Buckle up, my friends! Here’s a glimpse into the past decade of our lives, along with what I’ve learned through everything that we couldn’t have seen coming.
I’ve been sharing different parts of my story lately. Scott and I have also been sharing bits of our story together, so it was only a matter of time before I felt led to share some of it here on the blog with all of you.
Those who have followed along the journey in this space for years know a lot about my background with the ebbs and flows that have come along with the last ten years of challenges and surprises that have come our way.
Well, Scott and I got the opportunity to tell our story with our church community last weekend, and something hit me when I said the highlighted sentence below out loud. And I can only hope that reading this post offers some kind of takeaway or encouragement to you if you can relate to anything that I’m sharing.
“I feel like we have been training for this season of living in the unknown for the last ten years.“
This is the sentence that stopped me in my tracks after speaking because the truth and realness behind it is completely on point.
For those who are newer to this space and have no idea what I’m referring to, here is our story in as short of a version as I can tell.
Scott and I met while working for the Orlando Magic together (fun fact: I was a dancer for four years, and he was the mascot for nine years! This part of our lives could be the subject of an entire book one day. I’m joking, but really, it so could.)
Two weeks before our wedding, Scott unexpectedly lot his job, which felt more like losing his career in 2011. We went from house hunting and planning to start a family in Orlando to pausing all plans beyond figuring out what was next.
After a year of waiting, Scott got an offer for the same role with management responsibilities for the Detroit Pistons in 2012! I joined the dance team later that season, and we spent two years working together again.
I transitioned out of dancing and into personal training, in hopes of starting our family in 2014. It took a year of trying, but we got pregnant before the holidays in 2015. Sadly, we lost our baby at twelve weeks in. During this time, we were also dealing with Scott unexpectedly losing his job – again – for similar reasons and budget cuts.
The next few years were the darkest of my life. I felt lost, I battled depression, and I took an on-and-off hiatus from this space. It was a lot and we both needed a change.
So, we took a leap of faith, trusted that God had a plan for us, and moved to New York City in April of 2016.
Somehow, we nailed an apartment we could afford in a dreamy neighborhood, we both found steady and exciting jobs within a few months, and we were living comfortably enough to enjoy the benefits of living in the City.
(Did I mention that we had been continuing to try to grow our family this whole time?)
It took another year of trying, and I got pregnant for the second time before the holidays in 2016. Then we lost the baby at seven weeks. I took time to grieve, but pressed on and got back to work rather quickly. I was too busy to process everything at the same scale that it hit the first time. It was a good distraction.
Scott worked several jobs while running his consulting business, and I helped open and manage a fitness studio for three and a half years.
Back up to July 2017, and I got pregnant for the third time! (But it took another year after a loss to get there.) Many scary moments came during this pregnancy, but our little baby boy was born in March of 2018, and he is a true miracle.
After going back to work and developments in Scott’s business taking off in a big way, we decided that it would be best for me to transition out of my job and back into working at home while taking care of Skyler to support his travel schedule. I declared CHANGE as my word for 2020, but we all had no idea how much our lives would be impacted by the events that followed the COVID-19 outbreak, being quarantined, and new normals.
So, here we are … six months into this crazy world of living in unforeseen circumstances and not really knowing when things will make sense again for the third time. I honestly couldn’t tell you where we will be living and what activities will busy our days three months from now, and that is a weird and challenging concept to accept and embrace.
(You can find more answers to questions about our current plans here and here.)
And that’s where we’re at! It’s a lot to cram into a post, but it’s also nice to write it all out in one spot and reference for anyone who is catching up.
Now here’s the important part that I really wanted to share with you.
“Here’s what I’ve learned.”
First and foremost, God is good and He is faithful with a plan that we may or may not be looking for at the perfect time. It took me years of trying to understand why we were going through all of this to finally realize that searching for the answer would do nothing but drive me crazy.
The answer is there, but we can’t always see it. And that’s okay.
We don’t need answers in front of us in order to pursue hope and live out our dreams. Something powerful happens when we shift our mindset from searching for the why towards living for each day for the gift that it is.
After ten years of not feeling fully settled, I can attest that you will find more joy in living for the now over channeling your energy into thinking about the past or future. And trust me, I did that for quite some time and it was not a fun place to be.
If only we were at this point in our lives …
If only we could have bought that house in the suburbs …
If only our family felt complete five years ago …
Well, if all of those things happened on my terms and in my timing, I would have never left the bubble that I grew up in and actually experienced something called LIFE.
There’s nothing wrong with living where you grew up, so please don’t misread the fact that I’m thankful for our ability to have lived in different states and environments. There is a lot of character building that happens when you leave the comfortable life you knew to put yourself smack dab into a completely new and uncomfortable one.
You learn more about your strengths and weaknesses.
You realize just how strong of a person you can be, and when that version of yourself has to show up.
You create a new community and develop people skills that you never thought you had or needed.
You experience different cultures and things that feel strange at first, but then quickly become second nature.
You try new food and traditions.
You open your mind to other opinions.
You grow a backbone.
And, more than anything, you adapt.
If there’s anything that everyone reading this can relate to, it’s that the year 2020 has thrown all of us for a loop. Literally no one saw this coming … except for Him. And there will be many things that we learn from this period of time to take into the new chapters of our lives, whenever they happen.
There are good seasons and there are bad seasons, and every one that we experience will come to an end and lead into the next one. Just like everything I’ve mentioned in this post, this season, too, shall pass.
The biggest takeaway I want you to leave you with is to get past the why and why now questions. Just stop asking them. Instead, focus your energy into controlling what you can and channeling your focus into something positive that will impact your days now.
Make a list of things that you can change about your days, and do them.
Some of the biggest changes that I have made during this time include:
- living in the present to avoid feeling anxious and overwhelmed
- seeing the bright spots of my days, and looking forward to them
- doing things that make me happy like staying active, eating foods that fuel me (with room for treats), and spending time with people that fill my cup
- stressing less about things that don’t matter
- setting realistic expectations about my days and to-dos
- purging things that don’t spark joy
- listening to my body and making rest and sleep a priority
- unplugging when I need a reset
- reassessing and replanning
- leaning on loved ones for support
- sharing the journey
I definitely don’t have it all figured out, and I don’t think the feeling of having my life planned out in advance will ever happen for me.
But, what I’ve finally realized after living in this world of what-nows for ten years, is that you don’t have to. And guess what? Sometimes that can be a little fun.
Am I happy? I have my good days and bad days, just like everyone else. But for the most part, yes. I believe that happiness is a choice and that every decision that you make in your day attributes to your overall happiness.
So I want you to ask yourself …
Do you wake up every day thinking about everything that you have to do?
Or, do you take an intentional few minutes to wake up, breathe, think about what needs to happen, decide what fills your cup, and feel grateful for the process of everything in the interim?
If your answer is the first option, then I challenge you to try the second tomorrow. A lot can happen with a shift of mindset.
This might actually be the longest blog post that I’ve written, so I’m going to wrap things up with the thoughts you see above.
Thank you so much for reading, and know that I am here rooting for you.
Life feels messy right now, but it will get cleaner. There will be a time when it makes sense again, and then more times when it doesn’t.
Whatever season you’re in reading this in, just know that you’re not alone. We all have these seasons, and we’re all in this one together.
Just remember that there can be joy wherever and whenever you choose to see it. <3
Ashley @ A Lady Goes West
Heather! I’m so glad to be your friend. While I already knew your story of how you got here, I truly enjoyed reading your learnings and revelations that you’ve gained. You and Scott have built something beautiful, even if it isn’t what or how you expected it to be right now. You keep being YOU and keep living life. Love you! 🙂 xoxoxo
Ashley @ A Lady Goes West recently posted…The best workouts on Les Mills On Demand
I’m so glad that we’ve grown so close over the years! Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I’ve learned some of these perspectives from you! Thankful for our friendship and hope to see you again sooner than later! xo
Thankyou for sharing
I wish you and your family good health and happiness
Hi Kim! Thank you so much. I appreciate the support and kinds words 🙂
Thank you so much for this post. I cannot begin to explain how much I personally needed to read this. Things are really, really hard right now. I try to believe that everything happens for a reason, especially the things that we cannot see the reason, but man, it’s brutal and hard, and can make things so much more difficult, but we all manage to get through it.
Hi Jess! Ahhh, I totally feel you. It IS hard and can be a lot harder if you choose to focus on that. Thinking of you, praying for you, and sending you lots of strength and hope in this crazy season. Thank you for reading.
Heather, there are no words to describe how I feel about all that you wrote here. I have followed your journey through most of what you described here. Your outlook and positivity is inspiring to many I am sure who are reading this post. I could write SO much now as this post is extremely deep on many levels, but I will end by just saying THANK YOU for writing this.
I truly believe with all of my heart that your journey is going to lead you to a life filled with so much love, joy and happiness. Actually…..you are already at that place!
I love this post! Do you see yourself having more children in the future?
This post was so uplifting and just what I needed to hear. God has given you a true gift. Thank you for sharing it with your readers!