I know I’m a bit early to be looking back on a year, but it is December, and I think it’s important to look backwards before we figure out where we are headed. January is often about resolutions and goals, and not as much about reflection on what has or has not happened.
The funny thing is, I remember roughly a year ago, taking time to look back at 2013. in our family, 2013 was a busy time. We moved houses. I started working in a new school district. My husband Shawn started a new coaching job. I remember taking time to pause last year in December, wondering what 2014 would bring. One thing we knew for sure was that it would not bring about as much change…. or so we thought.
In January of 2014, I asked my husband an honest question. I asked him if he liked our new house and new neighbourhood as much has we had expected. With a sense of relief, he confided that he did not. The house was smaller than we were used to and our boys had turned our master bedroom into a dodgeball court so the kitchen lights would swing from the vibration when we tried to have evening conversations. The road was busier than our previous street and the boys did not play outside as much. There did not seem to be any kids their age nearby. Local grocery store parking lots were overcrowded and hectic and our commutes were longer. At the time of our discussion, we had yet to move our kids from their original school as we were waiting for the natural break in the school year to transition them. My husband asked if I thought we had made the right decision. I said no. Yet reality set in – we had spent a lot of money moving, paid realtor fees, property transfer tax, etc…. We ended the conversation thinking that perhaps in a couple years we would revisit it and move back to our old community.
And then a funny thing happened…. early in February I stumbled across a Facebook post from a friend of mine, Dan Pontefract. I admire Dan and his wife Denise as they have modelled what it means to be authentic. They work hard and play hard and support one another in their dreams. When I stumbled upon Dan’s blog post, it described their decision to move their family from Victoria back to Vancouver so he could be closer to work and take on some new challenges. Denise quit her job. They listed their house for sale. They withdrew their kids from private school. And yet a funny thing happened… as Denise searched for a new job that she would love just as much as her current one – Dan stumbled upon a job posting that seemed perfect. It sounded just like her. He realized he was reading the ad for someone to replace her. In a moment of clarity, he realized that his family of 5 was relocating to support the dream of 1. The dream of 4 was to stay in Victoria. A couple of phone calls later they were able to rip the for sale sign down, Denise was able to get her job back, and the kids were re-enrolled at their school.
I read the post with admiration. How amazing to follow your heart, recognize when you are on the wrong path, and have the courage to say you made a mistake. It was what I needed to see at that moment. It had taken us years of practical conversations and pro / con lists to decide to move. It took us two minutes to decide to move back.
And so, 2014 began, much different than we expected. Six months to the day from when we had moved in, we moved out, and moved to a new home in our original community. Our realtor packed her bags and went on a vacation… a couple of times.
While many people around us thought we were rather crazy, we knew it was right. The day we moved in our new house, we knew we were home. And you know what I love just as much as finding the right home for our family? The feeling I have knowing we were not afraid to follow our hearts and do what felt right. We embraced change and followed the zig zag of life rather than wrestling with the straight line that didn’t fit.
We settled in, knowing that changes were over for a while…. that is until July 2014 when the phone rang offering me my first principalship at a new school…. or September 2014 when the phone rang again offering Shawn the opportunity to move to Saskatchewan for six months to train for the RCMP. But this time, we didn’t need to write the pro / con lists. We jumped in, followed our hearts, and embraced the zig zag of life.