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When I moved back I took over my parents’ old bedroom instead of moving back into my childhood one, which seemed symbolically important, but also, check out that view! No brainer.

I just checked (Facebook is good for some things) and it was indeed a year ago today that I started my new life here at the Ranch. The transition was a little intense: Around the middle of May, I still had a few more days at work to finish up when I packed up my beautiful little apartment in Oakland.  It was in a duplex I shared with Megan, her husband and their son, with the glorious backyard we grew tomatoes and peppers and incredible flowers in together, watched Owen learn about snails and mud and strawberry plants in, barbequed in the sunshine and laughed at the fog monster sitting on top of San Francisco in.  And on that day I drove away in the U-haul with Lola by my side, and I cried nearly the whole way. I was excited for my new life to be sure, but after a year of planning and saving and daydreaming about leaving the city, it was on that drive north that I gave myself time to mourn the passing of a long era of my life.  18 years, full of adversity, but also exploration, wonder, friendships, and a heck of a lot of personal growth.  I was a just a kid when I left for the city.  As an adult, I was finally going home.

Anyway, I arrived at the Ranch, hurriedly moved in – sort of – then turned right around, dropped Lola off at my mom’s, and drove right back to San Francisco.  I stayed with my sister, worked two more days at the law firm (looking back, was that really necessary? Or was it just to squeeze one last drop out of me to make sure I was totally empty before setting me free?) and then we were off to Sayulita, Mexico for a wedding!

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Not bad.

Mexico was fantastic (my favorite country to travel in), and I was smart enough to savor it, knowing it would be a while before I could afford to take another trip abroad.  Then it was over, and we flew back to San Francisco. I got in my car, and instead of driving home to Oakland, I drove home to the Ranch. It was May 31st. June 1, I woke up at the Ranch, and for the first time in 18 years, I didn’t have anywhere else I needed to be.

This past year has been amazing. I went from living off my savings and not knowing if I was actually going to be able to pull this off, to . . . well, being pretty sure I am pulling this off! Money is still tight but I’m making it, and the momentum continues to build. It’s all about keeping the balance for me now.  Part of what I realized a few years ago when I made the decision to move back here, was that I am the only person who can make my life what I want it to be. No tall, handsome, tattooed Prince Charming was going to rescue me from my unhappiness. No magical perfect job was going to come along and cure my longing to be able to see the stars at night, and wake up to birdsong. No gym membership or trendy outfit was going to enable me to look in the mirror and recognize the person staring back as the Me I want to be.  I realized that it was time to stop always living for someday, and begin to make happiness right now.  Is it too much to ask that every single day of the rest of my life have at least one moment of totally present happiness? I don’t think so anymore.

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