It is hard to believe it, but today marks 6 months since I moved to Charlotte. In some ways, the move feels so long ago, but in other ways it feels like not much time has passed. When I think back to that day when I landed in Charlotte, I want to reach back through time and give myself a good, long hug. I still vividly remember the emotions of that day, from waking up in tears, the horrible goodbye to Phil at the airport (I cried so hard, the TSA agent brought me a box of kleenex when I went through security), and the silent tears that wouldn't seem to stop on my flights.
I am really proud of how far I have come in the last 6 months. I would say the last 6 months have probably been the toughest 6 months of my life. From the stress fractures to the CFA stress to the break-up to my aunt passing away to my RA diagnosis, a lot of things have happened that would have been difficult to deal with on my home turf. But I faced it all in a place that is foreign to me and came out on the other side of it all. My progress here has certainly not been linear. It's one step forward, two steps back, but I've made progress.
Over the past 6 months, I have had some people tell me that I am so brave and I am handling this so well. Sometimes when people say this, I want to convince them otherwise. I want to tell they can't possibly be seeing me for what I am because I would have never used the word brave to describe myself; I would never say I have handled this move well. But I guess one of the gifts of friendship is that friends see things in us that we don't allow ourselves to see or maybe they have more realistic expectations. I can see now that I have been brave. I have been scared and sad and mad and wrought with anxiety at different points, but I can see now that I can feel all of those things and still be brave.
These days, I am trying to shift my perspective and think of my time in Charlotte as a study abroad experience. I can observe the culture and notice things I like and don't like, but I don't have to embrace the culture and make it my own because I will not make my permanent home here. I am hoping this perspective will help me get a little less upset about the things that bother me.
My coping mechanism has certainly been traveling. Between work travel and traveling for pleasure, I am gone at least 2 weekends a month and several work days. This schedule works for me and will help me get through my time here. I have had people tell me they are envious or jealous of my travels - I bite my tongue when I hear this, but what I want to say is - yes, I am fortunate to be able to travel so much, but please don't be jealous. I would trade lives and live in a place I don't dislike and had ample friends/family to see in exchange for all the travel I am doing. That is truly the case. I'd so much rather be living in Minneapolis or Chicago and not racking up airline miles. But until that is the case, I will hop on a plane every other weekend to escape this city.
So here's to the next 6 months. I hope and believe they will be easier and less issue-free than the first 6 were.