Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Next Step

I moved to Dayton in the spring of 2002. I was a naive, young 22 year-old who was going to change the world. I was working for the North American Mission Board on a 2 year assignment as a US/C-2 missionary. I had been assigned to work with the Baptist student ministry at Wright State and Sinclair. I had been dating my (then) boyfriend for a year and was convinced that we would get married once my assignment was up. Dayton was just a temporary stop on the way to the rest of my life.

My first weekend retreat with the ministry taught me that I had NO IDEA what I was getting in to. I should have seen it then. All lights were flashing, "Abort! Abort!" But I decided to stick with the assignment despite my uneasy feelings. I told myself it was just a temporary thing.

A year later my relationship fell apart (all my fault, FYI). To put it mildly, things at work became rough. I finished the rest of my assignment (barely) and instead of leaving Dayton like I had planned, I decided to stay. For some reason, I felt like going back home would be a failure. And I had no plan. None. At all. So I took a job and told myself that it was temporary. Again.

I wound up working for that company for three years. During that time, I went through a serious depression. I had a wicked bad end to a relationship. I retreated inside myself and lost almost all of the friendships I had forged during my first two years here. I was miserable. There were weekends where I didn't change out of my pajamas. I would come home from work on Friday night, put on PJ's and stay in them until Monday morning. I had a few good friends who got me through that rough time and I am thankful for that. They helped keep me sane and alive. And through all that, I kept telling myself, "This is just temporary! You are not settling here. Dayton is not your home. You're not supposed to be here."

And then I met Alex. He was a breath of fresh air. I had finally gotten to a pretty good place mentally thanks to a new 5 day a week gym habit and a renewed commitment to healthy eating. I felt like I was changing as a person and when I met him, I instantly knew he was "The One." Our first date went extremely well and I straight up schemed for him to ask me out again (Thanks Mrs. G for the idea on that one!) and we were inseparable from then on. We got married a year and half later. And we had a baby a year and a half after that. (We move fast around these parts.)

And yet. I still didn't feel like I was at home. STILL. I was very clear with Alex that I did not want to live in Dayton for the rest of my life. From the very beginning. So he knew getting into it that I would not be happy if we stayed here forever. He promised that we would move if the right opportunity came. When I got pregnant last year, I thought we were going to stay here forever. It wasn't the end of the world, but I still had a hard time thinking that hey, guess what? YOU LIVE IN DAYTON. IT IS HOME. Because Dayton is not terrible. It's not terrible at all. But I have always thought of this place as "temporary." My 22 year old self has been alive and well in me, I guess.

Two weeks ago, Alex got a phone call. And it was the phone call I've been waiting for for almost seven (7!) years.

We're moving.

To San Antonio.

San Antonio, TEXAS.

I came to Dayton as a naive 22 year old. I'm leaving as a 29 year old wife and mom with a little bit more wisdom. My time here has been painful, funny, bizarre, depressing, and fulfilling. I have family here. I have friends here. I have lived here for 7 years.

Dayton has never felt like home.

But I will miss it.


Guy and Julie said...

Big change--welcome back to the south!! :)

philly said...

Me? Scheme? I don't know about that!!! But TEXAS!!! Oh yeah!!!!!