When I uprooted myself for a 750 mile move from a busy suburb of OKC to a small Colorado town I had never heard of before, I was definitely expecting adventure. However, I hadn’t really counted on learning so many life lessons, especially in the first 90 days. Here’s a quick snip-it, in no particular order.
1. Expectations don’t hold nearly as much weight as I thought.
Within a few days of living here, I noticed there was a level of expectancy that had been lifted. One that I now question, if it was put there by others or was I in fact the one that put it there? Maybe a little of both? People don’t really care, nearly as much as I think. I legit have days that I swipe my eyeliner over yesterday’s, brush my teeth and call it good…sometimes this doesn’t happen until 2pm. Rare, but it happens. One day when I confessed this to a friend, she and I laughed, shrugged our shoulders and in unison announced “Eh, it’s Paonia.”
2. Drive friendlier.
Allow people to walk across the street, even if they are not on the crosswalk. Allow more space between cars, it’s not a 6 lane highway with bumper to bumper traffic and when you leave a car length someone thinks you are letting them in. This took 3 people pulling over before I realized what was going on. They like a little more space between cars around here….and there’s plenty of room on the 2 lane highway. My ex husband tried to hammer this into my head for years, but I learn when I learn…and it’s always the hard way.
3. Wave to everyone like you know them personally.
I was convinced people were mistaking me for someone they knew for the first couple of weeks, they do not just throw up a couple of fingers as a courtesy, they full-fledge wave to you as if you were long time friends. Now I wave back without hesitation, I figured if I haven’t met them yet, I might tomorrow and they could very well be my next best friend…or the connecting dot in my next endeavor.
4. There’s a whole lot of world out there.
I’ve learned more about different cultures and lifestyle choices in a town of approximately 1,500 people, than I did living in a suburb of a large city with a population near 650,000. I don’t blame this on the city, rather my comfort level. While I can get along with most everyone, I definitely surrounded myself with those most like me and I rarely ventured outside of my normal venues.
5. Community may look different, but it’s essential.
Community has been a big part of my life and I work to be intentional about building a supportive group around me, but the importance of community is ten fold. In a small town it’s vital to take care of each other. No matter what the fb argument that happened yesterday, if a neighbor is in need today, it is forgotten.
6. Friends are important, but not at the risk of losing myself.
I had to come face to face with the reality of wanting to seek the approval of others or if I wanted to serve God boldly. I cannot serve both. I’m an extrovert and love people and I like having a lot of friends. Having moved to a town where I had absolutely no connections was a challenge, emotionally and mentally. I wanted to make friends, but was really struggling with being authentic in some of my interactions. People pleasing and being a chameleon is manipulative and that’s not the life I want to live anymore, but dang it’s a hard pattern to recognize and break.
7. God will take care of every stinking detail.
I can absolutely let go of trying to run the entire show. He’s got details planned out years in advance, ones I didn’t even think to consider. He loves me so unconditionally and very specifically. I am blown away as I have seen it unfold in this journey.
8. Water is a precious resource, so is our planet.
When you live in a high desert, especially during drought, you become much more aware of water usage. I started making changes in my water usage that has now transferred over to awareness of the environment and am working to remove some plastics from my household. I’m not making any radical changes, but a few small ones to help do my part. .
9. Not everyone works on the same timeline.
Ever heard of Mountain Time? It’s real. It’s a lot slower and more relaxed. Oh, yeah…this one is definitely taking some adjustment for this color coordinated (multi) calendar keeper. Yes, multi…but I’m down to 2 digital and my paper planner is specific to goal setting. I have also noted in the last couple of weeks, I’m not nearly as diligent at keeping my calendar accurate.
10. I believe with everything that I am, God wanted me here.
I don’t know for how long, but definitely for right now. It’s quite obvious (see 1-9 above) that I have a lot to learn, however, I also pray he has work for me to do here. I’m not sure what it is yet and I have given up trying to plan it as I see fit (at least temporarily, I’ll probably need a well timed reminder). I pray for the courage to step boldly and with obedience into whatever He has planned for me. I pray that I have the wisdom to keep my own ego out of it and to let him use me as his vessel.
“Life is a journey, not a destination.”Ralph Waldo Emerson