Westward Bound

Since Melanie and I have decided to move our family to California, the most common question that I’ve been asked is “Why?”.  It’s a good question.  I can’t give one of the usual answers like “My job is taking me there” or “To get closer to family”.  The reason that we’ve decided to move is simply because we have committed to living a life of consciousness, exploration, and fulfillment.  A life where anything that we can dream of is possible.  We intend to lead by example for our children in that respect.  We’ve decided not to live in fear and we are refusing to leave any “what if’s”.  It would be easy for us to make up a million reasons why we shouldn’t go, but in reality, those would just be excuses.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that if you don’t move, you’re living in fear.  I’m a big advocate of living wherever and however you want to live.  But live in that place because you want to live there, not because you feel like you “should”.  This is exactly where we found ourselves.

Melanie grew up dreaming of living in San Diego.  My path almost took me to California once before.  Luckily life took a 13 year detour to Chicago.   In that time, I’ve married the woman of my dreams, started a successful company, made some life long friends, had two amazing children, and traveled the world.  Now it’s finally time to get back on my original path which was pulling me to the west coast. To start the journey off right, I’ll be making a cross country road trip with my Dad.  This is all a once in a lifetime opportunity that I won’t let pass.

Since deciding to move, it has been a whirlwind of planning and a rollercoaster of emotions.  On the morning of my departure from Sweet Home Chicago, I can tell  you this, I’m more invigorated than I’ve been in years.  I’m truly excited about life.  We’ve realized that we have the potential to create anything we want.  We are embarking on an adventure into the unknown, but isn’t that life?  Doesn’t that happen wether we choose to or not?  Do we really know what tomorrow brings?  Wether it is where you live, who you are with, or what you do, choose with intention. I encourage you to give it a shot. Consciously choose your next step in life, whatever that means for you, and don’t be afraid to step into the unknown.

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Courageous Women 

Photo Credit: http://www.respectwomen.co.in/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/strong_woman.jpg

As men, we are expected to be courageous. That can take the form of protecting your family, making tough decisions, or standing up for what you believe in. Sometimes woman can be overlooked or under appreciated when it comes to being courageous. There are a bunch of great examples of courageous and inspiring women throughout history; however, when I think about the courageous women in my own life, I get inspired.
Take my mother for example. Can you imagine learning that you are pregnant at 18 years old? She was still a child herself and faced with a life changing decision. Does she keep an unplanned baby, give it up for adoption, or terminate her pregnancy? I know she had a great support system in place, but at the end of the day, this was her decision to make. I can’t say what decision is right for anyone in that situation. However, I can tell you that I’m damn happy that she had the courage to have a child at a young age.

I’m not going to pretend that my mother is a saint or hasn’t made mistakes. We all have. That is being human. That is also what makes her courageous, especially recently.

In her mid 50’s, after living in Youngstown, Ohio for her entire life and more than two decades of struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, my Mom made the bold decision to move to Chicago. She did so knowing that there was a real possibility that her children, despite being in Chicago, might not have a relationship with her. Many people would use this fear as an excuse. She didn’t. Instead, she found a sober living house and started img_6451-1rebuilding her life. She fearlessly learned how to navigate the train and bus systems, something that I, despite being in Chicago for almost 15 years, still haven’t figured out. She learned how to get along in a city of 8 million people, coming from a town of 65,000. She started to volunteer and eventually assumed a management role at the sober living facility that had changed her life.
She slowly and patiently rebuilt trust with both of her sons and daughter-in-law and quickly built relationships with her grandchildren.

Today, my mother has evolved from a courageous women into a fearless adventurer with a thirst for life. When we told her that we were relocating to California, we asked her if she would be interested in doing the same. After some thought, she said yes. She had decided that she would not allow obstacles or excuses to deter her, but instead identified those obstacles and ways to overcome them.

When my Mom watches our boys, she courageously explores with them. She doesn’t worry about how she will handle two little energetic guys at a restaurant, she just does it. She figures it out as she goes. When our house was in shambles from construction, she didn’t fret about where the boys were going to sleep. She adapted, making beds out of pillows and blankets in our basement for them.

Now, my Mom not only fully lives life, but she unknowingly inspires and sets examples for my boys and Melanie and I. Live life courageously, don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you, be flexible and adapt, keep your priorities straight, and possibly most importantly, it’s never to late to start living the life that you want!

So take a minute to think about the courageous women in your life. Maybe take a minute today to tell them how brave they are. If you feel inclined, share your story of a courageous woman in your life.