In the last month, Athena and I drove 52 hours across the continent to the open, loving arms of our family and friends in Nova Scotia, Canada and then another 52 hours to return to a familiar place but with a new outlook on life. Most of you already know by now that Athena and I are starting a new adventure on our own, but we’ve decided to do it from southern California. It has become our home. We are happiest near the ocean, in the sunshine, and surrounded by all the possibilities that SoCal offers. I’m not ready to give up on our beautiful life in California just yet.
This is where we stand. We moved into an apartment in Aliso Viejo. Thankfully, we lived here before and we love the office managers, the central location, and the amenities. They all come at a price though so money is tight and we’ve become much more attuned to how expensive it is to live in this area. We spend most days at the pool, in the town center, at the bookstore, or playing at the park. It all sounds like a dream life but it’s actually stressful and petrifying. Why? Because there needs to be life after this and it’s all new and different.
Our house was tiny and had a sliver of a backyard but I made it my home. I poured my heart and soul into making furniture and painting and crafting to have a dream house. I made tables and dressers. I painted chairs, desks, nightstands, coffee tables, and art. I scoured craigslist for the perfect pieces that I could re-finish and call my own. I searched Pinterest for projects and additions and spent my time making them unique. From the beachy grey floors to the two story ceilings, I loved it all and everything in between. It was put on the market and sold and I had to walk into a place that I called home, divide the stuff, and put it into boxes like everything in my life was movable. Most times, I just wanted to smash it all or burn it or break it, but there is no running away when you have a child and those things that infuriated me at the time are needed in my life. I’m not going to buy it all again because it, like me, didn’t fit into the marriage box.
I need to find a job after being out of the typical 9-5 workforce for the last six years. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Education degree but both are pretty useless since teaching isn’t an option for me in the US. I’m comfortable in this area and have friends that I consider family. I would like Athena to continue having both parents in her life, which also keeps me in a certain radius. It all limits the job opportunities substantially. Add the fact that I’m a Canadian to the mix and the jobs are getting less likely by the minute.
Then comes the reality of loneliness. I’ve never been very good at being alone. I grew up in a huge family and there were always lots of people around. I’m never truly alone because I have Athena, but I’d eventually like to have a life-lasting partner. How do people go from being married and having that “I’m married” mindset to being single? I don’t feel overwhelmed until I’m home alone on a Friday or Saturday night and the emptiness finds its way to the tiny crevices in my brain. Is this my life for the foreseeable future? Alone every other weekend and every other holiday.
The thought of just leaving and traveling around the world with Athena crossed my mind. I still consider waking up tomorrow, packing a small bag for us both, and getting an Uber to the airport. I could figure it out from there. I’ve become very resourceful. I don’t want to run away from my life to travel though. Travel has always been one of the best parts of my life, but it was because I was in a happy place while I was doing it. I don’t want to do it as an escape.
Most days, I’m confident in my ability to bring it all together and figure out the best life possible for both Athena and myself. I have accomplished amazing feats in my life and overcome my deepest, darkest fears. I got this! I am passionate, driven, strong, and capable of succeed in the most difficult situations. With time, this one will become a walk in the park.
One foot in front of the other and one step at a time. I will be me again but a better version because I will be more knowledgeable than before. I will be more capable than before. I will be stronger than before.