Monday, February 4, 2013

The Road Not Taken

This is going to be a more pensive, sad kind of post because that is how I feel some days.  I certainly don't feel sad every day or even most of the day.  But I do feel sad some days, which is to be expected.  And I think writing about how I truly feel about things - instead of painting a picture of a life lived with ease - may be one of the best ways to deal with these feelings and attempt to put them behind me. 

When people ask me how I am doing, which, as you can imagine, is the most frequently asked question these days, the best way I can sum up the experience thus far is that it feels like I am having an out of body experience.  It doesn't really feel real.  Instead it feels like something that is happening to someone else.  It's like I am looking at listings online for apartments that someone else will live in, and I am researching areas around Charlotte that someone else will visit for a weekend getaway.  It doesn't really feel like it's my life.  It feels like a string of hypothetical decisions.  Decisions like, if I had to live in Charlotte, what area would I live in?  What run club would I join?  Where would I grocery shop?  I think through all of these decisions, but it doesn't seem possible that I will be living with these decision, because I never once pictured a scenario that involved moving to Charlotte.

But, it is slowly starting to feel more real.  Experiences like signing the relocation agreement (I have a year commitment), being assigned a relocation coordinator, and making the move "Facebook official" made it feel slightly more real last week, and I had a bit of a breakdown on Friday night when talking about it with Phil.  I imagine that it will feel even more real when I go to Charlotte at the end of the month and show my mom where I will be working and walk through apartments that I may potentially call home. And then it will REALLY feel real when I buy that one way ticket to Charlotte.

Right now, I see the fork in the road ahead of me, but it hasn't quite hit me that, as Robert Frost so eloquently describes in the poem "The Road Not Taken", I am taking the road less traveled.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~Robert Frost, 1920

I have all these thoughts about the upcoming move, and I read Robert Frost's poem, and I think to myself:  I hope someday I tell the story of this move with a (happy) sigh and say that taking this road has made all the difference - or at least that it is not a road I regret taking. 


Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

I can only imagine the many different feelings going through your mind right now. But I do think you are doing the best thing possible, trying to be optimistic but not pretending during the times you are not. I hope that this ends up being a wonderful road for you... maybe unexpectedly wonderful, but wonderful.

I think every time I make a huge decision or a big change, I always feel like it is someone else's life at first. That's probably how we trick ourselves into taking big risks :)

Becky said...


Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

Something you wrote in that last paragraph is ringing a bell for me. You say you hope taking this road is one you won't regret. Lisa, I hope you make it your mission that this is a decision you don't regret. So far, you've listed great reasons for making this move (financial security, career outlook, etc.). Continue making decisions you won't regret. Seek out experiences there that you wouldn't have in Minneapolis. Meet and make friends with people you would've never otherwise met. Visit southern cities you wouldn't have otherwise seen. If you make the most of your time in Charlotte, even if it isn't your final home, I like to think you won't regret your time there.

Allison said...

I completely agree with Nilsa. Even if this isn't your choice, you don't want to look back on the next chapter of your life as a waste and being completely miserable. Also, I think the idea of self-fulfilling prophecies is really applicable to situations like this.

I know my situation is different, but when I moved to Westchester, I absolutely hated it, and consequently was miserable. But once I realized that, yes, I'm here, and I don't know for how long, I decided I had to open myself up and create good things, otherwise I was going to leave feeling like I wasted a chunk of my life.

And not to play psychologist, but I bet you are feeling like if you create good things in Charlotte, it means that you don't love Minneapolis as much, or that maybe you'll open yourself up to a life direction you weren't expecting. I totally get that. I don't have any advice other than to say I totally understand not wanting to get attached. But I think in the long run, it will be much better for your sanity if you decide now to make this a good experience, and not something you regret.

Nora said...

Wish I could give you a hug. It doesn't fix things but sometimes it helps for a moment or two.

This is beautifully written.

Carolina John said...

It might take you a while to get settled in, but I bet you will come to appreciate Charlotte in the long run. It's very understandable to be nervous right now. But eventually everything will calm down.

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

I think it's cool that you relate so many things in life to poems/sections of a book. Thinking of you and hoping that the road less traveled ends up being the right one. Well in fact, it has to be and I know you'll make the best of it even if it is a rough road at first.

Amber said...

I really don't think you will regret this move and I love how Nilsa phrases it as "make it your mission not to regret it"

ALSO, I think through this really trying time I think it's SO important to allow yourself to be sad and to grieve. Yes you should be positive - and you ARE being positive. But it's also OK to feel really mad and upset by this sudden life change you didn't anticipate and don't want. Just let yourself FEEL. I know you are. Love you. I think you're so brave! XO

Stephany said...

I agree a lot with what Nilsa and Allison said. This is a journey you never expected to take and it is PERFECTLY FINE to be sad and mad and angry and upset about it because you have to process all these emotions. I think you're doing the best job you possibly can and I think as long as you keep an open mind of what opportunities and experiences could await you in Charlotte, you will find your way in this new place.


San said...

This is a huge decision, Lisa and I can imagine that you must have so many mixed feelings about this move.
You're so incredibly brave to take this step. I am sure you won't regret it... because it's going to be a part of your story and I know you'll grow tremendously with this.

How does Phil feel about your move?

Like I said, I have a (German) friend in Charlotte (another Sandra :)) that I can hook you up with, in case you need somebody to show you around or just someone to talk to.


Marlys said...

I think it's good to express your feelings, and how can they not be filled with anger, sadness & frustration! It is healthy to get those feelings out so you can move on and tackle the job in front of you! I read the comments and think there are some wonderful ones that I know you will embrace! There is an old phrase that comes back to me - "Bloom where you are planted"! I had to heed those words when we settled in Wyndmere 41 years ago! I hope your stay is only for a year or two at best!

Raquelita said...

It's tough. I have to admit that six months after the move here I'm still really struggling with a lot of things. I have fewer local friends than I ever have in my life and am frequently lonely. But I often feel too busy trying to prep my classes and work on my research to do much to get out and meet more people. I feel the loss of my running community. Then there are just some things that are weird and disconcerting about living in a place like this. Most of the time I'm too busy to notice it and some of the time I'm able to focus on the positives, but if other people hadn't told me what a struggle they had their first year here I would be feeling completely miserable.

I think it's good to write about and express your feelings. I tend to keep mine more bottled up than I probably should. I hope that your time there is either temporary and happy or so good that you ultimately don't mind staying.

Abby said...

Beautiful poem, and expression. It is completely okay for you to express how you're really feeling. In fact, it's much healthier than to constantly put on this fake cover!

I think you are doing the absolute right thing - and it shocks me that people have responded as if you have a choice??!! People are crazy, and don't have the ability to walk in others shoes.

Charolotte is not Minneapolis - it never will be. I won't have the "Minneapolis charm" that you love. It doesn't have Chain of Lakes. But I know you will find things you love. Hang in there, sister! Love you

Barb Geier said...

My heart hurts for you.

Jeanie said...

What an eloquent post, Lisa. You have a way of synthesizing your thoughts and putting them in such order with such clarity. I know it's a topsy turvy world right now, and approaching it from the third person is probably a very good strategy to ease into things. No matter how hard things are right now, I don't see you as a lonely, miserable kind of person. You will move, you will find your space at work or running or cooking or more and you will build a life there. It may not be your forever life, but it will be the life you need to have right now. The one that takes you to the next step and the one after that. The poem is quite perfect for this experience. And remember, things are only permanent if we say they can't change -- change back to what you love now at some point, change forward to something new. I have tremendous confidence in you.

Sending tons of hugs, j

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I love that poem :-) I have high hopes for you girl, and I think that this has happened in your life, at this time, for a reason. I'm sending virtual hugs and good vibes your way.

Shoshanah said...

I remember finishing grad school, and starting to work, where it felt unreal that this was actually my life. I think because I never would have expected to end up in Louisiana, the fact that I did didn't feel like my real life. Like someday I was going to wake up and realize that it was all a dream, and I was back in Louisiana.

I'm not sure how much sense that makes, and realize that these were based on decisions I choose. But as other commenters have side, in a lot of ways you made this decision. No you didn't necessary put everything in motion, but for reasons that made sense to you it is still what you choose to do. So hopefully everything does wind up working out, even better than you expect it to.

Melissa said...

I think I would feel the exact same as you, the whole out of body experience situation. It's just SO surreal that in the blink of an eye you were told your whole life would change. It's one of those moments that won't feel real, even when you're in Charlotte in your new apartment, you'll just be like "is this really happening?" but I think once you settle into the new city, make some new friends & discover some things that root you to Charlotte, it may truly feel less surreal for you. Knowing you, you'll find a way to make the best of this situation when you're there. You're such a positive person and it's something I've respected from the moment I started reading your blog. I know that regardless of what happens, even if it's so ridiculously unfair, you'll manage to make it work for you.

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I hope that your "road less traveled" takes you to a great place! I have taken a few roads less traveled and have actually ended up enjoying myself, and I hope that you can do the same. Maybe instead of looking at this as a move, just consider it a long vacation, where you "get to" rent a fun apartment and visit new places and meet new people, like you did in Paris, except for a longer time and maybe in a city you didn't necessarily choose. Make a list like you would when you travel to Europe -- what museums you want to see, what parks, what restaurants... and a year will be over before you know it!