As mentioned in this previous post, while my move has been good to me (and I know a thing or two about settling in somewhere new), sometimes it's still hard.
December was a homesick month for me. While I tend to refer to "the move" as the defining event that shook everything up, the truth is, I'd been moving fast for over a year. Speed had kept me busy. So when December rolled around and things slowed down — the move into my apartment complete, my feet under me at work, daily and weekly rhythms steadied — I think I just finally had space and time to feel it all a little more.
I've been playing this really interesting psychology game with myself where I only refer to McKinney as home to try and train myself to think of it that way. Despite this very scientific I am sure approach to things, I hit a wall one day and called a mentor and friend of mine from the Starbucks drive-through line.
She listened patiently as I rattled off my symptoms before finally breaking in.
"Oh, so you're just homesick!" she said cheerfully. "I thought when you texted me about calling that something was wrong."
"But I can't be homesick, Susan," I wailed. "This IS home now!"
"You can have two homes!" she announced.
With permission to throw my pyschology games out the window, I decided on the spot that I would come home not just for Christmas, but the weekend before. And I did.
I drove to Katy on December 15, back to McKinney on December 17, and then back to Katy on December 21. I had considered being in the Dallas area for New Year's, and instead, I stayed in H-Town straight through January 2. And the very next weekend (just this past one), I took I-35 to Dripping Springs and met up with a Houston-turned-Austin friend I didn't get to see at all over the break and a Houston friend I didn't get to see enough of. That advice I gave you guys about staying in your new home as much as possible? Literally took that and shoved it off the nearest cliff. For basically a month, I did the exact opposite of that thing.
And you know what? It filled my soul.
I soaked up time with my family. I drank a lot of coffee with dear friends. I witnessed the University of Texas' first bowl win in five years hallelujah, thank you and hook 'em. I went hunting and got to just be outside for an entire day. Magic. AND I got my first deer. AND was introduced to ordering my Chick-fil-a fries well done. All in the same 24 hours. Perhaps my best day yet.
I hiked my favorite state park. I read a couple books. I ran my favorite trail and spent a lot of time with Jesus and took many, many naps.
I've been trying to put into words just what my time at home — which, ironically enough, the Houston area has become — gave me that I needed so bad.
A lot of things, for sure, but the main one is this: I just got to be off.
A new job, new place, and new people generally require you to be "on" at some level. Not in a disingenuous way, of course; but establishing yourself means putting your best foot forward. It was a relief to go home and be with people who already know me and already love me. People I don't have to put on makeup for or worry about whether or not my jokes are funny or keep conversation going with in the car. I got to flip a switch and just be off.
Wherever you are and whatever season you're in, I highly recommend getting somewhere you can exhale — body and soul. Off.