Gosh, even just typing out the title of this post freaks me out. Twenty-eight? How the heck is that possible? Something about that number just feels so much older, and so close to thirty, and like maybe I should have my life together a little (or a lot) more than I currently do, ya know? Which is why it's so ironic that I am here to share some exciting, scary, and all around bittersweet news, because it all feels a little haphazard and crazy and like I don't have anything together at all. but hey, I know God loves to move in that space. So here it is:
Yep, it's true! After four wonderful years of living in Nashville, I am getting ready move to move back to where I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. But I want you to know that I am not moving for a new job or career opportunity. I am heading back to California namely to be closer to family for a few months, and also to start planning for my next big adventure. And let me say, I think that the word "adventure" often tends to elicit feelings of excitement, awe, and wanderlust, and while I feel these things from time to time, I'm also in the middle of some of the less glamorous feelings of sadness, fear, and anxiety. There is a lot of risk involved in this next season, but I also have the strongest sense that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to do.
Let me backtrack: during the almost two years that I was working through my debt snowball (aka paying off all of my consumer debt), I told myself that my reward at the end of that journey would be a two-week trip to Europe. But about 18 months ago, I started getting the feeling that it was going to be longer than those few weeks I had planned, which at the time made zero sense to me. I mean, my job only allowed for three weeks of vacation per year, so more than two weeks wasn't really a feasible thing. And while the idea of traveling around Europe for an extended period of time sounded awesome, it just didn't line up, so in true Gennean fashion, I ignored it. I stuffed that thought down and went about my 70 hour work weeks like it was my job (oh wait...). I kept saying yes to work to make the money to pay off the debt... and then I burned out, and it was ugly. Right about the time I was burning out last summer, I was getting ready for yearly trip home to see my friends and family. Once I had run the circuit up in the Sacramento area, I made my way down to the Bay to spend some time with my spiritual mentors. When they asked me how everything was going — work, friends, family, Nashville in general, etc. — I broke down in tears, partly due to exhaustion, and partly because that nagging thought about Europe had not gone away. It kept popping up in the most random of places, ruining my days because it just continued to not make any sense:
"Me, travel Europe? For like, months? What? How? That's crazy. it's irresponsible. It doesn't make sense."
So, again in true Gennean fashion, in the midst of my emotional break down (for real, it was a mess), I blurted out for the first time to another human being all that was going on in my head and my heart. I made excuses, I justified why it was a stupid idea, and then waited for heads to nod along with me. Instead, though, I heard, "Well first, it's really not that crazy. You're single, in your twenties, and will have no debt. And second, remember when you felt like you were supposed to move to Nashville?" *nodding my head* "Remember when you said it felt crazy, irresponsible, and didn't make sense?" *crap. yes.* "And looking back now, you stepped out in faith and didn't everything work out? Didn't God provide for you? Haven't you learned and grown in ways you couldn't have imagined?" WELL SHOOT DANG, they were absolutely right.
That was four years ago now, when I felt deep in my bones that I was supposed to move to the South — more specifically to Nashville — and I stepped way far out of my well-cushioned comfort zone to move across the country with no job (what!) and nowhere to live (double what!). And what happened when I did it — when I chose to do the "stupid" thing and move in faith? It was really hard, but really worth it. I questioned my choices, my sanity, and my God a lot. I struggled to believe I had made the right, wisest, and most responsible decision, mostly because I am Type A and love any semblance of order and control, and everything at that time felt out of my control. And yet, as I can see now looking back, everything worked out just as it needed to and, more importantly, far better than if I had tried to plan it myself.
The last four years here in Nash have been a myriad of things, but mostly it has been so good. I've been challenged in countless ways: in my work ethic, my ability to let go, my willingness to step further out of comfort zones, and my core belief system, namely my faith in Jesus and His goodness. It has been hard and beautiful and messy and wild in the best of ways, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have, without a doubt, made some of my best friends and sweetest memories in this city. I've been able to work at an awesome company with some of the most talented people around; I got to live and travel with a sweet girlfriend from college; I paid off over $28k of debt in 21 months; I've seen countless friends get married and start their families; and I have grown in ways I never could have thought possible, and only one word describes how this season has made me feel: grateful. So immensely grateful. Which makes leaving all the more difficult. I love my people here (you know who you are), I love the changing of the seasons in Tennessee, I love the southern hospitality and fireflies and sweet tea, and I freaking love Burger Up (this is not a joke, I love this restaurant with all my heart and am in major denial about having to say goodbye). And even as I have been slowly telling my friends about all the things God and I are up to, I'm still been waiting for someone to tell me it's all a terrible idea. But to no one's surprise, I am sure, I haven't heard anything of the sort. In fact, most reactions have been quite the opposite (and good on God for that because I'm pretty sure if I heard it once I would have forgone this crazy dream and settled for less than His best for me). So here we go. I mean, I sold all my furniture and moved in with friends a few months ago and now everything I own fits in my Prius so, yes, it's happening. Holy crap.
And I'm sure you might be wondering what's next? That's a great question and I won't hesitate to tell you the truth: I'm not totally sure. Here is what I do know: I am starting my drive back to California at the end of October, and will be stopping to see the Grand Canyon and spend a few days in LA seeing friends from college... and also going to Harry Potter World in Hollywood because of course. Then I will drive up to the Bay and settle into a new and both familiar and unfamiliar life in my hometown for a few months. I have a few other trips planned, am set to spend a good amount of time in the Sacramento area with family and friends, and will start planning this crazy, exciting Europe trip for next spring. I'm simply trying to be obedient, one step at a time, as I sense God lead me, and that's kind of all I'm going on.
But really, what I am going to spend most of time doing is... nothing. If there is anything God has shown me in this season it is that ya girl right here does not know how to rest. Like, at all. Hustle has been my middle name — and comfort zone — for as long as I can remember as I have pretty much been working full-time or more for over 12 years. I have realized that I'm really good at relying on myself to make money, whether that means using it to pay off debt or save up for a big trip; I am not so good at relying on God to provide for me. I err so far on the side of responsibility that I end up leaving so little room for God to do anything, and even if He does (or has), I chalk it up to me being responsible. Gross. And so I sense Him calling me into a season of rest; a season of being and not doing; a season of entering into His presence and learning contentment in that place. And I am truly so excited for it. My heart and my spirit have been craving something like this for so long — something I just didn't have words for — and I am so ready to enter in. Am I scared, too? Heck yes, one-hundred percent. But even as I was working just a few days ago on my future budget and the numbers just weren't adding up, I sensed a whisper that said, "you have never not had enough." PREACH! So yes, while I will still be working part-time with a few side jobs, it won't be much more than that, and I'm pretty sure that I am going to be okay.
So to sum it up: I am moving from Nashville to the San Francisco Bay Area at the end of October, where I will be entering into a season of rest and trust, and then I will be heading out on a multi-month long European adventure next Spring. I do not yet know any of the deeper reasons why I am feeling the need to do any of this, but I am trusting God every step of the way, much like I did four years ago when I felt like I was supposed to move to Nashville... but with a little more wisdom, discernment, and experience in my suitcase.
I have found, time and time again, that the things God calls us to do can often look very foolish, and I am so good with that in this season of my life. I am all in for this adventure with Him, so here we go.