The rolling hills of Leelanlau County were picturesque on that crisp fall day. The trees were brilliantly colored. The water on Lake Leelanau was like glass. We drove by farms with red barns and small towns with ice cream shops on the corner as we hopped from winery to winery. It was peaceful and the pace of life slowed dramatically as we enjoyed the afternoon.
As I soaked up the scenery, I felt a deep sense of nostalgia and a vivid memory. My heart ached when I realized that we are just visitors to this beautiful place now. Why did we move away? How did I ever forget why we moved here in the first place?
When my husband and I were first married, we visited his dad in Northern Michigan as frequently as we could. Having grown up in the city of Grand Rapids, we were quickly discovering a love for open spaces, skies lit up by stars at night and a slower way of living.
We started exploring the idea of moving up north and found jobs in Traverse City. We found a home to rent in Leelanau County, which is a peninsula surrounded by Lake Michigan that neighbors Grand Traverse County. If that is not enough water and beaches for you, the county also has a gorgeous large lake called Lake Leelanau. Rolling hills, farms and sweet small towns are nestled among the woodlands and shorelines. We had found our slice of heaven.
Fast-forward fourteen years, two handsome sons and several sensible moves closer to work, we were ready for a bigger house and we found one a mile from our school. How convenient! We gladly purchased the home and settled in.
Our new house was in an area of Traverse City that was close to many schools and conviences. It was a good place to live. However, it was far enough from the rolling hills and reminders of why we moved in the first place that when we were looking to change course with my job, we were willing to look in other areas of Michigan.
We ended up close to where we started, with new jobs and home back near Grand Rapids. We are happy in our new life close to family and friends and I love my new job. However, I cannot help but reflect a bit on the gut-wrenching realization that life had morphed so much over our fourteen years in Traverse City that we forgot why we moved there in the first place.
I know that starting with the why is crucial to everything we do in schools. That day opened my eyes to the realization that it is just as important to start with the why in my personal life. And to hang on to that why. I don’t live life with regrets, but I do want to learn from experiences. I like to make decisions with eyes wide open, with as much information as possible on the table.
How do you start with the why and hang on to it?