I’m surprised by this, too.
I didn’t think anything could get weirder than 2020. There’s some curveballs you can never see coming, but rarely is there one every one of the 8 billion people on the globe experience in unison. Nothing more needs to be said (from me especially) about what last year was like. Who knew something so global could be so personal.
But this year – one that we had collectively attached individual significance to was supposed to be something else. For me, I thought it would be the year my life changed in exciting and wonderful ways with someone I’d been building that life with, through the pandemic and beyond. I thought I’d be getting back to so much of the work that I’d had on pause. I thought I’d be busting out my passport. I thought about a lot of things, but my current reality would have been nowhere on a 50-page list of possibilities.
Currently, I’m moving across the country to live in a charmed little city where I don’t know a soul. From San Francisco to Savannah I go.
I’m about 36 hours out of being surrounded by boxes. I’m about 4 days away from walking into my new home, one that’s very different from the city where I’ve spent the last decade.
And I wanted to share the story with you – which won’t ever be an announcement on social media with a long-winded post about all the reasons I made this change (bc as you’ll read, I don’t have many). But, because we’ve gone down a lot of roads together every week in this newsletter over the last 9 years, I wanted to share. The work we’ve done together has given me the courage to be brave. To not just live through heartbreak, but thrive past it.
The story I’m living is a story of choosing the unknown. Keep reading. If there’s something nudging at you, I think you’ll be encouraged to listen.
Earlier this year a breakup rocked my world and settled me into mourning a true love that didn’t work out. It was acute grief and it was hard… and it was beautiful. But hours into the darkness that exists on the other side of life after I texted one of my girlfriends, “Should I move to Savannah?” To which, bless her, she responded with “Let’s start with a trip.” And on that trip I was charmed. I also had a wild ghost encounter that had me sleeping on the couch in the hotel lobby, but even that was additive.
My main feeling was I need to come back here.
So, I did. All that I knew was that I wanted to be there. I wanted to make decisions for my life that were for me. And while I didn’t feel emotionally strong enough to do anything permanent, I loved the idea of a summer change. So I brought the logistics together in such a way that I could spend a few months in Savannah. For what? I wasn’t sure. To write. To be creative. To be alone. To get a change of scenery. To heal. To be happy. To not be so sad. To grow.
And apparently, to call myself forward. Because while I was there two very big things happened, seemingly “out of nowhere” – which if you’re paying attention to your life, is never really how it works. I found a home, a place to write my future, and I found a story, a woman who lived beyond enormous heartbreak to leave a legacy of great historical consequence for women and girls globally, which will write my future in another way.
The latter is one those things that feels life altering – not because this book has all the makings of something that will be wildly successful (it does, but publishing basically guarantees if you count on that you can count yourself right out) – because in researching, planning, puzzling, and writing and wondering and delighting in the ghost of this woman, I’m understanding my own journey so much more. Her life reminds me to keep living boldly into mine. To keep living past whatever is breaking our hearts to seek what we most want.
Our hearts get broken in a million different ways. Mine came from a partnership that ended. Yours might be from someone you lost. A job you left. A friendship that’s changed. An identity that’s gone. A way of life that’s been altered. Grief gathers where something of meaning was lost.
The scariest thing about a broken heart isn’t always the pain, it’s what we’re supposed to do after the pain subsides. What is life? What do I want? Where am I doing? How do I do this? Which way should I go?
If you’re asking these questions, let your broken heart carry you into the unknown. I know it feels like you might sink, but actually it’s the way. The not working out is what leads to the possibilities you couldn’t have ever seen any other way. It’s why people say “everything happens for a reason” which I couldn’t disagree with or dislike more. It doesn’t happen for a reason. But we MAKE reason out of the thing having happened. Because we have to. Because it happened.
You can do really hard things. You can listen to the whispers and the nudges of your life, even if they feel impossible and confusing. You can make changes without needing to know why first. There’s such adventure in decisions that create possibilities that you can’t even see yet, instead of choosing only the ones with outcomes you can see.
When people ask me “Why Savannah” I tell them the truth: “I don’t know. But I’m about to find out.“