I’m back in Houston after almost exactly 4 years away. So much has changed in that time, it’s almost hard to wrap my head around. I’m certainly not the same person who left in September 2015. It’s almost like I went off to college and came back older and ever so slightly wiser, learning some life lessons along the way:
1. I can do anything I decide to do. I am capable of anything I put my mind to. Making these big life moves proved that I am stronger and more capable of change than even I thought possible. New jobs, new cities, new people. Being resistant to minor changes for most of my life, this old dog has learned some new tricks. I’ve learned that things will work out, just keep moving forward. Have faith that you can figure the next step out. Worrying is exhausting and rarely ever helpful.
2. Life really is short. What they say is true — the days are long, but the years are short. I lost three family members during my time away, which makes you realize even more that family is the most important thing in life. We have no idea how much time any of us have, so we should spend as much of it doing what we love and being around people we love as possible.
3. I don’t need anyone else to be happy. I am happy being by myself. I didn’t know anyone in Seattle or NYC when I moved there. And while I made a few friends, I also realized how much I enjoyed being alone. I was able to do what I wanted, when I wanted. I could read, or catch up on Netflix, or eat cereal for dinner. I had never even considered going to a movie, much less the theater, alone before — but for some reason in NYC, it seemed totally normal and I loved it.
4. My thoughts, feelings and opinions are valuable. I spent so many years worried that if people knew how I truly felt about anything, they may not like me anymore. So I almost never shared my feelings on a matter unless specifically asked. I saw so many people seemingly effortlessly say they disagreed with someone else time and time again, and each time I envied them. If everyone else can express their opinions and have them deemed worthy, then why, oh why, can’t I? I still have a long way to go (you can’t expect a sweet, Southern girl to compete with a New Yorker overnight!), but I’ve made major progress. And if someone doesn’t like me, at least they don’t like the real me and I don’t drive myself crazy feeling like I can’t share my thoughts.
In many ways, this education has been far more valuable than any degree. And unlike the calculus or geology I learned in college, I can apply these teachings on a daily basis.