So typically, if you are from the Shelby area, you have one of two opinions.
"Aw there's so much love and growth for this city."
"Get me out of here."
I think the "get me out of here" has become less frequent but sometimes people think they are too cool for school for Shelby. I get it. I do. But I want to tell our story that I believe resonates not just in Shelby, but just simply about the happiness that you are able to exude in your life, and GENUINELY in your heart.
Many times throughout my blogging "career", I spoke fully about living life to the fullest. I even have a hashtag that I use a lot and a Garmin watch face that says "Life without Limits" which I FULLY believe in. I believe that we place limitations on our hearts and our minds of what we are capable of and if we just expand those thoughts for just a second, we open ourselves up to a world that we have never seen before. I believe that so deeply in who I am, and love to shed all of the passion that I have within my heart.
I spoke with a friend at the YMCA yesterday about how I loved that she was starting to explore trail running. Her and another mom went for an 18 mile day adventure through the woods. People don't just do that in Shelby. They think they can't. How awesome that she believed she could so she did!
When I graduated college and pharmacy school, I felt like the world was at my fingertips. It was. I convinced my husband that we should find jobs in New York City, and off we went to the big apple. For years on end, we had fun exuding from every angle as well as the hustle and grind of making it in the real world and paying off massive student debt (yikes). When I decided a few months back to leave the blogging world full time, which was a wonderful decision for me (even though I really do miss connecting with others really deeply), it's been interesting all the things that I've discovered about myself.
In blogging, your life is out there for all to see all the time. You need content. You search for things to do and directions to follow. You plan out meals and dinners sometimes almost subconsciously knowing that you could get a good picture at this brunch spot, etc etc. Every blogger knows it, so it's not like a crime. It's just what you do.
There is communication with companies, and landing gigs. There is opportunity everywhere, and enough to go around the table for all bloggers. It's exciting literally every day almost. The world of social media is exploding, and we feel as if even if we are watching TV for two seconds, we are missing out on those special moments that the latest instagrammer is talking about. So we hustle hustle hustle.
I went to lunch with my mom last week and we were discussing this topic. She said she feels as if people in my generation just will never be satisfied and not that we are "greedy" but that felt the only appropriate term to describe it. We always want the next big opportunity, and I told her it's because we see it in our faces every single day. We see what so and so is doing across the US when that used to not be a thing. We used to relax without that pressure.
Traveling is fantastic. Adventure is fantastic. Making money is great, and running marathons and ultras are great, but if we are really honest with ourselves, we have to admit that part of the reason that we feel that we must do these things is so that we aren't left behind.
I spoke with an old client once who told me that she follows tons of fitness bloggers and youtubers, and she became really discontent at her job feeling like she needed to leave the 9-5 because that was lame and join the hustle and that you weren't really living a fulfilling life if you weren't being an entrepreneur on the internet. Wow. That hit me hard because I guarantee there are so many that feel the same way. She then came to the realization that "Wait, I really love my job" and living life to the fullest doesn't look the same to every person and I don't need to quit my job and can do the standard path of life and still be doing so! YES GIRL YES.
We see all of these people that are jet setting. We see people saying that they are leaving their corporate jobs because you only get one life and that you gotta live it to the fullest. We see people completing ridiculous feats and on and on it goes. We see RIDICULOUS videos going around just so that people can be the next big thing.
We are told day in and day out how we can't let a second go by without us grabbing it by the horns and doing something with it, and so it leaves us discontent. Last September, I talked with Tanner and had decided that I wanted to move back to New York City. I missed it. I didn't think that we gave it enough of a shot (I still do feel these things), and so we actively pursued moving back. Tanner was flown up for a job interview that would have been an amazing opportunity and I was absolutely thrilled. It fell through.
But we were full on living life to the fullest, and Shelby just wasn't that, so we started pursuing other places. Did we want to move to Colorado (eh a little too far from family) or even coastal? Wilmington? Maybe somewhere close but just more city so Charlotte? Greenville SC? We actively searched for jobs in these locations, and wrote out different pros and cons of moving. Shelby was just not gonna cut it. But why?
Because we have to live life to the fullest right?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with us wanting to move, but where did that lead us? Discontentment with our current situation. We started pulling away from church community and friendships unintentionally so then the situation almost felt that it escalated and with less community in a tiny town, I was ready to move right along.
But it was me, not the town. It was my desire to always think that the grass is greener, the search never ends, and subconsciously seeing all of my favorite bloggers in big cities doing the most fun things and feeling as if I was missing out.
Last year, I traveled so much, and I look back now and tell Tanner that sometimes I would be in the location of my dreams, dreaming about the next place that I was going to travel because it was just never enough and I didn't even see it at the time.
I would plan out my schedule of events for my races, and jam in as much as I could because subconsciously, I can look back now and see that I felt that if I wasn't doing marathons and ultras and triathlons and ironman and coming up with all these different huge goals that I was missing out on these prime years of peak athleticism and that was just not going to cut it. Again, don't mistake this for saying that huge goals are not okay because they most certainly are, and I'm so glad that my heart overflows with them, but when do we say enough is enough?
We won't. And that's the problem. When I truly let go of needing to always be excited by something, my happiness in every day life drastically changed. Let me tell you, it was a process not a snap of the fingers. It felt lonely and weird and odd and quiet and lots of FOMO (fear of missing out). I didn't plan big vacations this year. I didn't plan grand adventures, and just focused on running only. I didn't sell my house just to continually be making moves in the world.
Instead, we built a deck for hosting events to build community. Instead, I reached out to Radiant Magazine about starting up a community event in Shelby to bring young Christian woman in this city together to make friendships. Instead, I went to my cousin's soccer and t-ball games and genuinely felt my heart would burst with love for them. Instead, I asked my sister in law to bring my nephew over one morning per week so that I could build a deeper relationship with him because I honestly NEVER keep him. I'm too busy. I'm "living life to the fullest right?"
Instead of coming up with all the long term travels that I want to do, I wrote out all of the things that I want to do in THIS community and surrounding areas. I have been journaling a lot and I wrote down all the get togethers that I want to have at my house. I have started trying to go to lunch with my mom once weekly. I went from actively wanting to move for 6-9 months to now being absolutely thrilled that we didn't and wanting to invest back into this community long term.
There will always be travels and adventure and life to be lived to the fullest, but this town might seem like it doesn't have much going on, but if you knew the heart and the vision and the love of close family, it changes everything. Five deaths this year I've been through. Five deaths of people close to me. It changes you, and the change was tough and hard, but man is it beautiful on this side loving on my people and my community.
And that's my new version of living life to the fullest.