I recently spent a week in Indiana. It was just two weeks after moving to Virginia and saying goodbye to Chris. After spending 14 days in a new state, where the majority of the faces and places are unfamiliar, my brain was overloaded by the familiarity of my hometown.
One morning, I visited the park where I ran cross country for seven years. I set out to run the old high school loop, sure I'd remember the route. As I pounded down the ramp into the park, I couldn't believe how weathered it was. I remember when the bridge wasn't in existence - just a big hill we'd climb. Now the ramp looks to be a few years shy of replacement.
As I ran the trail, I noticed how familiar it was; the creek still runs alongside the dirt path, the same deep tree roots threaten to catch your foot if you aren't careful. I was overwhelmed by the comfort and safety of a familiar place - of home.
Throughout the week, I ran into childhood friends and ate at my old favorite restaurants. I drove down the same streets that I'd walked and run down hundreds of times as a child. The sweet houses had been updated, but felt familiar. The big Oak trees still begged to be climbed.
I noticed how good it felt to be home. The familiarity was soothing and put me at ease.
As I went throughout the week, I realized how important it is for us to know what puts our souls at ease. Recognizing how and when to find comfort is one of the greatest ways we can practice self-care. It shows maturity and self-respect when we take steps to put it into place.
I believe, deeply, in getting outside of our familiar spaces. I am confident in our move to Virginia and certain that, in a few months, it won't feel unfamiliar. I don't believe we are meant to stay within our comfort zones forever, no matter how comfortable they are. The things that challenge us change us and I'm so grateful to begin this new season of growth.
As we continue to make Virginia home over the coming months, I'm grateful to be reminded that, on the days when the unfamiliar feels overwhelming, a little self-care goes a long way. And when you really need a dose of familiar, you can always, always return home.