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Kailin Beck. Powered by Blogger.

On Adventuring. On Being Happy.

I feel like I have needed to make this post for a while.  A lot of girls have asked me how we do it. 

How we have lived away from family and close friends for almost our entire married life and how we continue to choose to do so.


The goal of this post is to let you know, if you are in a similar situation as we have been, that 
you absolutely can do it. And you can not only do it, you can thrive in it.



The questions I get are, "do you guys like living away from home?" "Don't you miss family?" "I could never take my kid away from their grandparents. How come you guys always live so far away?" "Don't you miss your friends?"

Short answer: YES AND YES.

Let me start by saying that there is nothing nothing more important than family. It is absolutely sad some days thinking how much fun Juliana could be having with one of her grandmas. There are hard days! There really are. Especially since having Jules.



But 
you have two family units once you are married! You have the one you were born into (and marry into), and then you have this new one you create.



That new little family requires attention and nurturing. A lot of it. WAY before you have kids.

Let me also say that some people absolutely can live 'at home', or in the area they grew up and they can live there until they die! That is super great. That works very well for some people. But for others, life's adventures lead them elsewhere, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. At all.


For us, it has been a huge blessing. When we were very first married, we had quite a few little 'new lovers' quarrels. We had quite a bit to sort out. I think a lot of couples do! For us, we NEEDED to live out on our own and have only each other to rely on. We really learned how to solve problems, we learned we couldn't just run to mommy or daddy when we were quarreling. We really became a team. There is nothing we can't solve or do together.

We truly are a team, because we have shared hard and challenging and also wonderful experiences together. 

We have learned things together while being out on our own, in a lot of really different cultures. We grow to love new things together, different things. We grow together through extending ourselves out of our comfort zones. We grow together by lifting the other when they are having a hard day with it. Those have been some of our most bonding moments.

Those first 2 years of our marriage that we spent in Texas really built the foundation for our entire relationship. I am so, so eternally grateful we had that experience early on.

We won't be "back home" for who knows how many years now, and while on one hand that is hard to think about sometimes, we have opportunities that we are so incredibly excited about. Opportunities that we have worked really hard for and sacrificed a lot for, and that we hope will change our lives!


So what do you do when you are having one of those "hard" days? When you doubt if you even want to do what you're doing? Or for some of you, when you are scared to make the leap of faith to a new place!


I've come up with a few things that have changed everything for me. These are things I have found that have helped me not only survive the 'adventuring' but grow to absolutely thrive and love it!

Backyard at sunset ♡ My happy place is staring at this through our bedroom window!



#1: LIVE IN BEAUTIFUL PLACES
(not what you think..:) )

 People have told me frequently, about each place we have lived, " it looks so beautiful there! You get to live in the most beautiful places! You are so lucky!"
While that is true, and I feel very fortunate, it is also something I have created.

{gasp}

No, each place has not been heaven on earth.
Yes, in each place we have lived, there are people who HATE it there. And frankly I see why and know why they feel that way.  And to be blunt, it's their own fault that they are miserable, because they are choosing it. 

{gasp}

I know.
The thing is, in every place we have lived, there are a few things that are always the same: 

  • There are always really bad, ugly parts of the town/city and reasons why there is "nothing to do".
  • There are always 3 months of bad weather.
  • You will be out of your comfort zone for a little while and will have to meet new people and friends.
  • And there are always things you can find that you don't like. 

Always.

If you look for it, you'll find it. I strongly believe in that. If you want to be miserable and feel sorry for yourself and hate the place you live, walk around for 5 minutes and you'll have a pretty good list.

If you want to thrive, if you want to love life and where you live, and if you want to create a happy life for yourself and your family, you have to teach yourself to find the happy.
I can truly say I have LOVED everywhere we have lived! You can train your mind to be positive! It doesn't happen overnight, but you can do it and over time, you will find yourself loving it, no matter where you are.



The reason why some of you might thing that "I'm so lucky, I always get to live in the best places" is because all I ever say about the place is how much I love it! I just tell myself I'm going to love it, and we're going to enjoy it. The reason why you think we live in awesome places is because you don't hear me list off all of the crappy parts about wherever we live. And let me tell you. Each place has them. But I choose to not dwell on that. I choose to not sit here and feel bad for myself. And it is hard sometimes.

So the title of this step is misleading. No, to be happy, you don't need to go physically find the most beautiful place to live. You need to MAKE it beautiful. You just need to look for it.
What I ask myself is, "Okay. What is [Memphis]? What do people do here? What is [Memphis'] "thing"? For the people that love it, why do they?" (insert your city in the [    ] )

and then I go find it.
I'll give you an example. 

Memphis is the bluff city. It's the city of Blues. It's home of Beale street. It's the 'river city.' Home of King Elvis! Self proclaimed BBQ capital of the world (I agree). Great downtown energy. Amazing cajun and seafood. Very educationally progressive (why Mitch has a job). Quirky and fun citywide traditions. Previous cotton capital of the world. Very jazzy, blues-y and southern feeling. Home of the National Civil Rights Museum (where Martin Luther King was assassinated). There is A LOT of soul and richness in this place. 


It's easy, you can google it. Find out what makes your city your city.
When I first found out we were moving to Memphis (and McAllen) the first thing I did was google what their 'thing' was. What makes that place special?  And then you embrace it! You go DO IT and enjoy it and live it every time you can. 

Make it beautiful!

Which brings me to #2.



#2: GET OUT AND LIVE
Don't sit at home. Don't wait for something to come to you, because the reality is, few things will. Especially when you are new to a place. Those things that are unique and fun to your city that I listed above? GO do and explore them. Like every day. Make your city your home.





When we lived on the gulf coast of Mexico, we went to the beach all of the stinking time! The beach, the coast, the sea... it became a huge part of us. Our home now is very coastal feeling (decor-wise, etc) because of those 2 years on the sea and it brings a lot of sweet nostalgia and meaning to our home.



Here in Memphis, it's the river {Mississippi}. That is Memphis' main thing. And let me tell you, that river is magical. It is gorgeous and gives this city the feel that it has. We go on riverboat cruises, walk the river every day (our backyard is basically the river) and play on the playground that is on the bluffs bordering it. We play frisbee out there, throw rocks, have picnics. In the summer there are a lot of river activities and concerts. And guess where we decided to live?



Tip #2A, an extension of #2 I guess, is our personal recommendation. It isn't something for everyone but it works for us.
Live in the city.
Not the suburbs, not the outskirts. Be in the action! There are ALWAYS things to do and things going on in bigger cities. Mitch's work is a 4 minute car ride, or a 30 minute walk. We love being so close to everything and living so central. In my opinion, life in the suburbs is peaceful, and life in the city is fun. At least in cities that you are new to!



#3: SERVE
This is huge.
Huge.
Remember how I said there are really bad things about everywhere you go? Memphis has some. So did McAllen.
A main factor being poverty. It's really, really sad. It's also something I want to speak delicately about because I have many people dear to my heart who suffer with this. So I won't be sharing any personal experiences like that via the blog:)
Because we live in the main part of the city, we are in an area that also suffers from extreme poverty. There are a lot of needs and a lot of opportunities to serve where we are. I can promise you right now, if you go and find someone who is in need and you serve them, and you make it a regular part of your life, you will not have even so much as a fleeting thought of pity for yourself. Those feelings disappear.
You don't have to pay for someone's college or change someone's life. You just need to do something small. And that seed grows and grows and becomes something you want to nurture, something that coincidentally becomes the perfect anecdote to self pity as well as any loneliness.
My sweetheart has a heart of gold and spends 99% of his spare time serving others. Literally 99%. His job, first of all, helps better this city and the children receiving education. Beyond that, he goes to an underserved middle school and tutors the kids in the wee hours of the morning out of the kindness of his heart, because he cares about that one kid who has no parents to care. He spends hours a week driving sweet young men in our ward around everywhere. He checks their report cards and plays ball with them. He invites new members of our church over for dinner. We have missionaries over a lot. (this in the crockpot for tonight as I type... YUM. It's freezing here!)

Mitch one one side, Nick on the other, and their sweet, sweet young men in the middle.
First time the Memphis 1st Ward Young Men prepped and passed the sacrament by themselves.
Sorry.. shaky phone pic!
There are unbelievable examples of selfless people we are surrounded by. If we all served a little more, we'd all find ourselves so much happier!




#4: FREQUENT VISITS
Budget as much as you can to visit home as frequently as is realistic. Whenever Mitch goes on business trips, I frequently (not always) try to make a trip back to Utah. When there's a bigger gap in between visits, my mom is awesome and will come out to visit for a few days. (Speaking of, she is coming this weekend for Juliana's 1st birthday!! Hooray!) So really, not TOO much time ever passes before we see family. Especially when you factor in holidays. 
You might choose to go without some things (nice newer car, frequent shopping trips) and trade it for frequent flyer miles. We have one car and it is 10 years old with 125,000 miles on it. We don't plan on buying a new one any time soon.


It works for us and we'd rather spend that money on plane tickets.



(    And #5, if you are a parent:   )
REALIZE YOU ARE THE MOM NOW
What your mom did and provided for you, you now have that role for your little person(s). You literally CREATE their world and entire environment!! How happy is it? How happy is mom? What does mom "do?" Is she sad and calling her mom all the time crying? Or is she finding herself in a new environment, choosing to thrive and be happy?
^^Ouch. I have had a few of those moments where I have had to re-evaluate and switch gears mentally and pull myself out of a sulk-fest. It's going to happen!

You know those fleeting memories of your mom that you have from childhood? Little things she just 'did' everyday? For me, I remember things like my mom cooking happily in the kitchen, letting me 'help.' I remember her smiling all the time. Singing to us. I remember her talking to me all the time when we were in the car, I remember going on walks and on Saturdays, bike rides and riding in the Burley bike trailer with dad. I remember especially when I was younger, my parents taking us on a TON of weekenders/little trips. Those memories are my childhood. Since having Jules, I think frequently, "What will she remember as her childhood?" I constantly am asking myself, "What will her memories of me be?"



I make a constant effort to be positive, to be happy. I make an effort to do something fun for Juliana every day outside of playing with her toys. I think one of the greatest reasons you should learn how to be happy wherever you are is for not only you, but for the sake of the happiness of your children. "The mood of the mother sets the mood of the home." Sorry, but it's true! No matter how you cut it :)




I hope this has been helpful to anyone in a similar situation. I know the transition can be hard.
I don't have this down. At all. I have bad days. These are my theories of how to combat it, things I work on daily.  This is what I have found makes me happiest. 

But:


You don't have to just survive and endure and be homesick. This is LIFE!!! You have ONE! You are young ONCE! Live it up. Enjoy it. Take risks. Decide to be happy. Decide to serve. Decide to become a real partner to your spouse. When you are living life to the fullest, you truly are the happiest.

3 comments

  1. I love everything about this post. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love you! You are wise beyond your years. I couldn't be more proud of the beautiful woman you are!!

    ReplyDelete

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