"If you love something let it go..." starts the notable saying, "and if it comes back it was meant to be." It was within this letting go in the name of love that I flipped my life upside down, sideways, and backward a year and a half ago.
I remember the humid August day as if it were yesterday. Tears streaming down my face as I was presented with a professional opportunity to relocate from Chicago to Santa Monica, CA. For 15 years I had been dreaming about living in the golden state. It was written in my goals, represented on my vision board, talked about daily. I shared my dream with everyone! I wholeheartedly wanted it. So why the intense emotion if I was being offered exactly what I had been asking for? I first cried tears of gratitude for the faith and acknowledgement, then I was overpowered by a realization that no matter what, I couldn't and wouldn't say no.
In that moment, I knew my life was changing.
"Sometimes you have to give up the life you planned to live the life that's waiting for you."
The life I had was wonderful - happily residing in the incredible city of Chicago about to celebrate a two year wedding anniversary with my high school sweetheart and best friend. I lived steps away from my brothers, parents, and adorable 2 year old niece. I was carrying out my dream role with an unbelievable company. I had the most fabulous girlfriends and co-workers one could ask for. I was living 1 block from beautiful Lake Michigan and 15 minutes from the hustle and bustle of downtown.
All this "wonderful," yet, something inside pushed me to accept the offer and relocate to California 2 months later. My husband at the time decided to stay in Chicago to see a project through completion while searching for LA based jobs in the meantime. Because I anticipated my new role would require my heart and soul for the first few months, this actually sounded perfect. We had 12 years of history and vows and practice with distance - making it work was never a question. A few months of separation felt completely tolerable when you anticipate a lifetime of togetherness.
The first 2 months held nothing but hope and promise, whimsical fantasies of a new life under the sun, visions of endless possibility, and mounds of excitement. Months 3-5, however, began to take a toll on us as individuals and as partners. My work responsibilities had become my #1, even more so than anticipated. The job search for him was unsuccessful, turned non-existent. Living alone built up this independence within me that challenged the dynamic of our relationship. The excitement and support for each other's goals and dreams dwindled as bitterness set in. An ugly disconnect crept into our relationship that we couldn't move passed.
This is when the tough questions started to arise.
What did we really want in life? Were we going to build a family and if so, where? Was I willing to move back to the Midwest? Did he want to be 2,000 miles from his friends and family? Could we be the best versions of ourselves together? Were we holding each other back? Who sacrifices their dreams? Thirty years from now, will there be regrets or "what-ifs"?
After a handful of emotionally candid conversations, the answers to our questions gave us the clarity to acknowledge we were not meant to carry out our marriage as we had once planned. With love and respect we chose to let each other go, releasing one another from restraint, limitation, and a sense of mediocrity. It was a peaceful decision in that moment as we both embraced our new, more fitting directions in life.
"If you love something let it go..."
It'd be absolutely misleading if I said this was an easy process, that placing myself on a new path full of uncertainty and newness was all celebrations. After the reality of our decision set in and legal formalities took place, I felt extremely lost, confused, and lonely. I questioned myself everyday, regretting how easy it felt, feeling guilty that I let go too quickly, hating myself for not giving my marriage the attention it deserved, feeling more guilt for loving my life in California. The ugly self-tormenting list went on and on for months...
And then it stopped.
I had begun to embrace this beautiful mantra I overheard, "And so it is. Let it be." These powerful words did it for me. This simple reminder allowed me to finally come full circle and once again feel confident and at peace with my decision and the new life path I was on. I began to feel overwhelming amounts of gratitude for a relationship I had the honor of being in for 12 years. I could see all that it was for me - how it shaped me, how it carried me, how it grew me, and how it served me. Without it, I wouldn't be where I am today, sharing my story with the masses, helping others see that with every challenge or dark moment there comes light. With every dark moment, there comes tremendous growth.
I would not take back a single tear I cried, or ounce of pain I felt, or any of the inconsolable episodes I endured. Here I am on the other side of it all knowing I am strong, I am capable, I am powerful. Letting go in the name of love got me here. For that, I will be forever grateful.