Truths not revealed,
~ Patti Crowley
~ Patti Crowley
Upon returning from a visit back home to Chicago for the holidays, I was left with a severe case of woulda, shoulda, coulda. I enjoyed a full week of daily visits with old and new friends, family, and all of my favorite Chicago pizzerias and hot dog joints. To say that leaving again was difficult is quite the understatement. At the end of this particular visit, in addition to feeling sad to say goodbye, I also experienced an incredible case of the what-ifs.
What if I had not moved away? Would things be different in my life? Could I have found a happiness that I have yet to experience in my new surroundings in Arizona? Would my relationships be different? Better?
The first few days back in sunny Arizona proved to be exactly the way I felt the last time I came back after a visit home… It was a bumpy re-entry! Homesickness, loneliness, and self-pity set in. Yes, I’m almost embarrassed to admit those feelings because I honestly do love my new home, the weather, and my chance to get back in the classroom teaching. I have also made so many new friends out here, found new hobbies that I love (West Coast Swing Dancing and hiking!), and have settled in quite nicely.
None of those things seemed to matter, however, when homesickness and loneliness began to take over. I found myself wondering what could have been. I slipped back into that pattern of wishing for things I did not have, instead of appreciating the wonderful things I DO have.
When I take even the smallest step back, and open my eyes wide, I can clearly see that I can’t stress the could haves, because if it should have, it would have. It is as simple as that.
So for today, I choose to have faith that whatever is meant to be, will be – and that brings me peace.
~ Patti Crowley
For me, the holidays have, in recent years, been filled with a bit of trepidation and anxiety. All of the pressure involved for me includes trying to feel the spirit of the season while trying to get everything done that is necessary.
During the last few years of my mother’s life, she expressed this same feeling of holiday anxiety. She complained about putting up decorations, and getting all of her shopping done. So, one year I bought her a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, and told her that it really can be simple if only you want it that way. We put so much pressure on ourselves (YES, we do that – no one does it to us)!
However, I have not followed those words of advice until recently. This year, I decided to keep it simple. I put up a few special decorations to make my home feel festive, but did not drag the tree out of storage (mainly because my kitten would probably pull it down:)). I figured that I will be leaving to visit Chicago on Christmas Day, so why bother.
Simplifying the holidays has really lightened my load. I chose to find ways to spend time with friends and family instead of buying gifts while money is tight. I am praying, and am fairly certain, they will understand. This eliminates the financial pressure, but I am also finding that it is way more enjoyable to spend a day with a friend versus the few moments of joy in opening costly gifts. The joy I will experience while spending the holidays in Chicago visiting everyone far surpasses any joy from gift giving/receiving.
My students laughed at first when they saw the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree that I displayed on my classroom desk. However, when I told them the story behind it and showed them the Charlie Brown Christmas video, they understood. Simple can be SO much better, so much more meaningful, and bring so much more joy.
~ Patti Crowley
I have now been in Arizona for 15 months, and soon will be heading back to Chicago to visit for the first time since I moved. You know the saying… “Home is where the heart is.” I believe this to be true today more than ever. Although my mailing address is in Arizona, a HUGE part of my heart will always be with those I love back in Chicago. Luckily, I have made so many new friends in my new location which has given me even more reasons to love my life surrounded by the desert mountains.
Those who have not moved around may not completely understand the quote above. I have been given the opportunity to experience the “richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place”. How lucky am I? 🙂
The only drawback to moving across the country is not truly being able to identify where “home” really is. I love my life in Arizona, but at this particular time, my adult children, family, and many friends are back in Chicago. It is as if I live in the midst of two separate, yet deeply connected worlds. It has recently occurred to me that when I think of a place called home, it really does not exist.
So, I suppose home really is where the heart is. It exists wherever those I love exist. It is really not a physical place, but a feeling. In two weeks, I will go back home to Chicago to visit. Then, when the visit is over, I will return home to Arizona. Isn’t it a beautiful thing?
~ Patti Crowley
Everyone has a purpose for entering our lives. Maybe you worked with them, got to know them, and then left that job for another, losing contact altogether. Maybe they were your classmate in college, you were incredibly close, and maintained a friendship long after graduation. Maybe you loved them, and then drifted apart, only to wonder about them often.
When we experience connections which are deep and real, they never really disappear. They may lie under the surface, completely intact. The person with whom you shared the connection remains a real part of who you are. Now, if you are lucky to have the opportunity to reconnect… if that relationship was real, it will be as if no time has ever passed.
I have enjoyed so many seasonal friendships over the years. I hold no regrets about the past, and the people who entered, and then left, my life. Many of those friendships, in retrospect, turned out to be friendships for a reason. Maybe they taught me something about life, or even about myself. Maybe I was the one to add something to their lives. Whatever the reason, I cherish each and every one, because I am who I am today because of every contact, every emotion, and every lesson.
Now the lifetime friendships… well, we never really know which relationships will be of this type… at least at first. Maybe we will never really even realize it. The relationships that are meant for a lifetime are the ones that stem from real, true, honest connection of one soul to another. Usually, you can tell in an instant that the friendships are special. These friendships are effortless, refreshing, and true.
Lifetime friendships can ebb and flow, where you move into and out of each others lives at times. However, with these true connections, each time you reconnect, it is as if no time has passed at all.
All types of relationships are worthwhile, and help us to become who we are. But the lifetime friendships… now those are the ones worth living for. They bring immense joy into our lives, and help us to see meaning in our lives. Hang onto these… cherish them… and enjoy the fact that they will never fade away… if they are really real!
~ Patti Crowley
After six long months, my adult children have come to Arizona. It is the first time I’ve seen them since I moved here from Chicago in June of 2014. My daughter has moved here permanently, and my 22 year old son is visiting. Life is good!
My decision to move across the country was met with much judgment and many questions, as I’ve chronicled in previous blog posts. I was looked at as selfish by a few of my closest friends, while others completely supported my decision to better my life and start anew. Regardless, I have held fast to the belief that this move was something I was meant to do, and had been waiting for my entire life.
Now that my children are here, I have this feeling that I’ve done something perfectly right… after a lifelong gnawing voice had been telling me I was not perfect. I now fully realize that I will never be perfect, and I have stopped trying to be. However, when I look at my kids, I realize I did do something perfectly right… right for them and right for me.
If the decisions we make throughout our lives have good intentions, then what we have done has been done perfectly right. It does not matter how others view our decisions. They are not living in our shoes… they have not had our experiences… they simply do not know the whole story. Every lesson I have ever taught my children, every piece of advice I have ever offered, and every word I have ever said was taught, offered, or uttered with love and good intentions. If that is truly the case, then how could I have achieved any result that is even less than perfect?
I choose to look back on my life with pride. I am not saying I never made any mistakes… hell, no! Instead, I am simply saying that I always hoped for the best and did what I thought was best at the time. You could never ask for more than that.
~ Patti Crowley