Today my North Carolina plates arrived in the mail. I’m a North Carolinian.
In some ways I feel like I’ve been here forever. Then I look at the calendar and realize I’m just barely four months into this new chapter. A lot can happen in four months.
I traded in my Benz and 4 inch heels for my Subaru and Chaco’s! I learned that the French Broad River actually has some class IV rapids, and I had an amazing time rafting. I’ve got the Blue Ridge Parkway in my backyard, basically. I’ve developed some “go to” places and favorite hangout spots. I’m loving The Orange Peel and awesome concert lineup. The NC DMV is exponentially worse than Arizona and Washington, DC combined. It storms almost every afternoon here, seriously. Mama and Daddy are only a two and half hour car ride away. REI is two miles away, and there’s a plethora of quality coffee shops and used bookstores around here. The Biltmore Annual pass is totally worth the money. The Asheville Meet-Up groups are lacking. Things could be much worse, even for a millennial like myself.
Asheville hasn’t exactly welcomed me with open arms, but my own piss poor attitude has largely been the problem. I consciously made the decision to uproot my life. After a lot of self-reflection the last couple weeks I have finally started to own that decision.
After losing my Uncle Ben last November, I knew I had to be closer to family. His death was the most painful experience of my life. It changed me. It solidified my decision on Asheville. I wanted to be here and now here I am. I made it happen, and landed exactly the type of career I had been pining for the last two years. I tend to form very emotional attachments to places, and I’m probably too sentimental for my own good. I’ve been playing the victim too much lately thinking why do these things keep happening to me? That’s a slippery slope. Before you know it, you’re snowballing into a spiral of self-doubt and your friends will run out of helpful cliches to tell you. Things happen, good and bad, and sometimes completely out of our control. But I’m the author of my own life story, so I better make it a good one. Surely there’s gotta be some lighter chapters on the horizon.
A pinterest-worthy quote in itself it not going to completely change your attitude. About a week ago I had a little epiphany and decided to focus on myself and embrace the journey, it felt like hitting the “reset” button on my entire outlook. I’ve made a really good friend here. The last few weeks I’ve had another old friend come back into my life, which has been a breath of fresh air. And by simply doing things I enjoy, I’ve crossed paths with a few new interesting folks who I’m genuinely excited to get to know. I’ve been trying new things. Turns out, I really freaking enjoy trail running, not to mention it torches calories (which is great, given my craft beer intake). I had always enjoyed hiking, but trail running was totally different than running on a treadmill or pavement. I wasn’t worried about my pace or time. I wasn’t thinking about stopping for traffic or getting clipped by an SUV. It was just me and the woods and the fresh mountain air. It was invigorating and incredibly refreshing. I wasn’t even bothered by the tick that latched onto my ankle for a few hours.
We recapture little pieces of ourselves when we travel. Even though Asheville is slowly but surely growing on me, I find myself incredibly excited about my upcoming trips. I feel most alive when I am exploring a new places and meeting new people. Sometimes you gotta get lost in order to find yourself. I tend to befriend people very easily while traveling. Fortunately, my job requires a bit of travel to really cool places, so I get to take some fun side trips, or stay a few extra days and explore on my own. Just today I bought a ticket for The Head and the Heart in Portland, Maine for this September. Because why not? Life is too short not to see your favorite bands perform live.
I’ve noticed the last few days that I’ll catch myself thinking, “well, the next place I move to…..” and it makes me wonder. Am I going to just be a nomad now? I’m not where I thought I’d be at age 28 (….almost 29). Now days, the thought of hiking the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu sounds way more exciting than worrying about a mortgage payment. This is the part where I remind myself things happen for a reason.
The capricorn in me likes to control every aspect of my life. I thrive on planning everything and being in the driver’s seat. The problem is that the best laid plans usually go to hell in a hand basket. I tend to fall apart when the plan doesn’t work out. Things happen, that’s all they ever do. Lately I have to remind myself to let things be. I can’t fix everything by baking cookies or saying the right thing or wearing the cutest dress. That’s not to say I am passively living my life, but we can only control so much. The part about life that I struggle with, is that sometimes you can do everything right. You can try your hardest and give it your best. You can put your entire heart into something, but sometimes you still lose. Clear eyes, full heart, but you still lose. The challenge is to not become cynical and bitter at age 28. There’s peak and valleys; literally and metaphorically. I do live in the mountains, after all.
Until next time, y’all. 🙂
“The universe, I’d learned, was never ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back.” -Cheryl Strayed