There She Goes Again…

This will come as no surprise to anyone, I suppose.

I’ve been very open about my ambivalence toward living in a small town smack in the middle of farm country. I relocated here because my new job was located in a rather remote place and I wanted to be within about a half hour’s drive of the office. It’s always been very clear to me that I’m a city person, but I tried as best I could to be open-minded, to adapt to this place and see if I could manage to feel at home here. Things got a little easier for a while, but then things changed and I kept longing for the comforts of the city.

I always feel I have to apologize for being a city person. I have friends and family who are small town people and they love that life. And many of them seem to take offense at my disdain for that lifestyle, almost as if I’m insulting them by not liking what they like. And I’m absolutely not judging their choices. I can understand why small town life would be attractive to a family raising children. But for me, at my stage of life and with my circumstances, the city makes so much more sense. There’s better access to everything in the city, whether it’s a petsitter or a doctor, a health food store or a coffee shop.

And let’s not forget the better opportunities for jobs and socializing. About six months ago while I was still working, I tried to find opportunities to meet new people. I was so immersed in the birding community and I felt the need to diversify my friendships outside of birding. Variety is the spice of life, ya know?

So I tried several things. There’s a Facebook group for my small town but it’s not very active. I looked for volunteer opportunities here and found nothing that seemed right for me. I searched Meetup.com for activities near my town, with zero results. All the activity seemed to be in Toledo, the nearest big city. I eventually resigned myself to occasionally making the hour-long drive to Toledo for events. But that seemed like such a big effort (two hour roundtrip in the evening), and I often missed out on fun activities.

This love-of-the-city-life talk may sound hypocritical from someone with a blog about nature therapy, but I think it becomes clearer when you consider my perspective. I’m 55 years old. Divorced. Temporarily unemployed. I just feel so isolated here. When I see it on the screen in black and white like that, I realize it sounds like a pretty daunting situation. (But it’s okay, I’ve got this…don’t worry.)

So although I absolutely adore my current house, and I had a fervent hope that I’d never have to move again (I’ve moved 15 times since college!), I decided that I’m done with small town living. I no longer want to try to force myself to fit into this lifestyle. So…drumroll please…I am moving back to the city!!

Female Red-bellied Woodpecker

Female Red-bellied Woodpecker

I’ve found a beautiful little ranch house in a good neighborhood of Toledo, close to amazing metroparks (aha, there’s nature!), and with a lovely yard filled with bird feeders and mature trees. When I was there looking at the house just a few days ago, the yard was alive with goldfinches and woodpeckers, and I felt at home instantly.

I’m looking forward to being able to garden again, something that I’ve not been able to do in my current neighborhood with its strict rules about what you can plant and where you can plant it. (I had to get written permission to remove a dead rose bush and replace it with a perennial.) I miss that feeling of digging my fingers into the dirt and tending to growing things.

My new backyard!

My new backyard, complete with privacy fence, gardens, and trees

I admit to a teeny weeny bit of worry that I’m out of practice and it might be a struggle to keep up with this yard. But much of my self-improvement work over the past couple of years has been focused on ridding myself of a mindset of fear, and trusting that I can handle whatever comes my way. In fact, my home search was at first limited to condo communities because I would be able to sit back and let someone else mow my lawn and shovel my snow. But you know what? I’m healthy and I can still shovel my own driveway. And let’s face it, shoveling and lawn mowing count as exercise, and that will help keep me active. If I’m still in that house when I get too old to manage it myself, well, then I’ll have to hire someone to do it. But for now, I’m fully capable of doing this.

My new bright and cheery living room

My new bright and cheery living room (but not my furniture!)

It’s easy to look back and question my decision to move to this small town two years ago. On the surface it looks like it was a majorly bad decision made out of desperation. But I realize that I learned a lot from my time here.

I’ve learned to trust myself. My intuition can only serve me well if I pay attention to it.

I learned that I’m far braver and stronger than I knew. People kept telling me that, but I didn’t believe it because only I knew how much time I spent crying and scared in my house. But now I know that that’s exactly how you know you are brave, because you can be scared but keep going anyway.

Still standing, still smiling!

Still standing, still smiling!

I learned that I’m open-minded enough to get out of my comfort zone in an effort to improve my life. I’ve learned what I will and will not tolerate from other people in my life. I’ve been knocked down by betrayal and heartbreak, yet I stood back up…eventually. And smiled.

And isn’t that what’s important? That we learn from our “mistakes” and don’t give up? In fact, as long as you learn from it, it’s not a mistake, it’s a learning experience.

I know my future holds more pain and struggles. But I also know it has the promise of more love, more happiness, and stronger connections with people. That’s another thing I’ve been focused on lately–keeping in touch with those people who mean the most to me, nurturing our relationships in person as much as possible, rather than through social media (which often gives a false sense of friendship). And it’s working. Most of my friendships feel stronger than ever now.

I’m over the moon about the next step in my journey–I cannot wait to get back to the hustle and bustle of the city! Toledo may not be a “big” city, but it’s plenty big enough for me. This move will put me closer to my Michigan friends and still keep me near my Ohio friends and family. (Fun fact: Did you know that Ohio and Michigan almost went to war over a border dispute? Yep, read about the Toledo War here.)

The Maumee River at Farnsworth Metropark

The Maumee River at Farnsworth Metropark

I’ll be close to the Toledo Museum of Art, the amazing Toledo Metroparks, great restaurants, bookstores and libraries, the Maumee River (you know I love rivers, right?), and so much more. I’m inspired and ready to fully embrace my next new hometown.

If all goes well, I should be settled in the house before spring migration ramps up. I’ll be very excited to get out and explore those metroparks–they were one of the most important reasons I chose Toledo. And I can’t wait to share my Toledo nature therapy experiences with you. Watch this space. πŸ™‚

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18 Responses to There She Goes Again…

  1. Pingback: Paying It Forward? | Nature Is My Therapy

  2. kristieinbc says:

    There is no right or wrong when it comes to personal preference for where we would like to live. It would be like saying one colour is right and another is wrong. It’s more a matter of learning to wear the colour that suits you best. I’m so happy for you that you have found a place that you are excited about. Looking forward to seeing some pictures once you are moved and settled in!

    • Kim Smith says:

      Thank you, Kristie! I’ve often thought of you while I was trying to find a place to live. Your place has always seemed so wonderful to me, both your house and its location. I certainly hope I’m going to enjoy my new home as much as you seem to enjoy yours!

  3. Cindy Opitz says:

    Hi Kim! You sure do sound good! I love the pictures of your new home as well. It looks to me as if you have a country home in an urban setting. I have never been to Toledo and I trust that it is the city you are looking for, however it at once calls to mind an early song that John Denver sang: “Saturday night in Toledo, Ohio is like being no where at all…” πŸ˜€ Sorry! I had to write it. I wish you a good start!

  4. Rob Weir says:

    Sounds like a great fit for you Kim. Life is all about doing what makes you happy and sometimes we don’t get it right the first or second times. Your new home looks wonderful and you will feel “at home” before you know it. Keep on “doing”.

  5. Donna Madrid-Simonetti says:

    Who is a badass? Kim is! WoW!
    You sound like a new person. Stronger, confident & ready.
    Glad you are moving. Can’t force things. It’ll only be temporary happinesss if that.
    The house looks nice. More pics. I like house tours. πŸ™‚
    So happy for you Kim.
    Enjoy Toledo!
    – Donna

  6. Patricia Clair says:

    The house looks great-Happy for you Kim

  7. Kim that is exciting, Im an x-inner-city gal and I know I could adapt pretty quickly to moving back if I had to. But that was before kids. You can find nature anywhere you go and out here the small towns can be so clicky, I have been rural for about ten years and really could count my good friends on one hand. All the best to you go with the flow and follow your heart. Im moving up the road and packing at the moment. Have gotten out of practice with moving and now when I look at all the cobwebs and clutter we have collected I’m happy we can discard a lot of junk and move forward too. All the very best. Look forward to seeing what flies into your new back yard.
    Kath

  8. Sharee says:

    Kim I am so happy for you! You had the courage to do what was right for you, so many of us lack the courage to do what our spirit wants. I love your new backyard and your home. You are going to be very happy there! I to am in a transition I feel is coming from my soul just have not done it yet but it feels closer everyday. I believe with all my heart our soul will lead us to where we are to be to blossom!

  9. Littlesundog says:

    What an exciting post! Kim, only you know what works for you, and you have made some great discoveries about who you are… and who you are not. I am so happy that you’ll be moving back to the city setting that you know and love. Heck yeah, there is nature to be found everywhere, but the best part is that you can still enjoy it in your new home. Jeepers… I had no idea the current neighborhood had so many rules about yards. Gads!!! That would NEVER work for me either!! I can’t wait to hear all about this new adventure!

    • Kim Smith says:

      Thanks for sharing my excitement, Lori! There are pros and cons to condo communities like this one, just as there are pros and cons with buying a standalone house. I’m just glad I pulled out of that indecision loop and picked one!

  10. Dave Lewis says:

    Your new house looks great…as does your very happy smile! Get out there and kick some butt Kim!

    • Kim Smith says:

      Will do, Dave! I’m definitely feeling my oats lately, haha. So glad to have made the decision and started the ball rolling. Things are getting very busy around here already. Putting my condo on the market next week is the next big step. Fingers crossed that it sells quickly!

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