Growing up in Minnesota, I never imagined that I would not, not live there. When I imagined my life as an adult, I assumed I would be married there, having kids there. Probably not in the town that I grew up in, but surely in another Minnesotan city. I guess I didn’t know that leaving was a reasonable option. And like, how do you even go about doing it?
When my boyfriend was transferred out of Minnesota for work, he became my fiancé and I followed him. Even while we lived in another state, we both assumed that we’d end up back in Minnesota. Our family was there, most of our friends were there…it’s just what you do, right?
We had been married for a couple of years and we were ready to start a family. This was the time that we were going to pack our bags and head back home. But is that what we really wanted? Do we love our family? YES. Do we love the snow? NO. Did we want an adventure? YES. Did we want warm weather? YES. The ocean? YES. A place to call our own? YES. When I mentioned to my husband that maybe we look at moving someplace other than Minnesota, he was thrilled. He assumed that I’d want to move back to Minnesota and that it was the only thing on the table. It wasn’t.
From dream to reality
I’m going to tell you something sort of embarrassing. Remember the movie “Safe Haven” with Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough? (There’s a good chance you don’t remember it, haha). It took place in some small town on the southeastern coast and I was so taken with it while I watched the movie that I suggested, “What about someplace like Charleston?”. We took a road trip down the coast and checked out a couple of cities and of course fell in love with Charleston. I can’t believe that movie is what ultimately led us here!
Was our family disappointed that we weren’t moving home? Probably YES. Was it scary? A little. Has it been hard not to be near family? YES. Do I miss our family? OF COURSE. But are we happy? We are so incredibly happy here. We have met friends and neighbors that have become family. We have created a life that we are proud of and that we are so happy living. I’m not sure if it’s just something about Charleston, but of all of the places that I have lived, I have never met so many people who moved to a city just because they loved it.
Sometimes I can’t believe that my kids get to grow up 15 minutes from the beach. I can’t believe that I get to ride a boat in the Charleston Harbor. I’ll never get over going to pick strawberries at the beginning of May. That I can swim in a pool in November. That I live amongst all of this incredible history. That we live close to the beach and the mountains. These things may seem trivial, but when you add them up, they absolutely contribute to our family’s quality of life. There are so many times I audibly say out loud “What is this life??”. I can’t get over that I get to live here. But we made this dream become reality. We took the risk and moved to a place we only dreamed of living.
What makes you happy?
Maybe it is the snow and the cold! Maybe it is living in the city that you grew up in. All of that is so wonderful. I just want you to #LoveWhereYouLive. Because now that I truly do, I know how vital it is to our happiness.
What 2020 has taught me is that life is truly too short to not love where you live. I know not everyone has the flexibility and freedom to move somewhere else. I know that because of jobs, obligations, financial constraints, it might not seem possible. But if you really aren’t happy with where you are, look for ways that you might make your dream life work. If you could live anywhere, where would it be? I’m here to tell you, it is possible that you could have a life there. And it could be the life that you’ve always dreamed of.