I hit a turning point in my life when I moved to England. It forced me to deal with life on my own, rather than relying on other people in my life to fix things for me.
When my husband joined the Air Force, the last thing we expected was for him to get stationed in England right after tech school. There went our best-laid plans for me to finish graduate school in Oregon, then join him at his first base. We figured we could handle a cross-country separation; we decided we couldn’t handle a transatlantic separation. So, I changed my plans, worked my tail off and still graduated with the rest of my cohort.
I’m an only child. My parents and I have been through a lot together (suicide attempts, their divorce, their subsequent remarriage…to each other). I’m particularly close to my mom. Anytime I had a problem, she was the first person I’d run to for advice, support or just a shoulder to cry on. It wasn’t so easy to do that when she was 8 time zones away. So, I changed my coping strategies, learned to lean on my husband and found that I had untapped inner strength to support myself.
I stopped drinking alcohol a few years before moving to England. However, I was still in the same environment – same friends, same area, same hangouts, same behaviors. These things allowed me to continue doing whatever I wanted and to hell with what anyone else thought. In England I didn’t have those crutches, so when I continued my compulsive behaviors, they multiplied and exploded in my face. So, I screwed things up royally, asked for help and came out the other side, shaken but still alive.
All of these things may have happened had we never moved overseas. However, I think that being away from my comfort zone, away from everything familiar, helped speed things up. I didn’t realize how much I had changed until we moved back to the states. Everything felt familiar, yet awkward. I found that I had to use GPS to navigate a city I used to know like the back of my hand. I still have to remind myself that I can communicate with friends and family without setting up Skype dates and figuring out what time it is where they are at. I’m having trouble relating to old friends. Coming back to America wasn’t the “coming home” I’d imagined.
And, I’m ok with that. I love the person I’m becoming. I love this inner strength I’ve found because I’m finally making healthy decisions. Moving to England helped me to finally grow up and put my big girl panties on. I like how they fit.
This post is part of Finish the Sentence Friday, hosted by Janine at Confessions of a Mommyaholic, Dawn of Dawn’s Disasters, Kate from Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine? and Stephanie from Mommy, For Real. Check them out!