Boulder was a mad love affair those first few months. My eyes glowed with the love I felt for that town, and I couldn’t wait to wake up in the morning and see what the world had in store for me.
June 30, 2020 will mark ten years since I moved from my home west of Boston to Boulder, Colorado. Ten years since I set out to create a new beginning and to figure out who I would be as a divorced woman with two college-age daughters and a furry best friend named Tigger.
Relocating was not a whimsical or impulsive decision, but rather something that felt like a calling, a magnetic pull to ‘come home.’ I had visited Boulder, Colorado two years prior to my move and everything inside me that had felt misaligned and chaotic shifted. I fell in love with the air, the pine trees, the Flatirons, the way the bricks on Pearl Street glistened after an afternoon rain. I enjoyed eating dinner by myself in a bar and talking to strangers. Staying at Chautauqua, without a television, sitting on a front porch, in one of the last cottages to be remodeled, listening to the magpies chatter, I began to sense myself again.
There had been no magic for me in the Wayland community. Though I left behind some dear friends and daily contact with my daughters, my soul had not been nourished there. I felt out of place, disconnected, and tired of trying to fit myself into the bucolic, pretty on the outside, suburban lifestyle.
Moving is not easy. Even though I felt I would finally be free of my mired-in-mud identity as a formerly married woman and mother, I didn’t realize that saying good-bye to a place that didn’t fit me would be painful.
And it was.
I remember how I felt on my last morning in my old home in Massachusetts. Excitement about the coming trip was strong, so I was surprised when tears began to build behind my eyelids. I walked the empty hallways of my old house, empty and so big now, and placed my hands on the walls, thanking them for all the years they had sheltered me and provided me with a home. There was a running film behind my eyelids of my babies coming home from the hospital in my arms, and little girls growing into young women behind their closed bedroom doors. The morning sunlight glowing in my backyard, lighting up my gardens, gardens born out of a deep grief caused me to weep. I wept with nostalgia for the young family that had begun life here with hope and joy.
I was ready to move forward, yes I was, but oh, how the past played and danced throughout this house. My marriage had been unhappy for many years, but this house had not just seen sadness; it had witnessed the life of a family. I don’t think I ever loved 11 Melville Place more than the day I left it.
So I said thank you.
And then I walked out to meet my daughters to say good-by for now; the hardest good-bye I have ever said in my entire lifetime. My children. Young women now. I knew that if I didn’t hold tight to the courage I needed to embark on this new life, my daughters might not find an example for courage when they, too, might need it.
I left in June, a beautiful time in New England, and began my journey, driving along the picturesque Merritt Parkway towards New Jersey. Crying and excited, ready to embrace the unknown and find home.
Ten years ago, I thought home could only be found west of the Mississippi, snuggled below the Flatirons with views of the plains for miles if you happened to be up high. Boulder is where I would finally find home, I just knew it.
Well, yes and no.
Because you know where I found home?
I found it inside me.
Not in Boulder, not in Louisville, not with friends or family or my husband.
Boulder was a mad love affair those first few months. My eyes glowed with the love I felt for that town, and I couldn’t wait to wake up in the morning and see what the world had in store for me. I was opening my heart a bit more each day and taking full advantage of all the choices. Would I stay out past 10? Date a younger man? See if I liked mountain biking? Try different yoga studios?
Who was I?
I began to see that this move was ultimately about removing the layers of ‘shoulds’ that had kept me from myself. Instead of living between the boundaries of who I thought I should be, I finally felt free to let my curiosity guide me.
There was a lot of trial and error.
And one day, about a year after I moved, I experienced a deep loss.
Loss is the surest way to feel alone in a new place. I wondered if I shouldn’t have moved, missed my old friends and family and yearned for the crisp New England fall air desperately. I experienced a deep and aching loneliness that comes from not being surrounded by those that have known you for so long words are almost unnecessary.
This led me to a wonderful therapist. She reminded me that I had made these choices and still had the power to make new choices.
Sometimes we need more reminders than we think we should need that our life direction is full of choices. Choices which are up to us. Sometimes we need to be reminded that even good choices and delightful adventures to start over will include both joy and sadness. We will feel both of those things simultaneously. This is reality.
I first met my husband in a bar after enjoying being a single woman for a long time, and we enjoyed a friendship for a few years before beginning to date and marrying. We acknowledge that our relationship would not have been possible earlier, before we had the time we needed to feel at home within ourselves.
I miss the first home I bought by myself, my ‘all me’ condo in Boulder. The moment I opened the front door, I felt at home. I felt free. My home now is in Louisville, with my husband. I love our cozy space and how we have combined our lives here. I don’t know where our next home will be, but no matter. My home is in my heart, and Rob is in there too.
I love where I am, but I have also loved where I was.
This has been a very good life adventure indeed.