The Active Explorer at the Utah state line

My journey toward a life worth living: A challenging move

The Active Explorer at the Utah state line

Finally crossing into Utah after days of driving.

Warning…. I’m about to get personal, so if that irks you, it’s time to sign off. This post is about the challenges surrounding my recent move, and all of the support that made it all come together in the end.

 

First an apology. The last few weeks have been some of the most challenging I’ve faced in years so this blog has suffered both in the quality and quantity of posts.

In past posts, I’ve shared how I departed corporate life, my quest toward a life worth living, and how the outdoors has been my constant therapist. I feel I should clarify something, all of my life has been worth living, in fact, I’ve been very fortunate. This journey is about creating a life that achieves balance between work, play etc. in a way I haven’t achieved in the past. This is a raw post that shares how even positive change can be tough.

The next step in my journey was a move to a city where I could have a better quality of life. It’s the first completely selfish (major) decision I’ve ever made. (Okay, I’m sure I have an ex or two who may disagree…) I can safely say it hurt some people close to me and for that, I am sorry. At the end of the day, I have only so many years in this life and I want to enjoy them fully. I love my family, but they aren’t by my side every day. In fact, no one is. It’s just me and I have to live life accordingly.

The process of leaving Orlando wasn’t very smooth. It had both logistical and emotional challenges.

When I decided to move to Salt Lake City, I also opted to downsize and simplify. That meant getting rid of many possessions. The easy things were furniture, clothes, and simple material things. The challenge came in parting with heirlooms passed down to me from my grandparents. Wow. I’d never totally gotten over their death and now I had to part with their things. That was a heart ripper.

I pondered old photos of the tent my grandparents lived in during their young-married years. Then I recognized that they lived the simple life I desired and surly would understand. So I let go.

Next, I had to turn over office files to my business partner and trust that he could handle the responsibility. I had to give up control. Then I realized that to be free, I had to quit controlling. So I let go.

My son and his girlfriend had moved into the guestroom and my moving was going to displace them. I felt guilty and I knew I’d miss them terribly. Then I realized it was time for them to lead an independent life. So I let go.

My daughter and I have always been close and leaving her was a bitch (sorry, no nice way to say it). But she is living her life and I have to live mine. I hope that someday she will understand that I doesn’t mean I love her any less. I had to let go, and go.

I had another personal blow that I won’t detail, but I wouldn’t be in Salt Lake if it weren’t for the experience. Everything in life has a purpose and I’m grateful regardless.

To sum it up, I had to let go of so much and so many emotions collided in such a short space, that I wasn’t sure I could pack and complete a critical writing assignment at the same time. Then something special happened. My close family and friends rallied around me as I’d never experienced before. Each provided a piece of the support I needed, packing, planning, cooking, cleaning, shoulders to cry on, advice, encouragement… Every time I felt like I was about to fall, there they were propping me up.

My sister stayed on with me for the drive across country and for the first few days in my new home. She tolerated moods that ranged from joy to tears over the course of 2,300+ miles. Along the way, I received news that my writing assignment was well received. Tremendous relief. I’d pulled it off in spite of everything – thanks to lots love and support.

I never want to give the false impression that my path toward a life worth living has been without bumps. This post should illustrate that even positive change isn’t always easy. Sometimes it just sucks. Still, I’ve kept my eyes focused on my goals and each change brings me closer to where I want to be. Often, I thought I was on this journey alone, but I realize now how much support I’ve had all along. I just didn’t need to draw on it until now.

Today I dropped my sister off at the airport and spent my first full day working in my new hometown. The spectacular Wasatch Range at the edge of town summons me for an afternoon hike or a day of skiing. I know I’m home, but I’ll miss all of the people that I left behind who selflessly helped be come to this place both physically and emotionally. You know who you are. Thank you.

Mule Hollow Hike

Lunch break with my sister on Mule Hollow Trail in Big Cottonwood Canyon near Salt Lake City.

Comments 24

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  1. Thanks for sharing the story. I knew you were moving but didn’t realize how difficult this was for you. Obviously, making changes like this are hard but this move dealt with people close to you in your past and present. Hope you love Utah and enjoy calling it home.

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      Thanks Jeremy! It was tough but I’m thrilled to be here. Granted I’m still spinning a bit from some things, but that will pass and life will move on. I know you understand how that can be.

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  2. Welcome to Salt Lake! Maybe we’ll cross paths!
    Although your journey may not have been easy, it sounds like it was necessary, empowering, and character-building. I’m sure you are now stronger because of this step into your new path of life.

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  3. Looking forward to meeting you if you ever come to any blogger events. I love to travel too but mostly stayed west coast so far. It is hard to leave everything behind and start fresh. I did it when I moved from CA to AZ and 2 years ago when I moved from AZ to UT. I admire your strength to do hard things!

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  4. Good for you! I lived there twice… pretty much all of the 2000s. Take time to appreciate the new experience. That first year is special because everything is so new. You are in the dead center of the West so pretty much the entire Western US is your playground! I rambled around a lot so holler of you need any recommendations. I’ll leave you with a couple- Lone Peak, Albion Basin (Alta) in the summer has great wildflowers and lots of Moose (keep a sharp eye- many walk right by them) and Upper Muley Twist (Cap Reef). If you have time try to get out soon to catch the spring bloom in the desert. Enjoy and good luck.

    Brian

    PS. Check out the Wasatch Mtn Club

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      Sorry so slow replying, still getting into the groove here in SLC. I’m going to use this list and check out the Wasatch Mtn Club. Thank you so much and keep the ideas coming. Let me know if you’re ever back in town so we can catch a hike.

      Erika

  5. Good for you Erika! Utah has been my home away from home this year and I am loving it (except the winter inversion, gross!). I look forward to sharing some adventures soon!

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  6. Way to go Erika! The decision to live your life the way you choose is not always the easiest but it will be the most rewarding and real! Others come and go but you will always be with you, so make the time count. Best of everything to you always!

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  7. Erika, I have been thinking about you today and looked up your blog. What a bittersweet time for you. I know the adventures and the harmony will soon soothe your heart! – Fondly, Mary

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