The feelings began swirling a few years ago, like the currents in an angry sea. A storm was brewing and the swells inside me were unpredictable and often indescribable. I am 42 years old. I have a beautiful, healthy family. I have a community of friends whom I love and cherish. I am proud of them. Proud of what I have made over the years. Creating a great community of friends takes years of commitment and dedication and then the rewards are endless.
My parents, my sister and brother-in-law and niece and nephew all live near me, which means my kids are always around their grandparents and cousins. Priceless. My kids go to a small school where everyone – literally everyone – knows who they are and loves them because of their unique spirit, despite their faults. Their idiosyncrasies are appreciated here.
But the feelings wouldn’t go away. Something inside of me felt unsettled. I was yearning for something different to do with my life, but I felt like I couldn’t leave. Community, friends, and family are a strong thread that holds us all together and I didn’t know how to break that thread and fly free through the world, or if I even wanted to. That is scary. The past 10 years have been very scary for me being pregnant with triplets and raising four kids, and I don’t know how much more scary I wanted to put myself through when I was finally feeling comfortable.
That is the funny thing about life, though. Sometimes right when you get to that comfortable place, you need to move toward that fear again. That is how we grow, after all.
In October we remodeled our entire house. We created the kitchen of our dreams: quartzite countertops that swirled in greens and blues like the ocean. White marble subway backsplash. Modern fixtures and hardware. It was glorious. We repainted every room in our house, transforming the Tuscan, French Country interiors into a new bright white modern look. It was everything. But it wasn’t enough. The unhappiness of feeling like a needed a change was the undercurrent of my life.
In January, my best friend Sarah and I took a trip to Los Angeles to see Mumford play at the Greek Theater. We decided to get a cute hotel near the beach in Santa Monica. For four days we rented beach cruisers and rode from Santa Monica through Venice Beach. The pot wafted by us as we sped across the boardwalk. We stopped and took selfies in front of the eclectic shops in Venice. We rode past muscle beach and admired the men and their six packs. It was 75 degrees every day, and everywhere we looked people were fit and happy and living an active outdoor life. Sometimes we would just sit on the beach and stare at the ocean for minutes that turned into hours.
When it was time to go back home on Sunday I had a sinking feeling in my heart. I could barely speak. I felt sad, but it wasn’t all about the sadness you get when your vacation is up. It was deeper than that. It was a regret that I didn’t live in a place like Santa Monica. I wanted to feel alive by the beach.
I went home and life resumed as normal. Because every day isn’t a relaxing day at the beach. This I know.
As March approached, I realized that the kids had a four-day weekend and I knew I didn’t want to spend it at home. I planned a weekend to go up to Truckee and stay at my Uncle’s cabin. We would sled and ice skate and ski. But Chris told me he had a conference in San Diego those four days. Perfect, I said. We will all come along.
Chris booked a room at Loews Coronado. This would be the first time I would be back in San Diego for nine years. We had been all over the world in the past nine years, but we never went to San Diego. I knew in my soul that this was done intentionally. I knew that if I ever went to San Diego with the family I would want to move back there, and that just wasn’t possible. Why put myself through the anguish?
Chris had flown to San Diego a day before us and I was stuck driving all the luggage, four kids, and a dog down there by myself. I timed the drive like an idiot, having us hit LA right at rush hour. By the time we got to Carlsbad it was 8 pm. I pulled up to the beach to let the kids and dog out to stretch their legs. It was completely dark. We were alone on the beach with the smell of the salty air and the sound of the waves. The kids ran along the sand screaming in bliss. Lulu the dog ran back and forth, flinging up sand all around her. I felt a rush of something magical come over me. I breathed in and I breathed out, the mist from the ocean filling my lungs. That is the exact moment that I knew I needed to move back. It took all of 10 seconds being in Carlsbad that night with my family to know I needed to break the thread. I didn’t know how I would do it, but I knew needed to.
Part 3, coming soon. Hopefully more quickly than Part 2.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.