I am feeling inspired to write right now. It’s fall, it’s cross-country season and it is the third cross-country season that I am spending far away from home and far away from a job I loved.
This year is different though. It’s full of hope and possibility and more fulfilling coaching opportunities than I’ve had the last two seasons. Despite this feeling of hope and amazing possibilities, I still find myself sad and longing for the very thing I left behind when I moved to Colorado. I don’t get homesick often. Sure I miss my family and a few close friends, but I don’t find myself missing home often. During cross-country season though, it’s like clockwork. Fall, my favorite season, shows up in uncharacteristic ways presenting itself in a disguised version of what I’ve come to love, and in that disguise I find myself feeling underwhelmed by something that I love. I know that in part, this time of year will always present me with a feeling of emptiness that will, at times, feel like there is a giant crater sized hole in every direction I turn. At present though, it feels microscopic. I don’t feel completely empty and I am extremely thankful for that. I feel like the bowl in my kitchen cabinet with a chip on the rim. It’s functional, sturdy, fully usable, but a tiny piece of it is missing, and always will be.
Even with the life I’ve built and the opportunities I’ve been fortunate to stumble upon, I still feel a tiny bit chipped. I realize, now, that I always will. I can still coach and I can still seek new fulfilling opportunities but I can’t replace the unique situation I had back home. When something is a part of your life for so long, it simply becomes a part of your identity. That feeling of emptiness won’t ever go away because it made me who I am. It gave me everything I have. It inspired me to make radical changes and pursue magnificent opportunities that I wouldn’t have had the courage to pursue otherwise. I learned how to be true to who I was, I learned that I had value, that my passions were worth exploring, and that I have to follow my heart and allow myself to live a life true to my calling.
However, it still hurts me so much to know that something I was so connected to is now so far away, and yet it is also quite liberating to know that the very thing that built me drove me to create change. It confounds me that the thing that built me has also chipped away at my soul. It hurts me more than anyone will ever know.
Through all of this I have learned not to settle. I have learned not let fear of having nothing force me to settle for situations that aren’t right for me.