I just love the belief most children have that they can be and do anything they want when they grow up. I feel like somewhere during life, as we grow up, something in many of us shifts and we start to believe that we’re “too old” to make career changes, big moves, or other life-direction changes.
I hope to encourage you if you’re feeling like you’re past the point in life where you can make changes, or follow the dreams that have always been in your heart. Those dreams are there for a reason — especially the ones that are continually creeping to the front of your mind.
My Journey to Charleston
The first time I came to Charleston was my senior year in high school, spring of 1996. One of my best friends’ family had a vacation home on Kiawah Island, and they graciously invited me to join them for their spring break trip. I remember falling SO in love with the Charleston area, the beaches, the historic homes, the dreamy Spanish moss, the charming window boxes, and the smell of the salt marsh. We were on the beach on our last day, and I clearly remember telling my friend that one day I was going to live here.
Fast forward 25 years and I was married, my husband and I had recently had our first daughter, and we decided to take a trip to Isle of Palms. Once again, I fell more in love with the Lowcountry. After this trip, I shared with my husband my dream of one day living in the Charleston area. He agreed he really loved it here, and maybe that could be something we do when we retire. My desire to move to Charleston continued to grow and I was constantly looking at home prices (which were MUCH lower than they are now), and researching the towns just outside of Charleston.
We came back to Charleston two more times and then decided for my husband’s 40th birthday to plan a trip, just the two of us, and meet with a realtor to seriously discuss the possibility of moving 785 miles away from our current home in Illinois. During this trip to Charleston, we met with a wonderful realtor, fell in love with the charming town of Summerville, and found a neighborhood and house plan that we both loved. Full of excitement, fear, joy, doubt, anticipation, and uncertainty, we headed home and began to talk about our plan to follow our dream.
Now if I was to tell you that we were both 100% sure this was the right choice for our family, I’d be lying — we had doubts.
We would be leaving our family and friends. We didn’t know anyone in South Carolina. There are hurricanes in South Carolina. My husband was leaving a secure job he loved. Some people we loved and respected questioned why we were moving. We would be moving our girls away from the place they called home their whole lives. And we had some pretty emotional late-night discussions on whether this was the right decision for our family and the future.
But once we both agreed that we were going to pursue our dream, the puzzle pieces that we were unsure about all fell into place — better than we could have imagined. Our house in Illinois sold very quickly. The house plan that we wanted to build in Summerville had a spec home (same model) that would be ready shortly after our closing date in Illinois. Then the company my husband loved offered him a position to work remotely from home in South Carolina once we relocated.
So in July 2019, a dream that I had in my heart since 1996 came true!
Every doubt that we had about chasing this dream ended up turning into a blessing.
We love our neighborhood and neighbors, we found a wonderful church, and we made incredible friends. My husband loves his new position with his company. Our girls love it here and have made great friends — plus we joined an excellent homeschool co-op. I’ve even opened my own business in Summerville, and I get to share my love for Charleston and the Lowcountry with others as a job!
I’m SO grateful we followed our dream . . . every time I’m walking the charming streets of Charleston to take pictures for my business, every time I get to take a short drive to the beach for a sunrise or sunset walk, every time I walk the beautiful trails in our neighborhood, every time I pull into my driveway and see the palm tree in my front yard, every time I sit on my back patio and watch the egrets and blue herons by our pond, every time I get the opportunity to volunteer out at Magnolia Plantation, and every time I get the opportunity to share my deep love for Charleston with ladies who attend my Girls Getaway weekends that I host in the spring and fall.
I share this story with you to say . . . “don’t ever give up on your dreams”, you’re not too old, you can chase dreams once you’ve had kids (they’re more adaptable than we are) and it may work out better than you ever imagined!