How could a July night be so refreshing and crisp? This was my first sensation as I stepped out into the night air. and its coolness kissed my skin. As I look back, I now realize this was the first of many foreign feelings I would have in New Jersey. Little did I know, that what lay ahead of me was a year filled with challenges and a renewed ability to celebrate small victories.
Having lived in the South my entire life, when my husband was presented with an opportunity that would move us almost 700 miles from family and friends, the decision wasn’t taken lightly. We had a 13-year-old daughter to consider in this equation and her feelings were important too. There were many family meetings.
We decided to tackle the challenge for this life transition with an open mind and accepting heart. We collectively decided a small town where we could walk to most things would be the perfect setting for us, as we spent way too much time driving from one place to another in our previous town. Crossing into New Jersey at midnight, we were blasting Bon Jovi and singing at the top of our lungs, as an effort to calm our nervous excitement. With two teens (my daughter and her bestie), two dogs, and a car packed full, we began our adventure.
Has it been easy? No. Have there been many people and places that made it easier? Yes. I have learned more about pushing out of my comfort zone and accepting help from others more in the past year than my entire life. Life transitions are hard, even when you choose them.
It was a risk to make this move, to push myself out of my introverted practices and try to make new friends at this point in my life. It was awful in February when I thought the darkness and cold of a New Jersey winter would never lift. It was heartbreaking to see my daughter’s tears when she missed family and friends. Those difficult times were countered with amazing people who entered our lives to support and love us, and with celebrations of the small victories for each family member as time passed.
Was it worth it? Absolutely. What I have found is a beautiful community of accepting, inspiring, and helpful people. I now have friends here that I know will be friends for life. I have a Private Practice again but with a more defined niche and I have never been happier with my work. My writing is more inspired and my living is more natural (more walks, less rides)! My daughter is dancing and living with passion again and my husband is finding more times of peace and contentment. These small victories add up slowly to gift you with new and inspired perspectives.
So, here I am New Jersey and I love learning from this beautiful and sometimes difficult journey. As I sit here at a coffee café in Asbury Park (because who doesn’t love a day down the shore) writing this, I hear Journey sing Don’t Stop Believin’ and once again, I am just that small town girl ready to take on the world.