It's time for a personal update. There's so much I've been wanting to tell you for a long time. While I'll spare you two years of emotions and stories, there is one big and exciting thing you should know: we've moved to Nashville, Tennessee.
While our peers have understood our decision with no questions asked and friends have already started booking their visits, acquaintances from other generations and other countries have raised their eyebrows and had amusing reactions.
Here's a typical exchange (generally contains strained tone and upward inflection):
"Oh really? Nashville. Mmhmm, okay. The country music place, right? Well, you're kind of from the south, aren't you? Do you have family there?"
"Nope, but we're very friendly!"
"Well, do you like country music?"
"Eh, it's okay. We can probably get into it."
We then go on to justify but are met with a blank stare and dismissive laugh.
Then, Why Nashville? What are we doing, exactly? We actually do have many reasons. I can assure you that this is a data-driven household, darn it! But really, here's the heart of the matter:
A few months ago, our lives came to a big and beautiful crossroad: my three year UK visa was expiring, I had just wrapped a significant project for my company, and I knew that I'd soon be walking across a stage in Paris, France with an Executive MBA diploma in hand. London had been difficult for me. I was not showing up the way I wanted to in everyday life. And while Dave loved London, I think that he missed the old me - the optimistic, sunny, American me. After frequent meltdowns he would non-judgmentally console me by saying, "I know this isn't the real you." Sweet but stinging.
With all this we saw an opportunity. A gorgeous, wide-open opportunity to start over, writing our next chapter from a blank sheet of paper. Having the ability to really imagine who you want to be and where you want to live is marvelous. In this fast-paced world, where we love to humblebrag about our stress levels, we simply could not pass up this unique moment in our lives. It was a chance to move to our next step with intent, not reacting to work, family, or what is considered normal.
And you may be thinking, "Okay, that does sound nice. I'm with you. But why Nashville?"
It started almost two years ago with a dress...
You may remember that I was a bit of an anti-bride. I planned to have a colored, non-weddingy, wedding dress (it's on my 10 year old vision board, for goodness sake). But when my vision got poo-pooed by Mr. Tradition, I got reeeeeal creative in my dress-hunting strategy.
Two of my closest girlfriends and I had wanted to visit Nashville, so I convinced Dave that my dress simply had to come from lvd, which just happened to be in Nashville.
Once we made it there, we had the weekend of a lifetime. I remember it like this: I ate incredible food for every single meal, and then people told me I was beautiful. Because they have to when you're the bride-to-be. I highly recommend it ;)
On our last day, we went for a run. While jogging through sunny East Nashville along the glimmering lake in Shelby Park, I turned to my friend and said, "I could live here."
As I researched more, I wasn't the only one who felt that way; 50-100 people move to Nashville every day. The weather's fantastic, there's a great athletic community, and there's a ton of business growth. The city is booming.
Immediately, I started teasing Dave about my brainstorm but had no idea where real life would take us. Fast forward to a few months ago, and we decided that it was time to choose where we would take life.
Now that we're here, it's a bit surreal. We've been in our empty apartment (I'm talking air mattress only) for one week. I'm a bit too eager to make friends (I suggest avoiding eye contact if you see me coming toward you). And we're eating out for almost every meal (forget about the Freshman 15; we're heading toward the Nashville 90).
I'm definitely having my share of oh shit moments. But mostly, I'm proud of us. Our friends and colleagues have reacted with extreme support, even coupled with a side of friendly jealousy. We are lucky and supported to have this opportunity. I know that my handful of fearful moments will be followed by hundreds more. But we listened to our intuition when we made this decision. For many years, especially when it's come to professional decisions, I've told my gut to be quiet so that I could make the "right" move.
However, I'm told that when you listen to the Universe, it shows up for you beyond your wildest dreams. So, I am ready, waiting, and trusting you, Universe...
I'd love to hear: tell me about the big risks you've taken that don't make much sense to other people...
PS - if you want to see my #newtoNashville adventures in pictures, let's connect on Instagram!