Do you know what that means? That means that I survived my year in Charlotte and it means that if I was to find a job opportunity, I can now resign with no financial ramifications. I think back on the weekend that I moved to Charlotte, the endless tears that ran down my face when Phil dropped me off at the airport, the I'm-crying-so-hard-I-can't-talk conversations with my mom and Phil, the awful feeling when it really hit me that I was actually going to have to live in a place I didn't want to live, and I almost feel all the anguish all over again.There were certainly times that I questioned how I'd get through the year in one piece, but 365 days later, I'm still standing.
Am I the same person I was a year ago? Absolutely not. I am sure that friends and family who spend a decent amount of time around me would say I am quieter and more reserved. I'm weary and less likely to laugh. I feel like I've been in a holding pattern for the last year of my life and I've lost my sense of permanence, which is bound to wear on a person.
My mind feels like it's always turning, obsessing over questions like: when will I move? Will my company enforce my non-compete? Will I get a relocation package? How will I handled the gap in health insurance (going without is no longer an option thanks to my $2,500/month RA drug)? Where will I live when I move? How much will the move cost me if I don't get a relocation package? Have I saved enough? Will I easily find a rheumatologist that I like? ... and the questions go on and on. And thinking through all these questions is exhausting. Not having answers to critical questions is difficult. Not knowing where I will be living 1 or 3 or 6 months from now is an awful feeling for a planner like me.
When I look back on the past year, I see it as a year of survival. A year of doing what I needed to do to make it through each week or month. I know there are people who can go through difficult things and thrive in those situations, but I can't say that was the case for me. I did not thrive in Charlotte. And I'll never look back on this year and be thankful that I was moved to Charlotte - of that I am certain. Yes, I've had great adventures, saw new places, visited familiar faces, but I'd give back all of those experiences to forgo the disruption of this move and be right back where I was in Minneapolis where I had built a life I loved.
While I am not the person I was before I found out about this move, I feel confident that I'll find her again. I don't know how long it will take, but with time, I'll get back to being that happy, confident, positive person. Living in a city I love, being surrounded by people who care about me, and being able to run will certainly help.
I have hit my year mark, but I am in Charlotte indefinitely until I can find a job back home. So while hitting this milestone was an accomplishment, I still have a ways to go and until I have a job offer in hand, I won't really feel a true sense of relief that I can put this all behind me. But I am hopeful that I will have a one-way ticket out of here in the near future. It scares me to have hope because it opens myself up to disappointment if things don't turn out the way I'd like, but I'm still holding onto hope.
It's been a tough year, and while it's changed me and left a mark that will be tough to reverse, I still think the words from John Mayer's song, Heart of Life, hold true.
Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
No it won't all go the way it should
But I know the heart of life is good