Even just writing those words feels surreal. We’re moving to California.
Never did I ever imagine. Well….maybe a little.
I’ve said this before on here, but it’s worth repeating. The more I have the pleasure of living, the more abundantly clear it is to me that the Universe, God, Source (whatever you want to call it) is conspiring for us.
To give us the life experiences we need (not necessarily want) to grow and expand into the people we’re destined to become. And that it’s up to us, to stay open, to see the signs in front of us, and bravely follow with faith.
If I’m being really honest and reflecting back, I think there have been signs for years (if not a decade) that this would be a chapter in our story. I just wasn’t ready, until now.
Years ago, and I’m talking a decade ago when Lill was a baby, we lived in a townhouse in Chicago. We had just sold our condo in the city, and had plans to move to the burbs – but I had cold feet. I wasn’t quite ready to leave the city and was lucky enough to find a townhouse to rent in a neighborhood we loved. It gave me a year to recalibrate. That was also the year I coincidentally got really into yoga and did my first yoga teacher training. I share that because it was the first year I really started my personal growth journey and began questioning a lot of things.
I had this green journal I’d write in every day while the kids napped. I can still picture it, and I remember sitting on the top floor of our townhouse writing out a list of “what if’s….”.
I’m not sure what made me write down California. Maybe it seemed like warmer, sunnier, lighter days. I’m not sure. But either way, something made me write that. “What if we moved to California.” I guess that’s all it took. A seed was planted.
Since then our life has taken us in so many directions. Chicago, New York, Connecticut, back to Chicago. And I don’t doubt for a second those were ALL necessary. Without question, I know I’m the woman I am today, and we’re the family we are, because of each of those moves & lived experiences. Each one shaped us into someone new. And while being back in Chicago the past few years has felt really wonderful, there have also been a lot of signs that our chapter here was coming to a close. That maybe we had outgrown this life. No longer valued the same things we once did…..and were ready to move on.
The actual decision to move happened really fast. JP and I have always talked about moving somewhere warm (and more focused on wellness/outdoor living), but up until now has always been hypothetical.
About a month ago I brought up the idea again. Only this time, a little stronger. Something was itching inside so I put a voice to it. And being the amazing partner J is, he shook his head, gave a little chuckle, mumbled something about knowing this day was coming, and quickly met my enthusiasm. He was in.
That night we agreed to “explore” the idea. See what happens Let the universe lead. We both agreed that in order to even entertain the idea (let alone actually move across the country) we’d need all green lights. Taking it one step at a time. Agreeing that if at any point it felt hard, or we had to force it, we’d back away.
Very quickly it became abundantly clear that this is what we’re meant to do, as every light has been big bright, and green. All signs go.
We’re still deciding where exactly we’ll land, but we’re focusing on southern California (LA area). We fell in love with Southern California back in 2020 when we spent a few months in the Orange County/San Diego area. But vacationing and living someplace are very different, and for a lot of different reasons the LA area makes the most sense for us. We made our first trip to LA a few weeks ago to look at communities and it was really overwhelming (who knew LA was so big and nuanced?). For a moment we found ourselves feeling a little deflated and scared (would this be our first red light? I was holding my breath all weekend.).
The night before flying home to Chicago (with no clear answers and tears in both of our eyes) we had a hard conversation.
Reminding each other that we don’t have to have it all figured out (JP and I are both type A so not having it all buttoned up is not in our nature). We don’t need to know what’s going to be the best high school for Asher in a year, or where the best dance studio is for Lill. We will never have answers for ALL of it. Reminding ourselves that all of those “hurdles” and unknowns are just our fears.
Instead, we promised each other that we’d focus on what’s the best decision for TODAY.
Not next year or next fall, but for today. What feels good and right and easy in our bodies RIGHT NOW. Letting that feeling be enough and trusting our intuition.
We let go of any idea of requirements for yards & pools, commutes & schools, and instead focused on how we want to FEEL as a family.
Not the things – but instead the feelings.
We want it to feel different. We want to feel connected. To each other, to a community, and to nature. We want to feel like we belong. To feel safe. To feel at home. We want to feel the sun on our skin and the sand in our toes and freedom to explore.
That we can find. The other details will work themselves out.
But it requires letting go of what we know. What we’re used to. What we grew up experiencing. And even a little bit of what society has told us is important when it comes to raising a family.
Knowing that what we value today as parents, and as individuals, looks very different than it did 10, 5 and even just a year ago. Because we’re different. Whether it’s COVID, traveling, not drinking – I don’t know. But what’s important to us today is very different from what was important to us when we bought our “dream home” here in Chicago just a few short years ago.
Am I scared? Hell yes. There isn’t an ounce of me that’s making this decision lightly. We have a beautiful life here that we’re saying goodbye to. A gorgeous home, a block from the lake, family, friends. Security. Comfort.
I’m not 100% sure that this is the right next move for us.
But I am 100% sure that if we don’t go, we’ll always wonder.
I can live with making a mistake. I can live with learning, experiencing something, and then saying “actually, that’s not for us”.
But I can’t live with not trying something new because I’m scared to leave our comfortable safe life.
And I think as a mom, one of the things I feel responsible to model for our kids is that it’s ok to be scared and still do something. It’s ok to “not know”.
As we continue to explore what’s next for us and make this move, I can’t wait to share more with you. But for now I want to just close this post by sharing a snippet of a conversation I was having recently with a dear friend.
She was trying to make a big decision in her life, similar to us, and was praying to God for a clear answer. A sign that her and her family were making the right decision.
“God”, she said, “give me a sign, anything”.
To which God beautifully replied, “I’ve given you plenty.”
As she told me this simple, yet powerful, moment she said, “Katy, you’ve been given your signs.”
May we all be open enough to see them, and brave enough to follow.