The Break-Up I Didn't Expect

I’ve spent the last week in Austin for spring break. My husband still works for a company based here even though we live in Colorado, and since he had work to do in Texas this week, my daughter and I tagged along to visit friends and get back to our roots.

We were all still vibrating with the joy we felt on our Mexico vacation just a few weeks ago, and I geared up for this trip with the intention of seeing how it would feel to perhaps spend more time in Texas again. We didn’t want to move away from Colorado, but we were seriously considering splitting time here to get away from the cold Colorado winters and to revive our original plan of seasonal living that we had when we left Texas in the first place.

The first couple days gave us the sunshine and vitality we were craving. Chloe and I soaked in all the big-city amenities jumping from one entertainment spot to the next. We bounced our brains out at the trampoline park, cuddled ridiculously adorable lemurs at the aquarium and monkeyed around at the all-abilities park. It was exactly what we needed.

But as a blustery cold front blew through town, my perspective on things began to shift as well. Yes, it was nice having all the shopping, dining and entertainment we were missing right at our fingertips. And of course it was amazing being with old friends. But as I scratched further beneath the surface, I started to realize that something deeper was happening here than I realized.

The connection between me and Austin was totally gone. It no longer felt like “home.”

I took Chloe on a driving tour of some of our old houses, haunts and stomping grounds, and nothing felt the same. Sure, there were the bones of a life I once knew, but none of the meat was there. The home we lived in when we brought Chloe home from the birthing center had been bulldozed and replaced with a giant gaudy McMansion complete with stone lion out front and checkerboard limestone facade. Where there once stood a huge, fat tree that dripped with figs each spring, there was a sad row of tiny new trees with strings keeping them perched upright.

Have you ever gone through a really intense break-up and then one day years later finally had the realization you were officially “over” the person you were with? That after all the heartache, all the years of hashing things out in your mind, all the time spent mourning and growing, the thought of that person simply didn’t hold a charge for you anymore. That’s what this was like.

Me and Austin were officially broken up.

This city that I had once adored and once could never see myself leaving felt completely benign to me. It just…was. And more importantly, it wasn’t somewhere I really could see myself coming back to.

The rumble of the city no longer excited me. The sprawling sea of lights didn’t captivate me. The rows upon rows of raucous bars didn’t jazz me. Sure it was fun for a vacation, but it felt like the shell of something that once held space in my heart. It was like I was holding my favorite outfit from a decade ago and saying “Okay…but what am I supposed to do with it?”

I’m being reminded this week that forward motion takes us forward for a reason. The door on this chapter of my life has fully closed. I think maybe it was slowly creaking shut for the last four years since we’d been gone, but it didn’t feel official until that last little sliver of light was squeezed out.

I’m also remembering that home is relative. We change. What we need changes. And the best kind of home to nurture is the one within yourself.

For now Colorado is the physical place my body feels most comfortable. Where there are way less people, lots fewer cars and more wide open spaces. My vata dosha is still craving a dash of beach life mixed in there, but for now I’m reveling in the clarity of knowing what I don’t need. Because the don’ts are sometimes even more powerful than the dos. And clarity is one of my favorite feelings.

To clarity and the mountains.