel experience. They LOVED it, jumping on the beds, begging to ride the elevators repeatedly, explore the lobby & pick up swag from the gift shop.
Changes. New beginnings.
When Bertski & I sat down to talk over pancakes & coffee on that cloudy Thursday back in April, we talked a lot about change, and realized we shared a desire for it and a sense that it was on the way. We both felt stagnant...stuck...tapped out and feeling like we needed a change of scenery.
Since I had just visited Austin and fallen in love with it, and it's a place Bertski's always wanted to visit, it seemed like the most logical choice for a fresh start & a good city for us to raise the boys in, with its laid back vibe being a welcome respite from the fast & frantic grind of the northeast.
With the decision to relocate came other major decisions.
We traded in both cars & purchased our first minivan, a symbol of our commitment to being & building a family. It was also a symbol of the end of Bertski's batchelorhood....something he embraced with open arms & a bottle of Merlot. :)
We both made a commitment to live our lives again instead of just survive them. The roller coaster & trials of the past 3 years took a heavy toll on us and had us both living in survival mode, forcing us to abandon things we're passionate about. For Bertski that's pursuing a career in neuroscience, artificial intelligence & robotics; thus scaling back on his work in the IT sector.
For myself, while I thought my passion was for school & pursuing a degree in counseling & a certification in dance movement therapy, I started realizing this year that what I truly have a passion for is helping people and writing...being creative in general. I also realized that while I enjoy academics, the stress & pressure of a full-time course load were just too much for me, mostly because of my illness. This year I found college very triggering for me. I had two severe manic episodes and 3 pretty dark depressions that had me contemplating suicide. Sure I was growing & my mind was expanding, which I loved, but it was starting to take a toll on my mental health & ability to be engaged with the boys. I wanted to quit but was scared doing so meant I was failing myself & more importantly, the boys. Besides, if I wasn't in school, what would I do? My disability from the VA wouldn't be enough to live on...As a single parent I couldn't afford not to work, but without a degree my chances of getting a good enough job with benefits able to sustain us was slim...and while Medicaid & food stamps were a huge help, I didn't want to have to rely on them as our only means of being able to make it from month to month. But then Bertski & I got back together and suddenly I wasn't on my own anymore...and then something my social work professor said during class one day helped me make my decision. "Some of you," he said, " will get your degrees, your credentials & be great social workers, counselors, and be able to make a significant difference in people's lives. But some of you won't have to have the degree & credentials to do that-your life experience and desire to serve & help others will be enough to make as much of an impact." That hit me hard, and I spent the rest of that class realizing what he said was true. I decided that day that I was taking a break from school.
I've decided instead to do something I haven't been able to in 6 years: stay home with the boys...and pursue my desires to focus on writing & volunteering. If I'm going to be out of the house I'd like to spend my time volunteering at a crisis center, working a suicide prevention hotline, mediating a support group for others with BP, or helping veterans. I'd like to finish my book, explore my love for painting, and get back into dancing. I also want to give myself time to have more periods of stability & fewer manic & depressive episodes.
So...I feel as though I spent my 20's gaining my independence (military), becoming a mother, healing from my abuse, and finding myself...now that I'm turning 30 in a few months, I just want to take some time to take care of & enjoy the person who's emerged from the ashes of the past few years...and enjoy my family.
We both know that making these changes include a certain amount of risk and that it won't be easy starting over and changing our approach to life...choosing to live life instead of just surviving it (especially in a new city) is a huge leap of faith for us, but a choice we're hoping brings us a lot of reward.
I'll post later this week/weekend about what makes me nervous & even a little fearful about all of these changes...until then, tell me about the last BIG change or transition you & your family made.