When we're neighbors we can go on walks after dinner.
When we live in the same town, we can take yoga together and have wine nights.
When we live closer together, we can make dinner and go on double dates.
I can't tell you how many times I have some variation of that conversation with my family and friends each week. It's like my coping mechanism for the distance between me and so many of the people I love: it won't last forever - you'll be with them soon - just hold on to the dream.
I was recently talking with Katie, who lives in Chicago, and was telling her that this spring, Atlanta is really starting to feel like home to me. And it feels so good - it's life-giving and fulfilling and makes me feel like I'm starting to understand my piece of this post-grad puzzle. But it also makes me feel panicked, and I didn't understand why at first. But then I asked Katie if she was going to buy a house in Chicago and she said: no, because then I'm stuck. I can't just leave.
And then I finally understood why it scares me that Atlanta feels like home. If Georgia begins to feel like the place I am meant to be, and if it begins to take up more room in my heart - if I love my job and relationships and am putting down roots - what happens to my plans? What happens to wine nights on my back patio with my far away friends?
It's like I've spent the last 2.5 years playing hard to get with this city: I can leave anytime. If you don't give me the job/husband/friends/life I want, I'll leave. I have lots of people I could run to, you know? If this doesn't work out, I'll be fine. I'll be out of here.
But as my relationships and career and life have begun to grow and develop, this city has slowly taken hold of my heart. The stakes are higher and it would be harder to leave.
Court and her family recently decided to move back to Virginia, and Ash and her family decided to buy a new house in Colorado - and both of their husbands are starting new jobs in their respective states.
So how can this be? How can my sisters both be doing what I'm doing in Atlanta, but doing it so far away?
I'm not sure, exactly. It doesn't make sense to me just yet, but I've noticed lately that life has a funny way of working itself out. Just when you think things aren't making sense it all, so often it seems lots of little pieces fall in to place. So for now, we just have to keep building the life and relationships that feel right in this moment, and doing our best to make the distance seem a little smaller than it really is.
And someday, when we're all sitting on our back porch, eating dinner after a long day together, we'll know that the time apart was worth exploring. And the time together? It'll be worth the wait.
I just know it.