It’s Complicated

It’s been over a year since I made that long 3 day drive from Missouri to California to work and live in April of 2017.

Despite all that Northern California has to offer, it still does not really feel like home. Don’t get me wrong, I do not regret my choice to move here. My job is great and challenging. We are healthy and doing well, financially. But I do still get homesick for Missouri and particularly St. Louis.

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Davenport, CA

When I see pictures of sights in St. Louis, my heart sinks a bit. I should delete all of the St. Louis instagram accounts that I follow. But I want to see what I miss. I know it’s weird but for some reason, I keep thinking I’ll move back when I retire. Hey, I forget that I don’t have many more years to my retirement! It’s just a quick thought in my head. But I am where I will be until the end of my life’s journey. I was intimate with that city, one might say. I ran so many miles through that city. Kevin and I had so much fun there. St. Louis is an old and great city despite the crime and poverty there.

I long to be in St. Louis the same way that I longed to be in California when I lived in Missouri. I know that’s weird. My feelings are very messed up and complicated.

I miss my kids and grand-kids so much that I feel like I’m not really, completely here. They say they are moving here next summer. I think they really want to be here and nothing would make me happier. But even so, a piece of me will always live in St. Louis.

I feel so left out of Daniel and Sadie’s life. I was very close to them and watched them grow and contributed to their upbringing. This must be how an empty nester’s feels.

And what makes it worse is that my baby brother is very sick. Since I am the older sister, I feel like the Mama in some ways and that it is my responsibility to be there. He has a great family and life there but I feel I should be there for support and comfort. I wasn’t there for my other brother when he was fighting cirrhosis and died a few years back.  I have 2 sisters that I feel like I deserted.

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My baby brother and one of his 2 sweet grand-kids.

Most days and weeks, I’m happy and fairly content. But other days, I fight depression. Yes, I said it! I think not many people would know that about me….that I have experienced depression since I’ve been here. It’s not that often or that bad..ok it can get pretty bad occassionally. I’ve thought of seeing a counselor but somehow, I feel that makes me weak or a waste of time and money. I’m the tough one. I’m the one that adjusts to everything. I’m clutch! Kevin is a good friend, husband and person. I couldn’t keep my sanity if I didn’t have him. He’s patient with me and sees the pain that I am in when I go through these episodes. He tolerates and puts up with my crying spells.

Peyton and Eli are aging. It really shows on Eli lately and he is the younger of the 2. They are not that old but Eli is experiencing arthritis and walks like an old man. It’s never far from my mind that one day….probably soon that I’ll have to say goodbye to my babies. I have tears in my eyes even typing that. At the end of every work day….those boys welcome me home like a queen. That will never get old! It’s all I think of driving home….getting that love!

Image may contain: Charlotte Barber Snead, smiling, dog, outdoor and nature
Peyton, Me and Eli

This area is full of natural beauty. I relish it. I indulge in it. But, the traffic is horrible and it pushes the limits of my patience…not that I am known for patience.

Daniel is flying here “solo” in the middle of July and the rest of the family is coming out for a visit 2 weeks later. I look forward to that like a kid looks at Christmas! I go to sleep thinking about hanging out with Daniel for the 2 weeks he is here alone. I want to spoil him like I used to!

Image may contain: Charlotte Barber Snead, smiling, sunglasses, sky, outdoor and closeup
My friend, playmate and husband

I don’t blog much anymore. I find I either don’t have time or don’t know how to put my thoughts into words like I used to.

I had gained considerable weight and stopped running which also caused some depression. I’m happy to say that I’m on track to getting back to my goal weight. I am running again consistently and it doesn’t suck so bad. Kevin has lost a lot of weight and runs with me regularly. We are getting into some local 5ks and 10ks which is helping us feel like part of the community. It’s still not like those running parties in St. Louis. I do really miss those.

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Moi

I’ll wrap up by saying that I love it here. I love my job, the ocean, beaches, redwoods, sea lions, otters, parks, diversity of people…..I’m happy that a boss turned friend gave me this opportunity. When my son, daughter in law and sweet kiddies move here, I will be content.

My advice to myself ~ life is short, stop bitching ~ 

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Adjusting to California

This time last year, I was on vacation in California dreaming of the time I might be able to move here. Life can change on a dime.

It has been a little over 4 months since I moved from Missouri to the Bay Area in California. I either have not felt like blogging or had no time to do it. It is hard to sit down and put into words how your whole world changed so quickly and dramatically and how it affects you.

The first month was very stressful. I was starting a new job. I was in corporate apartment that did not feel like home. I was alone. I was so homesick. I missed Kevin, Peyton, Eli, Daniel and Sadie. I was trying to sell my house in Columbia. I was still paying for an apartment in St. Louis due to a lease. I did not really have anyone to confide in. I did make a good friend who happened to be my manager but I could not lay all that heavy crap on her! She would start to believe she hired the wrong person!

I just left a job that I had spent 17 years doing, a house that I loved, an apartment in St. Louis where I spend great times with Daniel and Sadie. Sometimes when I think about Daniel and Sadie being so far away, I get very sad to and it is almost unbearable. I feel like they are out of my life completely. It is even hard for me to talk to them now on FaceTime without crying. I miss playing with them in my backyard and Forest Park. I think of that daily.

I love the ocean, redwoods, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, the Bay Area and everything this area offers. I go back and forth between being super excited that I live in my place of dreams to a depression that is hard to shake off.  I miss Columbia, my house, our beautiful backyard and my butterfly gardens and the birds. However, I miss St. Louis so much that it is hard for me to think about it without crying. I will never see that city again. I feel sure of that. I knew when I left it the last time that I would never see it again. I still keep up with Facebook and Instagram friends from St. Louis. I love seeing the pictures of everything I miss, but it is hard to see them without getting sad.

I did so many special things there with my family. I first went there when I was a little girl with my Mama and Daddy to see the St. Louis Cardinals. I watched Cardinal games with my brother Barry and his family.

I ran this city! I knew this city! I ran so many miles through those streets in the heat, rain, snow and cold. I loved running there. I ran my first 5k there in Soulard. I ran my all my half marathons there. I ran my first marathon there. I trained for the Chicago Marathon there.

I miss Broadway Oyster Bar, Forest Park, Art Hill, The World’s Fair Pavilion, Soulard and Soulard Market, The Hill, Adriana’s, Pi Pizza, Mardi Gras, Llewelyn’s, St. Pats Day Runs, Straub’s Chicken Salad, Coffee Cartel, Greek Fest, Benton Park Café, Off Broadway Music Hall, Tom’s Bar and Grill, Hop in the City and Schlafly’s Pumpkin Ale. I miss going to Daniel’s school events. I will miss Grand Friends Day at his school every October. I miss the St. Louis Blues and I miss the St. Louis Cardinals. I miss too many things to even count. The list of what I will miss is almost never ending. I love that city. I always have. The best times of my life were spend in St. Louis. I suffered and recovered from a serious surgery in that St. Louis apartment. I celebrated two St. Louis Cardinal World Series Championship wins in that downtown.

Most people would not know it but this has been an incredibly hard adjustment for me. I am still not quiet adjusted. I can be so depressed at times that I feel like I need help. Kevin has suggested that. Then the next day I am enjoying California as though I am on permanent vacation! I love all this area offers. I have gained weight. I do not exercise even close to what I did in Missouri.

How can I be both so happy to be in a place and so gut wrenchingly sad at the same time?

I love my job and everyone that I work with. They are professional, quirky and personable. This company was very generous in their financial support for the move. If they had not been, I am not sure how we could have done it financially. Kevin and I had set ourselves up pretty well financially for a move like this but it would have depleted our savings practically if not for my relocation benefits. I was fortunate to find such a position with a great company. I work in a place that makes robots for major surgery events! Kevin found a great job that he loves. Our financial situation is good and sound.

We found a very nice neighborhood and house to live in. I have always dreamed of having fruit trees. I have lemons, apples, cherries, loquats, avocados and Japanese persimmons in my yard! Yes, it cost a small fortune to live in but we love it and it is reasonable for the area. However, for some reason, I still cannot feel at home there. Kevin has done most of the decorating, which is not much! I cannot make myself do it yet. I am getting a little better. I have a hard time sleeping which has never been an issue for me. Many times now I sleep with the TV on or on the couch with the dogs just to keep my mind from racing over all the things in my head. My baby brother is very sick and I feel like I am a lifetime away from him. I miss Ashley and Allison. I miss my friend Jerry. I fear my own health crisis if I do not take care of myself.

I question many times if this move was the right choice. Kevin and I talk about it sometimes. I know that I would be miserable in Missouri without Daniel and Sadie being there. Kevin loves it here. He is comfortable here and knows the area like the back of his hand. I love it here! What the fuck is wrong with me?

In my perfect world, I would have brought my house here along with my kids!

I did not take any time off from my last job and drove 3 days straight to California to start my new job. In retrospect, I should have taken a week or so off. Maybe that would have helped with my adjustment but I feared that time in between with no health insurance. In addition, I was paranoid that something could possibly happen like a car wreck or other illness that might put us in debt and especially since, I was driving 3,000 miles with little rest during that time. Then Kevin had a 3 day drive here as well a month after my drive.

So….

I love my job, my co-workers, my house, my neighborhood, my financial position, the area, the sea lions, the otters, the whales, the beaches, the redwoods, the city, the fruit trees, the parks, the diversity of the people and land, the hard working people that make up Silicon Valley.

Here I am in the place that I always dreamed that I wanted to live with the job that I feel very fortunate to have yet I am pissing and moaning like a little bitch.

~ Living the Dream, Sorta ~