I can’t believe I never wrote this, okay I can. I hesitated. I started and then I deleted. I started again. Then I deleted again. It’s now been a year and three months. Am I ready to jump in to what the first year was like yet?
I’ll give it a shot.
Disclaimer: This isn’t actually a post about Nashville, it’s a post about me and what I have learned about myself in the past year of living here.
My first year in Nashville was a mix of findings, feelings, and emotions. I came here with a pretty specific kind of life in mind. Wide open spaces, people that loved and rode horses, country music, huge trucks, country guys like the ones you see in movies and well, everything you think about when you listen to a country song. Bonfires, dancing in dirt by the light of pick up trucks, lots of laughing and love and southern drawls.
Sue me, I was living in a romantic dream of pop country songs when I came here. Unfortunately, when it came to those dreams, Nashville did not deliver. I’d love to say that I got over it real quick and figured out what else was here, but instead I spent a lot of time wondering what the heck I was doing. I didn’t want to move home really, but I wondered if there was somewhere a little better, a little closer to the movie montage, country soundtrack my idealized dreams were.
While that inner struggle was happening I made some friends, I found a couple of people that were willing to go to a line dancing bar about once a month, I found people that loved taking pictures of where they lived and finding new spots to explore, I found a couple of jobs, and I found myself with a lot of time alone. My unhappiness and frustration got worst before it got better and in that I finally really learned the lesson I hadn’t been getting for years: Happiness is not solely decided by where I live. Nashville was not my knight in shining armor waiting ready on gallant stead to sweep me away from my dissatisfaction with myself. I did not leave the things I did not like about myself in San Diego or in Portland, they came with me, somehow they fit in between me and the cracks and crevices between all that I owned in my car.
So what then? Looking back I think I bounced my way through the stages of grief. It wasn’t just that Nashville was completely different than what I had wanted it to be, it was mostly that I was not magically altered into what and who I wanted to be when I moved here.
I came to a place of anger, frustration, sadness, and sometimes tiny moments of content when driving through a really gorgeous place. I felt like a hot mess. That place wasn’t new for me, I’d been there before, in San Diego, in Portland, in San Diego again, in Portland again…back one more time to San Diego, and then Nashville. I don’t know if I’ve just gotten a little more tired in my old age or I’m finally ready to start being more financially stable, but I knew this time that moving wasn’t an option (or the answer). The only way out of the hot mess of emotions was through. And I needed help that I hadn’t been able to find before.
Almost exactly twelve months after I moved here I started seeing a counselor. It has been the best decision I have made. While I haven’t given Nashville much credit for a lot of things I will give it credit here, it was the place I found a counselor that worked, it was the place I was ready to really start doing some deeper work, and it was the place I
stopped paused in running from myself.
So where am I at now with Nashville? Well, I’m exploring again, I’m accepting that stores and fancy food places are not for me but that museums, parks and events are. I’m blogging for a local real estate company about a town just a few minutes north of where I live. Another thing to credit to Nashville, it was here that I started getting paid to write and explore!
I’m working on strengthening friendships and going to events that will put me around people in similar situations with similar intentions and goals and I’m doing my best to see the good and accept the rest.
I’ve gone home a few times since I moved, and while I miss it like crazy and In Cahoots makes me consider moving back home, I still have a lot of work to do here, and while I know that no place was going to make me happy, I do wonder if maybe the distance gave me the room I needed to start making some changes, and facing what I had tried to squash for so long.
I’m not yet convinced that Nashville is the place where I will finally settle down, but it’s where I am at for now. And if/when I leave, it won’t be running.