You know that How It Started vs How It’s Going challenge? I’ve got one for you.
Less than 6 months ago, due to a series of (un)fortunate circumstances, we moved everything we owned to Western New York.
Before you repeat what everyone else said to me before our move – “So, you had to move out of Denver because of COVID? That’s a bummer.” – let me back up.
More than a year ago (pre-pandemic), my new husband and I were living happily in in the heart of downtown Denver in a high-rise with floor-to-ceiling windows and great amenities. We LOVED our place and the location. Close to everything, walkable, and next to a train that could take me to & from the airport with ease. After living in the Denver suburbs, it was definitely more our speed. We were also paying through the nose for rent, so after awhile we decided we wanted to put that money into something we owned instead of throwing it away on rent.
We looked in Denver, Fort Collins, and even into the mountains. And as we were brainstorming one day (as married entrepreneurs often do), we made a decision to live a life of less for awhile.
Since my husband & I met, we had talked about going on the road – maybe a few months bouncing around in the Pacific Northwest or heading to Southern California. Maybe heading to the Northeast for the fall or even Florida for the winter. We loved Colorado, but weren’t sure it was where we wanted to end up long-term.
My brother offered his tiny renovated lake cottage as a respite and we jumped at the offer. I wanted a place to write my book and my husband wanted to live in the country. We planned our move for June.
Fast forward a few months, we found ourselves in Florida hanging out with my husband’s family on a little vacation getaway. It was February and we were in bathing suits. After Colorado ended up getting more snow than Buffalo, NY, we were ready for a warmer temp. We both started browsing Zillow for houses in the area and brightened at the idea of being snowbirds.
Neither of us had any idea that only a few months later, we’d be in a pandemic and everything would have shifted for us.
When we first planned the move to the little lake in Western New York, we set our sights on getting a small towable U-Haul for just the things that were essential and put everything else in storage. It was only a temporary move. So, my husband found a great used SUV that would be perfect for our adventures. Until everything didn’t work out as expected.
I won’t bore you with the details, but the gist was that getting a hitch for my husband’s new-to-him car was impossible because they were out of stock until who-knew-when, our U-Haul ended up not existing for awhile (twice), and in the end, we took it all as a sign that we should just get a big truck and move everything we owned instead of hoping to go back for the rest.
Picture two newlyweds and a dog driving separately with one of us driving behind the U-Haul that was towing our other car. It was a long 4 days across the country with stops to see friends. And when we arrived in sunny, rural Western New York, we settled quickly into lake life.
We were naturally quarantined in the country with rare sightings of people even throughout the summer. We made friends with our neighbors and created a little pod. Paddleboarding happy hours, picking up new outdoor sports like archery and sledgehammer workouts, dinners on the deck with my parents – we even found an office nearby to do work stuff since our entire living quarters measured just 500 square feet.
We didn’t plan for it, yet we fell in love with our lives on the lake. And from the comments and offline messages, it seemed that everyone I knew was living vicariously through us here on the lake.
We started looking for homes nearby and figuring out what we could do to settle down, but between the pandemic playing with our bank accounts AND our emotions, we weren’t sure what to do. Everyone was moving out of the cities into the country and housing prices kept going up. And winter was coming – quickly.
I’ve never been one for the idea of “settling” or even “settling down” – for a partner, a job, a house. The whole idea of settling makes me cringe. But I kept thinking – I’m 40, I’m married, it’s time. Why wouldn’t I want to buy a house and build a life with my husband in one place? Make new friends, create deeper bonds, keep one hairstylist for more than a year or two…
There’s an old Yiddish proverb that says, “We plan, God laughs.”
That quote is why I started manifesting instead of planning.
As a human who is innately built for planning, creating systems, and building processes – in business and at home – it’s REALLY hard for me to handle when plans change. I first get angry, then throw a fit (lately they look like rage-walks), then cry my face off, then realize that it’s the next part of the adventure.
“It’s at the end of ourselves that new futures open up.
Our plans fall apart.
Our strength isn’t enough.
Our cleverness fails us.
You cry out like that and you’re joining a long line of souls from across the ages.”
– Rob Bell
Just like when we planned to move to this little lake cottage temporarily, I had to shift again to figure out what is next.
I’m naturally not one for change. I’m from a long line of women who make plans and hate when they change. And parents don’t tend to ask kids what they want to do, so I’ve had to learn to adapt since I was a kid.
Over Thanksgiving, I asked my mom how many times we moved from the time I was born. She counted 16, including twice across the country. That was before I turned 11. Since then, I’ve moved to California, Washington DC, and Colorado, then back to New York with about 30 moves since I was 17. Saying “I hate moving” is an understatement.
Guess what we’re about to do – again.
2020 has been dubbed The Year Of The Dumpster Fire, yet if we look back at it, it’s also been the year of “now what?”
We’ve learned to be more adaptable, more flexible, and more teary-eyed. We’ve allowed ourselves to feel things AND express them in deeper ways. We’ve been more vulnerable with our shares and more heartfelt with the love we have for others. We’ve missed our friends and family more deeply than ever before. We’ve even found out who our real friends are. And we’ve asked ourselves “now what?” more times this year than ever before.
And the answer is: whatever we want it to be.
When I was sharing our next steps with a friend yesterday, she said “Maybe this is what you needed. A winter of discontent. And then Spring to arrive.”
When I asked her how SHE was doing, she said, “It’s a shit show. But it’s my shit show. I’m doing the work, showing up even when I don’t want to – and you can’t make me. I’m working through it and have some fun stuff on the horizon.”
It’s perspective. It’s ALWAYS about perspective.
We can be in our worst possible situations, knowing that we don’t have ANY control over them, knowing that we’re walking straight through hell – and we can still find the adventure. IF we choose to.
Sure, my business took a left turn this year and my bread-and-butter (in case you don’t know this, I’m a full-time keynote speaker) disappeared. Every single thing we planned for 2020 didn’t happen. My little company made it through this year by the skin of our teeth (also, what the HECK does that mean and why do we say it?) And I’ve worked harder this year than the last few years combined – for pennies.
On the bright side, I’ve met incredible people through my business. I haven’t had to travel since March (if you know me, you know this is a blessing since I don’t love the travel). Our bills are minimal. We don’t have kids. And my husband is also an entrepreneur with a successful business. Which means we can live wherever we want.
What do I really have to complain about? Nothing.
I have a warm house, food on the table, a partner who loves me, healthy family, a cuddly dog, and clients who love working with me. (I even asked him if my husband last night if he could pay the bills so I could be a stay-at-home-dog-mom and he said yes. Then I told him about my yoga pants addiction and the allowance I would need… hahaha)
AND it’s still a shit show.
So, NOW WHAT?
Instead of planning, I’m manifesting. I’m creating the vision for what I want my life to be like – and while I’m working on what that really is, I’m taking it one step at a time.
Our first step? We’re going from the lake to the ocean – physically and metaphorically.
Right now we’re selling stuff and packing everything else into storage (like we planned 6 months ago.) Then after spending Christmas with my parents, we hit the road to Florida with what fits in our cars. We’ll be staying in Boynton Beach in a furnished rental (shout-out to Janet for finding that for us!) living a month-to-month lifestyle figuring out our next steps as we go.
Speaking of next steps, I have a workshop for that. A workshop I built because I needed it for myself.
Back to the How It Started vs How It’s Going challenge – this is mine. 6 months ago vs today.
I plan to post a new one 6 months from now. Today’s snowy picture with the next one in May 2021 wherever we are. But not just the photo, I plan to go back to My Life Vision and look at what I manifested for my life 6 months from now. Otherwise, why bother visualizing what we want if we never take the time to see if it actually manifested?
This is why I’m hosting my Manifest Your Life workshop – from sunny Florida – on December 30, January 3, and January 4. Because I need to manifest the life I want as much as you do. (Grab your spot for $20: melaniespring.com/manifest)
We’re doing it live with a workbook, a visualization, and some sharing to make sure the visions we set for ourselves come true. I need this. You need this. We need this together – as a community. To set a vision for our futures and do the work to make them come true. Despite pandemics, dumpster fires, or anything else we can’t control.
Because we get to DECIDE what we want.
We get to WRITE that shit down.
We get to MAKE a plan.
And we get to WORK on it every single day.
Welcome to the Shit Show. Grab a drink, find your seat, and let’s get this show on the road.