Tuesday, May 30, 2017

10 months later....

Hello from our home in Vermont. :)

In my last post, before I fell off the face of the planet, I shared that we were moving to Vermont. We came to that decision for a variety of reasons, the biggest of which was that we wanted to create a simpler, more sustainable life for ourselves. You've heard it a million times before-- having a kid changes everything. And, after having Hugo 3 years ago, our priorities shifted. We wanted to be in a smaller town, with a lower cost of living, where community was strong and valued.
I had also been looking for a way to make my business bi-coastal for years, and a move to New England seemed like the most obvious answer.

In my mind, this cross-country move was going to be smooth and easy, networking would happen naturally and jobs would fall into my lap. I'd skip over that whole not-having-any-friends part because I already have family here, so I'd never feel lonely. And traveling between coasts for work every 4-6 weeks would be an adventure, rather than unsettling and guilt-ridden.

I didn't bank on feeling so displaced and untethered for so long. I didn't realize that, while traveling back to Seattle on a regular basis for work is DEFINITELY exciting and fulfilling, it's also heart-breaking every time I have to say goodbye to my son who doesn't understand why I can't work closer to where we live. I didn't realize that, every time I returned to Vermont after a trip to Seattle, I would feel anxious and utterly disoriented.
I didn't know how hard it would be to be the sole-income earner in our home, and how terrifying it would be to give up our home and our lives in Seattle and fling ourselves off a cliff into fate's hands. I thought I would feel taken care of by the universe, and that the pieces would magically fall into place. 

Don't misunderstand- there have been (and are) wonderful parts to this change: finding the amazing old home we now live in, the people we've met who feel like they've been part of our lives for years, the four very distinct seasons in this part of the country and the utter beauty and charm of New England that never gets old for me. This move was absolutely not a mistake. We have no regrets.
But I can't lie-- it is hard.

It's painful and humbling, after running a successful business for many years, to feel like I am starting from scratch. In Vermont, (and New England) in many ways, I am starting from the very beginning again: networking, trying to get my name out there, playing the part of an extrovert when I am so very much an introvert.
Suddenly, I am doubting myself, questioning my choices, fearing that I am not good enough. It feels like going through adolescence all over again, being desperately concerned that people like me and trying to convince them that I am worth taking a chance on.

Throughout this whole change, I have also been dealing with some very painful health issues in my family. My mother-- my rock, my biggest advocate and my constant support-- has been suffering from fairly rapid memory loss over this past year. The reasons for this are unclear, and the obvious culprits have been, so far, ruled out. But for us, her family, this past year has felt like a slow, brutal death. A drawn-out loss of one of the very most important people in our lives. It has been absolute hell.

There is something that happens to your faith, to your belief in God or Buddha or the angels or just, simply, the goodness of the universe when you lose your sense of being taken care of in the world. When you realize that someone- whether it's your parents or your higher power-- no longer has your back, and that nobody is going to catch you when you fall. You realize you are alone, and you are a grown up. All of a sudden, you are an adult in the world, in a whole new way than you were before.
It feels like an enormous spiritual crisis. And it sucks.

Why am I writing all this on my blog? Well, I've never been great at small talk. I would much rather be real than pretend I'm living a life I'm not. We see too much fabricated perfection on social media every day, making us feel like we are not quite measuring up. We don't need any more of that B.S.

So, here I am. Back to my blog, and being real.

I am going to be posting regularly from here on out. Twice a week, to be exact. I may not have any words, but there will be photos! Lots of photos. So, please come visit.

Speaking of photos, I will leave you now with some of the little guy who makes all the struggle worth it.


Annie said...

Clare, I'm glad you shared about this trying time in your life. I'm so sorry to hear about your mother's health issues. Having lost both of my parents far too soon, I fully relate to everything you said about feeling alone and unsupported in the world. It is something no one understands until they experience it, and I wish it none of us ever had to. I don't have spectacular advice for coping with this but as you will discover, you will adapt to it over time. You'll be tougher and whatever you recognize as faith will be changed, but you will get through it.

I admire your courage at tackling this huge life change and I'll be thinking of you as you continue to find your way forward. Life is weird but you are awesome. It's going to be okay.

Karista said...

What an amazing amount of strength and courage it took to make this life change! I made a few of those myself over the past 30 years and I certainly understand the meaning of displaced and untethered. It eventually transitions into grounded and rooted after time but the getting there is often unsettling. My heart is with you! I wish you huge success in your business and much happiness in your new life in beautiful Vermont. I love Vermont! One of my moves took me to Norton, Mass for 5 years so we were able to travel the region and Vermont was on that list of travel. A beautiful spot in the world. Love the pictures of your little guy. He's adorable!

Shannon Douglas said...

This post and you're writing- like I said before- is amazing. You are so resilient and hard-working. Thank you for always being real and not hiding behind a false projection- like, the only person in this industry. Lol. It is beyond refreshing.

Isolation is the hardest feeling ever in my opinion. When I look at your life with hugo and Joe, it's so clear to me why you made the choice you did. Such a hard choice to make and I think most people never make it out of fear. In the end though, it's the same choice I would make and I know, after the incredible hardship, you'll feel the things you've been waiting for. I felt a lot of these same things this year. A lot of unexpected health issues. It's challenging when things come out of nowhere and just keep coming one after the other. For me, reading this post was the honest admittal I needed to hear in accepting what sucks and what's hard and what's taking forever. I find that the hardest part and the fact that you did it is very inspiring. Thank you. Thinking of you and, as always, so grateful for the chance you took on me. Love to you and yours Clare. <3

Ellen Zachos said...

I hear you Clare. Our move to New Mexico from NYC has been wonderful in many ways but making a living continues to be a struggle. I love it here and I'm glad we made the move, but it isn't easy. My mom has Alzheimers and her decline has sped up since Dad died, almost 3 years ago. It's hard being so far away from her; she's in NH. She was my best friend when I was growing up, and now she's gone. Here but gone. I look around me, at the mountains, at the home we have here, and I'm often happy, but I worry about how to make a living, how to contribute. I hope it will get easier. For me and for you.

Donna Hopkins said...

These words, simple sentences about the struggles and the joys of your life, reveal your heart. And in doing so, I see a person of honesty and integrity. To be whole, we must embrace all aspects of our lives, not only the pretty parts. Just as you are doing. The images of your young son, your husband - these are your life - and the pictures that matter most. I am sad that you must go through this situation with your mother - and to see her change in this way. Some seasons of life are so hard. But I keep reminding myself that wherever there are shadows there will also be light - and you will find this to be true, too. Thank your for inspiring me and for sharing your photographs!