Coming home has been a whirlwind of emotions and best described as bittersweet. We love our hometown and one of the greatest joys of being back is seeing friends and family. They have loved on us and made us feel so welcome when we really felt a bit like strangers in a familiar place.
After many months of challenging ourselves to go out of our comfort zone, there was a certain euphoria in coming back to a few comfortable things – our bed, a community we adore and the ease of knowing it like the back of our hand. No more Google mapping everything, no more Airbnb surprises (pleasant or otherwise). Ironically, we found that these comforts of home were now suddenly out of our comfort zone! What to do with a spacious kitchen, 3,000 TV channels and multiple comfy pillows?!
There have certainly been challenges re-integrating into our former lives. Adjusting to the large size and excess of America has been a lot to absorb. For days, I was overwhelmed by all the cars on the road. Getting behind the wheel of an SUV after nine months without driving was intimidating! Our house feels huge, and it’s a love/hate situation with all that space. And the number of clothes in my closet is a lesson in ridiculous excess, although I was pretty excited to wear something other than my four trip t-shirts! Back at our local Kroger, I spent hours wandering through the aisles staring at all of the options, marveling at the myriad of unhealthy choices and summoning my willpower not to throw them in my cart and begin some bad habits again.
The largest challenge that we continue to wrestle with is not falling back into our comfortable rut, which is a risk of everyone living in our frenzied society today. Life is busy, parenting is hard and absorbing all of the details of the world we live in is overwhelming and time-consuming. It seems every time I blink another month has blown by. Rather than become complacent with our responsibilities in life and the routines we instill for sanity, as a family we talk and reminisce about our favorite experiences during our travels. I allow my mind to wander and see where in the world it lands, sometimes to our elephant friends in Thailand, sometimes back to the beaches of Croatia and always to our slow pace and open mind ready for adventure. We also took a family bike ride today (to the UGA game!) and it felt great to check off one of our goals we made before coming home.
“Life is ours to be spent, not to be saved.” – D.H. Lawrence
Time and time again over the last six weeks, circumstances have validated our decision to step away from our regular lives and follow this dream. Last week, I learned my dad has cancer. While the prognosis is good, it reminds us that life is short and nothing should be left unsaid or undone. None of us knows what tomorrow holds, and whatever your dream, you should pursue it NOW. It could be starting a new business or career, trying a new hobby or following a lifelong passion. Whatever that certain something is that you keep thinking, “We’ll do that when we retire/have more money/have more time,” I challenge you to say it out loud to your spouse or a friend today. Once you’ve spoken it, you’ll find it’s more real and attainable and you can start planning. Don’t stop fulfilling your dreams because life is in the way. Make them a part of your life, and it will become the one you were meant to live.