Having lived 30 years in extremely cold temperatures and a ton of snow and grey skies for half the year or more, my soul passions and life-energy were put on hold during those periods. I had dreamed of moving to a warmer climate but there were always friends, family, or a job that kept me from making the change. So, like a flower that gets mowed down every time it starts to bloom, that's how I felt every year come November through April. Little did I know that half of achieving our dreams is our location! That's right! It's really as simple as that!
For instance, what part of living in cold, snowy weather offered me a lush, tropical environment with warm winters that I so desired? None! It was perplexing when brave souls would muster up the courage to move to a more temperate climate, only to come crawling back home in the next few weeks, months, or couple of years, still miserable living in the cold yet, not having a good enough experience in their new location to supersede the uncomfortableness of ‘familiar’.
Sitting on the sidelines watching these desperate, yet daring, people boomerang back, vowing to never move again, was frustrating because the hard part of packing up a lifetime and uprooting was done. It was like watching an addict go through all of the pain of withdrawal only to return to their drug. I felt their pain and envied them for being so brave and then was disappointed, maybe even a little angry, when they returned. It seemed they hadn't given themselves time to adjust. Or perhaps they believe that living the life they dream is only for others.
My last straw was the freezing cold winter of 2007 with six feet of snow and, the small town just thirty miles up the road where family lives, had fourteen feet. Long story short, the life I was living up there - and the cost in taxes and utilities - was a far cry from the life inside my head which was not attainable in that location, barring little expensive snippets of vacation. But I wanted to live that life in my head! Not vacation there!
Reflecting on the boomerangers, fearful thoughts flooded me. "What if I uproot my life and move to my utopia and it doesn't make a difference in my overall well-being and happiness?" "What if I get sick of it?" "But I don't know anyone there!" My only certainty was that I was not fully alive where I was. There was reality to be drudged through every day, and then there was the life in my head, full of lush landscaping, white sands, blue water, sun, and warmth. The two realities were as opposite as can be. But what would prevent me from being a boomerang? By a stroke of luck, I found out!
After some cost of living vs. quality of life research I picked a location over 1000 miles away and started by finding a house to rent on Craigslist and selling my home and several investment properties. Having never done anything so drastic before, it was later evident that I had made the same mistake the boomerangers make, and that is moving without considering lifestyle and what area would really serve my passions. Instead, I said, "There's no snow there!"
Fortunately, we landed smack in the middle of a very lushly landscaped historic district, in just the type of old house I had always lived in and was close to all of the amenities I love; a funky downtown, the art district, local cuisine, the bay, yacht clubs, and coastal beaches to name a few. Ten years and I've never looked back! It could have just been a matter of time before homesickness set in and I, too, became a boomerang. But being immersed in everything I love, and not spending six months in automated suspension waiting out the snow, cold, and grey, I felt, for the first time in my life, that I was truly home and finally felt like 'me'.
What was most amazing was the immediate and drastic difference it made in my inner world. When Facebook came out, a friend from up north asked me why I moved so far from family and friends with no support system here. And my answer was, “Because I knew I could be the best and happiest version of myself in an environment that aligned with my own passions and dreams. And though the move may have disappointed some, I can be a better friend, mom, and family member when my internal world is aligned with my external.” More than that, I didn’t want to lay on my deathbed regretting that I never tried.
We can only grow as much as the people and environment around us. This includes our job, church, social circles, climate, and opportunities. If you find yourself feeling stuck or missing out on your life passions, here are a few things to consider:
1. Does your job or geographical location support your overall wellbeing and life passions? Do these things offer you the opportunity to live your passions or to just vacation there?
2. Think about climate, opportunities, and activities available. Do you dream of a tropical environment and live in the snowbelt? Or do you dream of winter sports and live in Hotlanta? Do you like to walk or ride bikes but live in a place that you have to pack your bike and walking shoes and drive thirty miles to do it?
3. Do you love old houses or new houses? And do you love the arts? The water? Flying? Did you know that there are neighborhoods built around local airports for small plane pilots? They have beautiful hangars with each house that often host outdoor kitchens where neighbors can ‘hang out’ for cocktails after plane rides on a leisurely Saturday.
4. HINT: Don’t plan your location around commercial conveniences. There is Walmart and Target everywhere but is that what you want as neighbors? Or would you rather have a skiing mountain in your back yard, or an inlet river with backyard dock and boat that brings you to the bay where you can boat out to dinner or spend the day on the water? Perhaps that is why so many boomerang back; because, though they were so close, they didn’t tap into the ‘action area’ where their life dreams and passions are the daily lifestyle.
The reality is, true well-being and happiness comes when all our key-life areas are balanced within themselves and with each other. When the world that has been handed to you is not in alignment with your true-life passions and dreams, you will never fully actualize our potential and experience wholeness. So be bold! Take the risk! And watch doors open and paths clear as you consciously walk into your own dreams and passions.