Thank you God for putting me here, for this life, for another day on this planet.
I like to write an annual post that reflects on my years in Colorado and how I feel about my home here today. Every year, I am reminded of that enormous leap of faith I took in 2010 when I moved to Colorado. Leaving behind my friends and family was hard. Moving to a place that was magnetically tugging me was not.
But moves that take you far away from family have challenges.
I have a granddaughter now and my daughters have active lives that sometimes cannot include me because of distance. I’ve always missed them, but as I get older, I miss them even more. I miss the ability to help out when one of them isn’t feeling well or to attend a birthday celebration or just drop by and take one of them out for dinner. We have concentrated blocks of time when I’m back east, and that is wonderful, but spontaneous interactions are no longer possible.
Many of us move to a new place to be closer to family or to start a new life or even, in some cases, to move away from family and we hope it all works out.
For me it did. I wasn’t looking for a partner, but I met my husband here. We’ve built a beautiful life sharing our love of the outdoors and activities like hiking and cycling. Though it took awhile, I’ve made friends of my own. I’ve made a life here. A life that allows for lots of solitude in nature.
Whenever I’m in the mountains, I’m stunned by how much those rugged peaks, snowy trails and alpine lakes move me. How they continue to calm my soul and nurture my heart.
A few days ago, I drove to the airport to pick Rob up late in the evening.The shadows were long and the grass was a deep and rich green and I wanted to stop the car and just sit down in the meadows I was passing.
Instead I cried. The tears came without warning while I turned up a Bruce Springsteen song and said a sudden prayer of thanks. Thank you God for putting me here, for this life, for another day on this planet.
What I was feeling was a spiritual sense of agape, combined with a deep awareness that I won’t be here forever. Awareness that today, this moment is all I have for certain. And what an extraordinary moment. Colorado has an all-too brief period where all the hillsides and fields are green before they turn golden in the dry summer heat and inhaling that loveliness can make your heart swell.
The awareness of the gift of mortality is not morbid. This is a fact.
I don’t feel like this every day. Some days I rush through my to-do list without seeing beyond the schedule I have created for myself. I’m not always able to take in the natural world in such a way. In fact, lately I’ve been worried about this distance from my girls, from my most dear friend, Chris. Airfare has skyrocketed and flights that were once plentiful now fly on a more limited schedule. I miss my children, I ache for time with my granddaughter. Spending time with Chris is not something I want to just do annually any longer.
I worry what will happen as I creep into my 70’s seven years from now. I worry about being alone here if something happened to Rob or I. What will happen if a day comes when my body just can’t travel as easily as it does now? I like to think I’ll be a trail-blazing traveling granny hoisting her own suitcase into the overhead bin well into my 90’s, and that is certainly possible. But what if I’m not?
Family is everything to me. Thank goodness my daughters call and FaceTime often. We are fortunate to have the resources to cough up the money to be with our families, but I do have days where I want to move back home. Then I think, wait. Isn’t this home?
When I set out on the journey to seek home, I thought there had to be a place where I would suddenly be free to be me. I thought I was like any flower that needs just the right condition to truly flourish. Moving west did provide the freedom to discover all the parts of me I had neglected. And I did find home. I eventually realized that ‘home’ was inside me. Home was in my heart.
Colorado is everything I dreamt it would be and more. I’ve thrived in the open spaces and lack of density. The opportunity to regularly witness hawks, bald eagles, coyotes, lots of bunnies, deer, moose and marmot is not something I’ve ever taken for granted. It’s not so much that I found myself here; I just remembered all the things I hold most dear in this life.
I have no regrets about my relocation.
Yet life doesn’t remain the same. Life changes daily just as I do, and the questions I have about the future are not something to be ignored.
So as I reflect this year, twelve years into my Colorado adventure, I hold two opposing emotions in the same hand. One is the knee-shaking gratitude to live in such beautiful country with the one I love. The other is a deep and sometimes painful yearning to be closer to my daughters and granddaughter.
A decision can be both things at the same time.
It is rare that anything in life is simply one thing or the other.
When I cried over the field of green, I felt gratitude and bone-shaking love for something I know will not last forever.
I think that when we cry tears of happiness, we also touch upon the sadness that lies just underneath. We know that what is joyous today is not guaranteed tomorrow.
We hope, we plan, we set an intention, but all we have is this one moment. One beautiful, extraordinary, to-be-treasured moment.