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
Browsing around Barnes and Noble, I saw a plaque with the following saying on it:
Believe it or not, I had never heard that quote before. The funny thing is, when I moved from IL to AZ just under a month ago, many of my friends asked if I was trying to find myself. I laughed it off, and said that I’ve been looking for a long time and haven’t found anything yet!
I suppose that answers the question for me. I will never “find” myself. The only self I will be showing to the world is the self which I create. I don’t want to find myself… Instead, I want to create the me that I want to be.
We have the power to be who we want to be, do what we want to do, and go where we want to go. I proved that to myself by picking up my life, packing it all in a 20 foot U-Haul truck, and moving myself across the country on a leap of faith. I want to create a “me” with whom I could see myself being best friends. Think about it… don’t we all want to be the person that others want to be around.
I am creating, and re-creating, myself each and every day. I am not looking to find out who I am. I will never know that for sure. So here I sit, writing, looking forward to each new day, and praying for the guidance to help me be the best ME I can be!
~ Patti Crowley
I searched for my soul but my soul I could not see.
I searched for God but he eluded me.
I searched for my brother and found all three. Anon
This was heard last night, spoken by a new friend. I had to ask him to repeat it, as it took my breath away, literally. As a woman who just moved across country, alone, I found myself feeling a bit isolated one evening. All of the anticipation of this move, all of the excitement of a fresh start, a new career, and unlimited potential, slipped away for one short evening. However, that short evening felt like an eternity as the reality of my life appeared before me.
I came here to the mountains for many things. But the most important thing which I was seeking, was serenity. I prayed, hoping to find answers, and hoping to seek my soul that I had believed was hidden deep within the chaos of my life back home. But it is within me, waiting to be brought out. I thought I might find God, here in the mountains. But the truth of the matter is this… when I can connect with another human being, on a spiritual level, I have the opportunity to see my God and my soul…. maybe they are one in the same.
So, I will not isolate. I will continue to get out and say hello to every stranger I meet. For it is in connecting with another human being that I will find for what it is that I am looking. This cannot be misinterpreted as meaning that I will only find happiness in another. I believe we, as humans, are meant to connect with others. We cannot survive in isolation. We crave the human touch. We crave that personal connection we find in others. So I will seek those things daily. In so doing, I hope to find all of the wonderful things I have hoped to find. Truthfully, I don’t need to live near the mountains to find it, but it sure makes it more fun for me! 🙂
~ Patti Crowley
Last week, I piled everything I own on a truck, hooked my car up for the tow, and drove from Chicago to Arizona. To say this was challenging would be putting it mildly. However, the real challenge was leaving behind my kids, who I hope will eventually join me permanently. My 22 year old son is already out living on his own, but my 18 year old daughter will be staying behind her first year to attend her freshman year of college in IL. She is planning to move to AZ next year to attend school here. But for now, this is the hardest thing I have ever done. I did not realize how much I would miss her. I kept saying to her, “Meg, it’s okay. It will just be like you are leaving me to go to college a little early.” The truth is… I was the one leaving her.
I was in my 30’s, married with children, when my parents decided to pack up and move to Nevada. I was devastated, and thought they were being selfish. But as time went on, I understood that it was something they had desperately wanted to do, maybe even needed to do. They spent the last years of their lives enjoying life in the mountains.
So as Megan and I packed up all of our things, we had different boxes for her. Some were labeled “Arizona”, for when she comes to visit, and others were labeled “college”. We sat on the floor of her room packing those boxes, and I believe that is when the reality of it all set in. I always worried that I would have such a rough time when my baby left for college, but here I was doing the leaving first.
Saying goodbye was heartbreaking, for both of us. But it isn’t goodbye… just see ya later! As I drove away, with tears in my eyes, hauling everything I own in that 20 foot truck, I realized what I carried on that truck was just STUFF. What I really have is love… love for my children, love for the friends I left behind, and love of the life we have all built together. None of that goes away… life changes, relationships change… but they don’t end. Meg comes out to visit this weekend, and I cannot wait to see her! When she leaves to go back and prepare for her first year of college, it won’t be goodbye. We will just say, “See ya later”.
~ Patti Crowley
This photo was taken on my 1770 mile drive from Chicago to Arizona last week. Okay, so I should not have been taking a photo while driving a 20ft U-Haul truck towing my car behind at about 70 mph… but I just HAD TO! You see, I was cruising along on the adventure of a lifetime, and it occurred to me that I was racing with the sun. Seemingly, the sun was taking an awful long time to set. I watched it reach the horizon, attempting to settle in for it’s peaceful slumber beyond the landscape, but it just would not go down. Each mile I traveled, it was still there, just out of reach.
This thought astounded me. The sky continually changed between beautiful hues of orange and red, to deep purple. I felt as though it was taunting me, begging me to hurry up. It reminded me of being a child and playing “You’re It”. The faster I drove, the further away that horizon seemed.
All of this made me think of my life, and how many times I have chased dreams, always feeling as though they were just out of reach. But, do you know what? I eventually arrived at my destination. I made the 27 hour drive in less than two days. That is less than 48 hours! I can honestly say that I did not feel fatigued or frustrated at any single moment on the journey. My spirit was simply jumping up and down inside of me with this immense joy and anticipation. The mountains had called to me, and when I crossed over into Arizona, driving through the inexplicable beauty of Flagstaff, chasing the western sun, I said aloud to the heavens, “Mom, I’m home!”
~ Patti Crowley
Inspiration pours in from every conceivable direction. Moments like this validate my decision to look westward as a final destination for living my life. Moments like this make me realize how truly small I am, and the realization sets in that there is no doubt of the presence of a power much greater than myself who created all of this beauty. No human hands could have ever created such magnificence, and for that I am humbled beyond words.
This morning, I sit on my balcony and look at out the majestic mountains, knowing deep within that I am exactly where I was intended to be. My daughter lies asleep in our resort room, exhausted from two days of house hunting & sightseeing. The 18 year old girl who very rarely ever picks up a book, choosing instead to watch hours of mindless tv at home, actually read an inspiring book cover to cover in two days from this very balcony. If that isn’t inspiration, I don’t know what is, and if you knew my daughter as do I, you would understand the significance of that!
Today, as I sit here drinking coffee on this balcony overlooking God’s creation at its finest, I feel inspired to begin anew. All of the dreams I have talked about, written about, and thought incessantly about are slowly becoming a reality. There were times at which I thought this was another one of my grand plans that I would most certainly never make a reality. With still a few hurdles to overcome, I feel confident that another chapter of my life is being written at this very moment. I will not put the pen down, I will not allow myself to be distracted by those little doubts and fears that find their way in, and I will continue to put one foot in front of the other. I am finding that the only way to fulfill your dreams is to simply take one little step in the right direction, do the next right thing, and do everything in your power to not look back over your shoulder. The moment is now!
~ Patti Crowley