If you had asked me a decade ago where I would be living in 10 years, I guarantee Des Moines, Iowa, would have never crossed my mind. And yet, here I am, content as can be, in a city where I have found I am truly my best self.
It’s taken me awhile to get comfortable with this statement because even though I know it to be true, there a slight sense of guilt that comes with it.
You see, when my husband and I left our home state of Idaho to start medical school, in the back of my mind, I always imagined that when it was over, we would be moving back. We were both born and raised in the state and our families still reside there. We’re extremely close with our families and had dreams of raising our children just down the street from my parent’s house. We love what Idaho has to offer between climate, people, size, and outdoor activities. It was win-win all around, and while we loved to travel, I’m not sure we ever imagined ourselves living anywhere else.
And then, when it came to making our career dreams come true, we had no other choice but to leave Idaho. And without realizing it, over the course of the last eight years, we slowly grew away from the roots of our birthplace.
My husband and I had to make the cities we moved to “our” home. We kept telling ourselves, “Bloom where you are planted”. And so, I found myself falling in love with new places, making new friends, creating new interests, and growing up.
I found myself living a life I never imagined and it was so good.
And yet, in the back of my mind, I felt all of this guilt.
Guilt that the girl who thought she would always move home, didn’t know if she wanted to anymore.
Guilt that I could find so much happiness in a city where my parents did not live.
Guilt that my life was turning out so much differently than I had ever imagined and yet, I was so, so happy. There is no perfect reason why we chose to Des Moines. A lot of things came together to help us make this decision.
It all felt confusing.
How could I be content, and yet still so heartbroken over the fact that I had changed my mind? That instead of moving back to my hometown (which I still love dearly) I was choosing to live in a city that now felt more like my home.
Giving myself permission to be okay with the fact that I wanted to live in Iowa instead of Idaho took a lot more energy and emotion than I ever expected.
I have learned over the course of this adventure that life is not written in permanent marker but very, very much in pencil. Your preferences, choices, and expectations are all allowed to change. And guess what, it’s okay when they do.
Just over a year ago we moved back to Des Moines. Moving van packed to the gills, we closed one adventure and opened ourselves up to another. I may be a born and raised Idahoan, but I am now, very much a proud Iowa transplant.