Because it’s not supposed to be easy.

Today was my one-year-visit-to-Nashville-a-versary.

I woke up excited this morning. Because so much of my life has changed in the past year. Many of my friends have welcomed new babies, others got married, several more engaged and even a few more made similar journeys to mine and moved somewhere new.

But then today was difficult. I miss my best friends, who live hundreds of miles away, specifically the one I hoped would move with me. I missed having people who understand that I sometimes overreact, but I’m harmless with my intentions. I missed Texas a little more than I ever expected I would.

I worked a double today. I made nothing that even resembled what I should have given the amount of hours I worked. Working in new atmospheres is difficult not only as one attempts to figure the ins and outs of their jobs, but also the people they work with. I used to think people were easy – everyone had a formula and once I discovered their formula, life with them was easier. I’ve since changed my opinion. People aren’t easy, and there’s so much that goes into a mood. So I spent the day kind of upset that I didn’t understand these people and didn’t feel they understood me. And I sulked.

Because this feels right in so many ways, but so much of it is hard. And I just want to hug my mom some days. Other days I want to hold my friends’ babies, and even more days I spend wondering why I don’t have their lives. Not because I prefer one or the other, I just wonder sometimes.

Which makes days like today less fun. And it feels right, but it scares the hell out of me.

And today was hard.

But then I thought about it, and what the hell else would make sense on the anniversary of the biggest life change I’ve ever made? Life is hard. Life proverbially knocks you down and breaks pint glasses all over you (that actually happened today). But then great things happen and it all makes sense.

It always, always makes sense.

A year ago I was dating a perfectly nice guy who I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t like more. He texted me in the cab from the airport, “you’ll probably find someone in Nashville you like a little more.” I haven’t yet, but I suppose he picked up on something I didn’t just yet.

I baked him cookies a few months later – heart-shaped chocolate chip cookies that I mailed to him. He broke up with me the next day – three days before Valentine’s Day. That wasn’t fun. It felt kind of like how I did earlier when I fell on ceramic tile with a pint glass in my hands.

And here I sit in Nashville, a year later. Cuts and bruises and all.

Because life isn’t easy. But it always makes sense.

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On letting go.

A friend of mine once told me I was a walking hyperbole. I’ve kept the definition with me through the years – mostly, because it’s hilarious, and also because it’s melodramatic and honest – two things I try very hard to be as often as I can.

I’ve never loved the idea of doing things in any way that doesn’t make an impact. Like most everyone on the planet, I’d like for my life to mean something. So I try to do things that matter. That’s me at my very core I suppose. That filters into everything, though – I don’t believe in coincidences because I’d like to think actions matter and are often meant to be; I try to be intentional with the things I say and do; I attempt to tell people how special they are to me as regularly as I can because I want everyone I love to end their days knowing how important they are to me, at the very least.

But I’m also very terrible at letting anything go – because everything and everyone meant something at some point. It’s a bit humorous the amount of cardboard boxes and tissue paper I save – because what if I need it later. That’s a silly illustration, yes; however, it’s kind of how I think about life. I have a desk full of greeting cards at my parents’ house and another box I’ve saved in the years since I’ve moved away from them. I still have t-shirts from old boyfriends, because they really are the most comfortable. I’m not on bad terms with anyone I’ve ever dated – to my recollection, at least – and feel like I could call any one of them if I needed anything.

I suppose I just realized how exhausting that is, though. To carry around all of this baggage – memories of things that didn’t work and people who didn’t love me. Why do they get so much of my life – still? The answer is simply that I’m that kind of person, probably – and I don’t expect to go changing that at the drop of a hat. But why, under the guise of any reasonable thought – would I walk around caring nearly as much as I do about people who didn’t care nearly as much about me as I did about them?

I don’t mean this in a resolution-y way or anything like that, but I think I’m pretty much done. I’m tired.

I walk around this amazing little town I’m in and meet wonderful people – warm hearts I should want to know more about, but I don’t get to know them. I say it’s nice to meet them and maybe talk about seeing them at something later down the line, but it’s nothing more than polite pleasantries that I rarely follow up on. I get in my car and turn on whatever words sound like home for a minute, and I equate them to people who aren’t around me anymore. I crawl into bed and say my prayers when I remember to do so, and I daydream a little, and then when I’m lucky I dream for real. And they’re never about any of those people I just met.

And that’s just not fair.

In an ideal world where I’m far less emotional than I actually am, I’d decide to be better about all of it – I’d forget those memories until appropriate times for nostalgia and I’d do my best to find some things that make my heart beat a little faster. I’d surround myself with as much of that as I could. And that would be quite sufficient indeed. And life would go on like it seems like it does for most people.

But that seems just as exhausting.

So, for now, I guess I’ll just work on being done. I’ll work on letting go.

To quote my sometimes favorite sometimes most hated scene from Love Actually:

“Enough now. Enough.”

Christmas

This is – without a doubt – the hardest Christmas I’ve had in my life so far. I think it’s okay to admit that.

I cried on the way home after my work Christmas party last night. The drunk, ugly cry most people don’t usually admit to doing. But it happened, so I’m going to own it. It’s mostly just hard missing my family and realizing the people I’ve been talking to about it also live 800 miles away.

But I guess this morning after I sobered up I realized that’s not the worst thing in the world – at least I have people to talk to. Some people probably don’t. I threw myself a ridiculous pity party yesterday and kept thinking, “I’m just not great at making friends. People don’t like me much.”

I’ve said many dumb drunk things in life, but that has to be one of the stupidest. I have the greatest group of people who love me. Granted, they don’t live close enough to grab coffee with and there’s too many miles between us to do anything but drink wine via skype together. But I have them. And they sent me the sweetest cards this year so I wouldn’t feel alone. I’m so thankful for that.

I’m blessed to be in Nashville. I do love it here very much, and I know it will eventually feel like home – or it won’t and I’ll move on – and I keep trying to remember that when the growing pains hurt and living life is uncomfortable. I’ve met some really amazing people with huge, amazing hearts and I know God put them in my path for a reason. I’m excited to see what He’ll do with those relationships as time goes on, and I try to remember that when I feel lonely. I’ll try harder to remember this all sometimes.

And so it’s Christmas Eve. My second most favorite day of the year. I think I’ll go to church and hang out with Jesus – it’s His second favorite day of the year I would guess, too. And remember why I’m here in the first place. I guess it’s easy to lose perspective on the whole thing – why we celebrate love so much this time of year. I suppose that’s the easiest love to forget about, too. Then I’ll make some pancakes in the morning, like my dad always does. I’ll open some presents under my own little tree. And I suppose there is something I love about that. My own little tree in this little house I call home. I’m going to cuddle with my puppy and drink a ton of coffee. I may even watch a Christmas movie or two. And it’ll be my very own little Christmas, I suppose.

The British Boy.

I went on a date with a British guy once. He was only visiting and it was his last night in town, but I like a good story and I’m a bit hopeless on occasion, so I went out with him.

He was reading a book in a bar when I walked in. Dostoyevsky, no less. I have no idea who does that – Englishmen I suppose. He was typically British and made fun of many things I had to say and my wish to google most everything I didn’t already know, and eventually banned me from doing so. Which meant I wasn’t able to look up directions to the place I wanted to take him for dinner, so we wandered into another bar where he made me order and I – of course – accidentally picked the worst pizza on the menu.

But we talked and I made him repeat lines from “Pride and Prejudice,” because when you’re on a date with an English guy you’ll probably never see again, doesn’t that make the most sense? He obliged and provided me with more laughs than I can recall.

Then he told me I would fit in well in England because everyone kind of walks around with a level of pseudo-embarrassment happening and it’s mostly fun to just make it worse. He also called me a pixie and – dreams.

So we talked and talked a little more and I said something so dumb his only response was to give me a hug because whatever I said was so pitiful.

And the night continued and then the night ended. And I laughed so much, which I hadn’t done in awhile before then. And it was mostly just a sweet evening.

I don’t really know why I wanted to remember that story today, other than it was a silly night I thoroughly enjoyed in the name of crossing something off my bucket list.

And sometimes I think that’s okay. To have fun in the name of a story.

Changes.

It’s the end of the year, so a lot of people are spending a lot of time talking about what they learned about themselves this year – and what they plan on changing next year. I’m no exception, I suppose.

But I’ve tried to avoid it. Mostly because thinking about change is scarier than the actual changes. We never notice change – it just happens. Life is fluid. Until we sit back and reflect. And then we remember how things used to be.

And that’s when we realize how much is different.

There’s this thing about change – as the time passes, more things seem to change than stay the same. I’m conflicted on the whole thing – I like the idea of new adventures and the opportunity to tell new stories. But sometimes I just want things to stay the way they are. Because change is uncomfortable and terrifying and growing pains are hard and they hurt.

The thing about change – and time – is I guess it doesn’t really care what I think about it.

It just happens. Sparks fade. People move. Things get complicated. And change happens.

And we don’t realize it – until we do.

So mostly I’m happy about all the changes.

I like where I am. I like who I’m surrounded by. My heart is filled with joy more often than it’s not.

But I can’t help but miss that spark. And a smile or two. Or miss the old times.

So it goes, I suppose. And I know one day I’ll miss these old times like I miss those, for reasons I don’t even realize yet.

And so it goes.

For now.

There’s something to be said for accepting who you are. There’s also something to be said about realizing you’re not there.

For now, I laughed at the moon on the way home. It wasn’t perfect either. But today was one for the books – and I’ll probably never be cool or have it all together.

And for now, that’s okay.

No Texting.

I started a personal Advent calendar. It’s filled with 25 personal challenges. Because it’s me, we all know, “Be Taylor Swift today,” is included (I stole that from the creator of this idea, and I can’t wait for it). It also includes, “sign up for yoga today,” “go for a run,” “write something, for fun,” and all things of that nature. I’m taking photos, rest assured, so there will be a pictorial representation at the end. Some are ridiculous, but I’m excited about them all.

Today’s — the first day, because I’m a bit behind — was not to text anyone for the whole day. I was allowed email and social media, because I kind of had things going on this week and couldn’t fall off the grid completely, but it was still nice.

It was wonderful to be forced into my feelings. I know, you’re thinking, “Wait, you’re pretty emotional, Sarah. Some might say overly so. How could you ever even imply you don’t like to feel things?”

Emotions, not feelings. Emotions are fleeting, while feelings linger. Feelings scare the shit out of me. So I avoid them.

Except today I had to feel things.

Because I couldn’t text my ex and tell him how much that Christmas song reminded me of him. Or happy holidays. Or any of the gray area I like to stay in sometimes.

I couldn’t text my best friend and tell her how her adorable baby (who’s the background on my phone) made my day approximately 14 times, but also made me miss them incredibly.

I had to be in the moment.

But I got to see so many smiles. I got to make new friends. I found a light in some of them that I’ve been desperately seeking for most of my life.

I cuddled with my puppy this afternoon.

I missed a Ryan Adams show and missed my friends terribly.

But I drove down the highway and saw my new home and all the wonder that surrounds it.

I looked at my Christmas tree and felt joy. And I smiled, because, shit, life is just so damn good.

And I guess I got to thinking a bit. About what I’m doing, because that’s what most people do when they have free time. They think about life and their lives and other people’s lives and how it all rolls around together in this crazy world.

So I got to thinking about life and what I’m doing with mine. Some days I don’t know. Most days I don’t know. But here feels so right.

One of my new friends told me the other day that, “things fall into place when they’re meant to be.” It’s funny how that works. Life has been so good to me so far, but it felt like everything I really wanted was one step away. I suppose it still could be, but it doesn’t feel like it. Anything feels possible, and even that feeling — that was enough to make the move worth it.

And I just feel joyful. For life and all that it is. It’s beyond thankful — I guess you might even call it happy.

I think this is the first time in my life when I can say that I’m truly, without any glimmer of a doubt, so happy.

Not because things are perfect. I work a lot. I have a couple jobs. I don’t really sleep, and I’m getting to know a ton of people in a strange place all at once. During the holidays. Away from my family.

But you know, I was thinking today about my definition of happiness. I don’t know that I’ve ever defined it as anything more than some imperfect version of a little more than contentment with a little joy mixed in. But I really thought about it today — I’ve spent the better part of this year specifically chasing happiness — what the hell is it then?

That moment where I feel so much love that there aren’t any words.

And I guess that’s what I’m getting at, what I haven’t been able to express since I’ve been here. The reason it all feels okay.

And I just feel loved.

I miss my parents more than I ever thought possible, and I don’t discount their love or any of the love I’ve felt from friends and family prior to this moment.

But that’s just the best way I can explain it.

I just feel loved.