Well, I am headed into a week I was excitedly anticipating for some time but now as it’s finally here, I’m wanting time to slow down a bit. I’m currently in Indianapolis until Tuesday doing onboarding at the Hopebridge corporate offices. I’ll head back to Marion Wednesday through Friday and Friday night, I’ll take some of my stuff to South Bend. While I’m thrilled to be on my way out of the small town I’ve been in the past seven months, saying “goodbye” has been harder than I anticipated.
If you know me at all, you know I’m a sentimental sap who makes a big emotional deal about things coming to an end. I’ve always hated goodbyes, though. My extended family can vouch for that. Whenever we were at family gatherings in the mountains, my parents would have to give me twenty, ten, and five minute warnings before we left. I’m pretty sure I still had meltdowns whenever I had to say, “goodbye.” To be honest (and a bit cliche), “goodbye” is even harder for me to say after losing Mom. I realized we have a limited number of “hellos” and “goodbyes” with the people in our lives and there is always a tiny bit of fear that lingers in my “goodbye” hugs because of that. Anyways, the gist of all that is I get emotional when I have to say “see ya.”
Just about five months ago, I was counting down the damn days until I was out of this assignment. Back to California I’ll go, I thought to myself frequently. Where would it be? San Francisco? Did I want to maybe go to Boston? Raleigh? Hawaii? I had options and not one of them was Indiana. As the end of this initially four-month assignment approached, I found myself saying, Wait! I had barely built rapport with my kids. I’d be leaving them without another SLP. I wasn’t ready. I know it might sound silly, but it was truly this nagging feeling that said, You’re not done.
So I extended my assignment another three months, promising myself I’d ensure I got the most of this time. It was a tough time of solitude. Sure, I have wonderful coworkers, but living out of town came with its challenges. Well, Dani, what about making friends in the town you lived in? Great question! Simply and kindly put, Elwood is not the place to find friends. Options are limited in the 8,500 people who live in Elwood. It’s not the most “youthful” scene. So I dove into the solitude. I tried to find the why behind my staying longer.
I don’t love solitude. I didn’t always love my time and there were plenty of moments in which I was questioning why I stayed. Well, then I’d go to work on Monday and see my little nuggets and I’d remember. But personally I felt like I was stagnant. I felt like I wasn’t growing. It was frustrating because as a perfectionist all I want to do is improve. While this may sound silly, one day there was just this shift. It was a confidence in my choices that I hadn’t had before.
To be honest, I think it was me simply stopping trying to figure shit out. Now trust me, that is a hard thing for me to do. I am constantly looking to figure out what the best next step is. I want to make the right decision. I may have mentioned it before but one of my sweet friends asked me once, “What if there is no wrong path?” I couldn’t fathom that. In my mind there was always a right or wrong choice. Now I’m starting to realize that maybe it’s less about the path we’re on and more about what we’re doing on said path. The “right” path can quickly turn into the “wrong” one if we make it so.
Please, don’t get me wrong. I am still my hopeless romantic self. I do believe that certain paths lead us to careers, people, experiences and somehow feel divinely constructed. Like this time in Indiana for me. It led me to a job I don’t think I would’ve found otherwise. Some seemingly small decisions and adventures have led me to find some people that I now can’t imagine never meeting. So, I do cling to that “divine intervention” idea, just not as tightly. Don’t worry, though. I’ll still always believe in stars aligning for two people to meet and all that romance novel bullshit we all love so much.
Anyways, that felt like a side tangent. Where was I? Oh! Confidence in decisions. Yeah, yeah. This journey to Indiana (and now the journey of me staying in Indiana) has been one of confidence. I stopped seeking others approval for what was next. I stopped basing my next step on someone else and made the move I wanted, knowing it was the right one because wherever it led me, I’d do something awesome.
Had I gone somewhere besides a small town in Indiana, I don’t know I would have gotten back into writing on this blog. I know for a fact some pretty important people in my life right now wouldn’t have had the incredible opportunity to meet me. (Just kidding; please sense the sarcasm). I don’t know my heart would have healed and subsequently opened up more like it did during my time here. I do know I would’ve been a bit warmer had I gone somewhere else but beggars can’t be choosers, ya know?
Gosh, again this just feels like a bunch of word vomit I attempted to organize into a blog post. If I ever get to writing a book, let’s pray it ends up being more than just shittily organized word vomit. Yes, I just said “shittily”. No, it’s not a word; my computer is making sure I know it’s not a word but it feels like the only word that works here. Anyways, I digress once more.
I will not miss Elwood one bit. I can honestly say I probably will not be going back to visit at any point. Marion, that’s a different story. Don’t worry work family; you aren’t getting rid of me that easily. While I won’t miss Elwood, I’ll always look back fondly at this time and the shift it caused within me. It’s a place in which I found I was completely capable of leading a joyful life and the only person in the way of that was my inner critic. It’s a place I found how powerful pup snuggles on the floor can be. It’s the place I feel I found myself in a time of solitude. That damn small town will forever be a special place to me, even as I beam when I drive out of it for the last time.
Another rambling post and another tough time wrapping it up. I’ll leave it with this: Jeremiah 29:11 says God has damn good plans for us. Okay, I added the “damn” for emphasis. Anyways, God has plans and they are good. I think we have to have confidence in the next step in our lives that if we bring Him along on our path with us, the path is always going to be good. When we stop bringing Him along, that’s when we get lost. I don’t know if any of you have a hard time making big life decisions (or decisions about where to eat), but having that tucked in the back of my head whenever I have a choice in front of me has given me a confidence in my decisions I’ve never had before.
Ugh, that didn’t wrap it up as well as I wanted.
Be brave. Do cool stuff with your life. That’s all. Bye.
(I’ll work on my endings).