Once upon a time there was a little girl in a little town in Ohio. If you would’ve told that little girl she would one day be living in Texas, she probably wouldn’t have believed you! News flash: That girl was ME.
I moved to Dallas in 2012 to complete my dietetic internship and have been here ever since! When I was applying for internships, I had this inkling that I wanted to try living somewhere outside of Ohio, where I was born and raised. Now, I love Ohio, but I just wanted a change. While thinking about where to apply my dad told me, “Dream big!” Then when I told my parents where I planned to apply (i.e. everywhere except Ohio), he said something along the lines of, “I didn’t know you’d go that big.”
And now, five years later (gasp!) I’m married to a devoted Texan and so am getting more comfy here in this hot but beautiful state! My parents now joke that I can navigate better in Dallas than I can in my own hometown (which is probably ten miles in diameter). And they are completely right! I’ve had to learn a lot of things on my own here that I didn’t have to there, in the passenger seat (where you really don’t have to pay attention to where we’re going and so I didn’t).
Moving for an internship wasn’t that difficult for me, really. I knew I’d have people to hang out with and roommates via the other interns. If I were to have moved somewhere brand new after the internship, that would’ve been way more challenging. Still, an across-the-country move is no small thing! I would highly suggest such a leap of faith to just about anyone. If we don’t challenge ourselves in some way from time to time, how will we grow?
Now to those things I learned:
1. I’m a pretty capable person.
I knew this in part, obviously, because I managed to survive my college years living a few hours from my parents. Also, because I did some fairly questionable things in college and still managed to come out as a confident person.
Much of my capability I can attribute to my parents! They raised my sisters and me with more of a hands-off approach than some parents use. Don’t get me wrong, they were very involved, loving, and caring! But we had plenty of free play time and spent lots of time outside and we learned some things the hard way – like if you hang off the back of the swing you might fall off and get hit with said swing in the face (no injuries were sustained). What I’m trying to say is, I had learned over a lifetime of trial and error, followed closely by encouragement, that I could make good choices and handle consequences if I made bad ones.
2. I am not 100% capable.
Again, obviously I knew this. But it’s put into a new perspective when you’re in a brand new environment, big or small. I’m sure you’ve been there before, and it’s really humbling to realize there’s a lot you don’t know or to ask for help. And it ain’t a bad thing to be reminded of this now and again.
3. Texas is hot.
I had a friend move to Texas about a year after me and she asked me what she should do with her winter clothes. “Box them up,” was my succinct answer. I mean, it’s like anywhere else with weather – sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s not so great. But Texas August, we need to talk…
4. Tejas is BIG.
Am I just stating the obvious in this list? I’ve been to four or five different cities in Texas since moving here, the farthest (from Dallas) being Lubbock (Wreck ‘em!) and let me tell you, you can just drive, and drive, and drive, and drive and sometimes still be in the state. Pluses: beautiful scenery, diverse/different areas all within driving distance, easy weekend getaways.
5. Home is Where the Heart Is
My family means the world to me, and three or four years ago I was about 95% certain I would end up nearer to Ohio than Texas. But with my heart in the hands of a man who could gush about Texas all day, I’d say Texas is just as equally my home as Ohio has always been. We can claim more than one place as home, right??
I have this little cousin that I think is one of the coolest little girls out there! Just before I got married she asked me if I liked Ohio or Texas better, and I told her that was a tough call because all my family lived in Ohio so I really, really like Ohio, but I really, really like Texas, too. And her wise, eight-year-old response to me was, “Well now you have family in Texas, too.” Just one of the many tidbits of knowledge she tossed my way during my wedding weekend.
6. And finally, take that leap!
I don’t know where you are right now – on the verge of a move, and/or terrified of one, deciding whether or not to date that guy, trying to maintain yourself as the Alpha dog in your pack of little kids – but I can tell you that it is essential to embrace change! They say it’s one of the only certain things in life, after all. And whether it’s a small change like a new haircut or a huge one like a career change, know that life is speckled with trials and error. You can take chances and make good choices. And you can handle the consequences if you make bad ones. You got this!!