This time of year always makes me nostalgic. Three years ago was such a whirlwind that I believe I’m still processing the emotions of all the changes that occurred in just six weeks of my life. Most of the year, I pretend to be a normal grown up, but for this brief period I allow myself the freedom to remember and relive what I felt.
I’ve always been the good girl. The one on track, the one who didn’t break the rules, the one who made the good grades. I was the girl your parents encouraged you to be friends with because they wanted you to be more like me. I know I sound rather full of myself in saying this, but I actually had adults tell my friends these things. And people wonder why I have friend issues.
My life was on the right trajectory course. I went to a good Big 12 school, graduated at the top of my class, went to an even better (academically) school for my graduate work and thrived there. While pursuing my master’s degree, I struggled with what to do next. I eventually settled on getting a job and paying off my student debt before choosing a higher degree course.
I moved close to home, but still far enough away to be independent. I found not one, but two good jobs. As a music instructor, the more the merrier is the motto when it comes to jobs. I had friends nearby, family close, and things were going perfect.
Basically, I was living my life by the book. I could probably even capitalize that and go with by the Good Book. I didn’t break the rules. I didn’t take risks. I didn’t stray from the path set before me.
Until I did. Until I met this guy and he helped me see that dancing off the path was even more delightful than trudging down it. Until he looked into my soul, struggled to find his words, and told me that he loved me. Until he asked me, less than three months after meeting me, to move across the country to live with him.
That was completely outside of the plan. Nowhere in the plan was there room for me to fall in love and run off into the sunset. Nowhere was it written that my love story would involve cohabitation prior to marriage.
I wasn’t that girl. I didn’t take those kinds of risks. I didn’t give up jobs, move away from the family I’d worked so hard to be geographically close to, leave my friends. That wasn’t me.
Until it was. Until I resigned my contracts at both fabulous jobs. Until I hugged each student a little tighter than the last. Until I packed up my apartment one crazy Saturday and followed my heart to the North.
I heard it all. About what a mistake I was making. About how wrong this would go. They told me they wouldn’t be happy for me until there was a ring on my finger. They asked my parents how to pray for me to change my mind. They told me this could be the biggest mistake and regret of my life.
But it wasn’t. My mother remained my steadfast support during this time. I remember driving down our dirt road and asking her if she thought I was making a life altering mistake. I’ve carried what she told me in my heart ever since.
I think the bigger mistake would be not going. Yes, you can always come home, but if you don’t follow him, you’ll always wonder about the what ifs. You don’t want to look back on your life and have not going as your one big regret. Follow your heart.
Oh the whirlwind. The day I moved in, he told me that he’d been picked up for the program and that Germany was a very real possibility. Twelve days later when he proposed and we basked in our love. Three days after that when he got the orders to Germany, but instead of the three to six months we expected to have before needing to be there we had one. That painfully long week of him working sixteen hour days while I tried to explain to both families that we really did mean this. The perfect day where he came home after eight hours of work to whisk me to a courthouse. The day, just six weeks after I moved into town, we drove out of town on our way out of the country.
He is by far the biggest risk I’ve taken in my life. From the risk of moving across the country to live with him to the risk of marrying him just shy of nine months after meeting him, he brought the reward of taking risks into my life.
I no longer live by the book. I’ve figured out that just when you think you’ve got life figured out, it changes. I’m still learning to delight in dancing off the path, but with the partner I have it’s always a joy.