I’ve waited a long time (365 days) to get to this point. It’s true. The day I set foot on Florida soil with the intention of staying here, with pain in my heart over all I’d just left behind, which included my husband temporarily, I longed to just fast forward to the point in time when at least a year of distance was between me and the life I once knew. Now that I’ve finally reached that moment, I plan to bask in it.
I use this blog a lot to reflect, so let’s reflect on all that’s happened in the last 365 days. I’ve traded everything but my San Diego phone number for Florida equivalents. I’ve changed addresses on everything. I’ve had to construct new normalcy, from who I go to for hair and nails to the car I drive. I’ve walked blindly into storms to come out the other side a little tougher. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown a lot. I’ve changed…a lot.
That change hasn’t happened easily or all at once. When you move to a strange place you’re not acquainted with, you can decide to keep holding on to the way things were with clenched knuckles, or you can just allow the tidal wave of change to wash you up with the hope that you’ll dry off and stand firmly on the warm sand afterwards. For the first six months, I was holding on. Oh man was I holding on. I was even plotting for ways to go back to California – I could ask for my job back, I could move in with Katelyn for a bit while I looked for a place for us, I could have my parents kick the tenants out of their house and just go live there – my mind was fixated on simply reversing the change I’d set in motion. I wanted things to be exactly as they were before, but they couldn’t be. There’s no way the two worlds could ever mesh – life in California is nothing like life in Florida.
Then, after my heart and mind finally got the memo that even though they were made in California they weren’t there anymore, I started to let go and let new things in. I started with a new form of fitness at a pole studio, I began guest writing for a popular mom website, I took my employer up on their offer for a free education, I embraced my new role as a work at home mom, I put my focus into supporting my family, and I returned my gaze to the Bible and God. Every time I missed my friends and family, I replaced my thoughts of nostalgia with ones of joy at the thought of my mother and father being a short car ride away. Each time I missed a familiar old restaurant, I invited my husband out to try a new one here in town. (The restaurant game in The ‘Ville isn’t nearly as on point as it was in Daygo)
Then, slowly, I started letting other people in. I have great friends in California whom I miss daily, but I also have a few great friends in Florida who have helped me to adjust to life out here. I’ve gotten reacquainted with my parents both through living with them and living closer to them. I always talk of the move as something I needed for my soul because I needed my parents back in my life. My parents needed me too. They aren’t that old and are in good health, but I now see how much my parents benefit from having their grandchild, myself, and my husband close by. Bringing Kennedy closer to her grandparents was at the heart of this move, and I’m so, so glad Fabian and I made the choice to do that.
It’s always natural to do comparisons at milestones like this, but comparing who I was 365 days ago to who I am today is sort of like comparing Law and Order SVU to Law and Order Criminal Intent. They’re cut from the same cloth, but sewn with completely different purposes. It should be a goal for everyone to be happy with themselves at any given snapshot in time – we are always striving for goals that we haven’t reached yet, but the fact that we’re making strides in the direction of our goals is what helps us to feel okay about where we sit. California Antoinette definitely worked hard and accomplished a LOT, but Florida Antoinette is accomplishing much more. Great things never came from comfort zones, and SoCal was my comfort zone. I’m glad I stepped out. It’ll always be a safe and happy place for me, but there’s so much more for me that SoCal can’t make way for.
My new normal is here. I do not wish to go back. If you would’ve asked me one year ago if I wanted to return to San Diego, my answer would’ve been a resounding “HELL YES! Give me the beach and my taco shops and mild weather.” I’ve asked myself that question 8 times today, and all 8 times, the answer was “No. While the sunshine and beaches are beautiful, the Mexican food delicious, and the weather perfect…family, opportunity, and closeness mean more. Besides, have you seen St. Augustine in spring time?!”
Home is where your heart is, and my heart is here. ❤