I’m now in my third year living in Acadiana, the “Cajun” region of southern Louisiana. The move was an enormous step for me, involving not just a relocation but even more cutting the cord to the safety net of the family and family property in North Carolina. Some people would probably think my decision was rash and ill-considered. Some think making such a huge change when most people are settling into a more comfortable retirement zone was exciting and heroic.
A major move like this required a lot of decisions. I was moving for the sole purpose of creating a new and more authentic life for myself, to get away from the more toxic elements of my old home and its multitude of unhappy memories and to start again, building a new life, exploring different aspects of my character. . .
There were decisions about where I was going to move. That wasn’t so hard; I’d fallen in love with Louisiana when I was here, albeit in a different part of the state, twenty years ago, and now I had friends in the area who would provide an immediate emotional safety net and, as needed, practical help (can you recommend a solid mechanic? where do you find your vegetable starts in the early spring? etc.). I could come to a completely new part of the country but not be utterly alone, and that was important.
I had to decide what to bring and what to leave behind. I had very limited space for moving, so I decided that I would only bring what I absolutely love (my antique bed frame, a particular chair) or needed (all my kitchenware). This would allow me to furnish a new home and new life without the residue of the old clinging to me.
I had to look HARD at what I was leaving behind (the constant reminders of unhappiness) and recognize that some of that, I would be bringing with me internally, in my mind. I had to make peace with my pain and acknowledge that some of it would continue to accompany me, no matter where I went. So would my personal flaws and faults. But I also couldn’t shake off the confidence that much of the past’s power over me would be greatly reduced without the constant reminders and associations.
I had high expectations, and I’m grateful to say I’ve not been disappointed; in fact, the goodness of my life here has exceeded what I’d anticipated it would be.
A move like this is an enormous risk, but it’s an even bigger opportunity. New work, through the Church Militant Resistance program, has shown me skills and gifts I didn’t know I possessed. A treasured friendship has grown and given me a lot of room to grow and deepen. My world and my range of interests and passions has grown immensely in the past two years.