The Road To Now

A year ago I would have never guessed that I would be where I am today. I’ve always wanted to be here, it was always my goal (obviously), but part of me always felt to afraid to go for it, and I didn’t see that changing anytime soon.

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At the end on July 2016, I made my yearly visit home to see my dad, grandma (Bami), friends, and family. I was in Mount Vernon, WA for only one week, and I hated how short my visit had to be. I always did, even when the visits were all summer. I spent the week as I always did, running around like crazy. Bami always said “The grass doesn’t grow under you’re feet!”, but I only had so long to see everyone here, and enjoy all the beautiful places. I was selfish with my time too, spending most of it up in Bellingham with my best and longest friend, Trung, my favorite person. It only made it harder to leave. The last few years I had planed it so that someone else was with me. I made sure that they drove out of town, and over the mountain pass instead of me. I didn’t believe that I would make it that far without turning around. Every time I left, I left another piece of my heart here. I cried, because it hurt.

By November my longing for the Northwest had not subsided, which was odd because usually by then it would have been tolerable. I missed the ocean, and the mountains. The lakes, and forests. Mostly, I missed my friends and family that I rarely got to see. I had the feeling that I was missing out on everything here.

On New years I made a promise to myself. Not a resolution, but a promise. I am done waiting. Done making excuses. Done thinking about everyone else before myself. When you sit around daydreaming about the same thing, and it is an attainable dream, then what the hell are you doing? So, I worked my ass off. Seven days a week, all hours of the day and night. I saved my money, and fixed up my car.

Last month was my first month as an official Washington resident in about 19 and a half years. I’ve been busy. I think I’m still in the mind set that at the end of the summer I will have to pack up my things, and go back to South Dakota. It feels good to have more time here. To be able to enjoy everything, without the fact that I have to leave soon looming over my every move.

I’ve been spending most of my time up in Bellingham again, with Trung. He’s taken me to so many new and beautiful places, along with the familiar places we have always gone to. I’m enjoying all the green. And the ocean air. And the island beaches. And motorcycle rides through the mountains. And the farmers markets. And all the food. And all the people. I’ve been feeling less anxious, and bored. In return I already feel more open to things, and more creative.

I do miss South Dakota very much, and I can’t wait to go back and visit for a week in October. I catch myself saying things like, “well, in South Dakota it worked this way.” and, “That’s nothing to me, I grew up in South Dakota”. It’s pretty ridiculous, really. I don’t so much miss the place, as I miss the people, and how I know where everything is. The day I had to take my South Dakota drivers license out of my wallet, and put it away in a drawer was the definition of bittersweet.

BUT, in the end I am happy to be where I am, and I am proud of myself for staying true to what I want, and not letting anything stop me. I think I’ll make that a new habit of mine.

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Thanks, May! For being so good to me. 2017 is definitely my favorite!

Live Bravely!

Always,

Danielle B.

No One Said It Was Going To Be Easy

This is the part where I pull a wrinkled news paper out from between the cushion of an old leather chair, and straighten it out in front of me. The date: May 3rd, 2017. The headline reads:

“Twenty-Something Year Old Makes Quick Decision To Quit Job, Empty Bank Account, Say Goodbye To Friends & Family, Pack Car Full Of Belongings, And Move Half-Way Across The Country To Start Life Anew.”

And here we are!

It’s been one week since I pulled into the driveway of my Dad’s house here in Skagit Valley, car packed, exhausted, and teary eyed. The journey was long, my emotions where out of control, but in the end I am happy to be back in the Pacific Northwest and I know that it will be worth it.

I was joined by my best friend on the drive to my new home, which was comforting, and made the transformation a little easier. She followed in her car, with her little one, and at least once an hour we were talking about the drive via phone. We shared a motel room in Bozeman, MT to rest after a long day of packing, working, and driving, and then headed out in the morning towards my home in Mount Vernon, WA. Along the way I would catch her laughing at me, and my jam sessions, through the rear view mirror, and we would call each other to laugh about it.

I’m not going to lie, it was hard to leave the comfort of South Dakota behind me. I cried, a lot, but you know what? I am going to come back. I will visit. It was not a final goodbye. Leaving the place you grew up in, and know by heart sucks, but it will always be there. Right where you left it. I also cried when I reached the Cascades. (It was a very emotional trip.) At the first sight of the Washington I know so well, and have loved my entire life.. I totally lost it.

Every dream, and every goal just seemed so close. Or maybe I’m just overly dramatic. Either way, I made it here, FINALLY!

The last week has been great! Busy, for sure, but great. So far I have:

  • Unpacked everything! (WOOHOOOOO!)
  • Shown the best friend and her Littles the ocean.
  • Been to the islands.
  • Opened a bank account.
  • Gotten a new Drivers License.
  • Sent out resume and applications. (Unemployment is freaking me out.)
  • Spent time with the family. (Biological & not.)
  • Went to Seattle (China town!!)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2, double feature, in I-MAX 3D (Because I’m slightly nerdy.)
  • And spent A LOT of time with my friends up in Bellingham, having fun and finding my way around. (The plan is to live there.)

It’s helpful to have people already here. Friends that I’ve known for years, that I trust. I got lucky that way. One of my favorite people is here, and thank God for him because he’s made everything so much better. 10 years of sticking by my side, no matter what, back and forth between being here and being 18 hours away, I know I will never be alone here. I already feel at home.

I guess my point is to not be afraid to go after the things you have always dreamt about, but to be aware that making the big changes WILL be scary, and might suck at first, you just have to power through it. You have to take time to adjust. You will miss that little town you always wanted to leave, but everything will be ok.

Live Bravely!

Always,

Danielle B.

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May 11, 2017. Mount Vernon, WA