It’s been a few months since you’ve heard from me (sorry about that!). But I’ll just start by saying that life has been so good lately. Full of family and travel and summer sunshine and all the sweetness of starting over. I thought I’d write more often after I moved out west, but for some reason, my head and heart were too overwhelmed with newness to make any string of words make sense, much less sound pretty. But I’m back, which feels really, really good. And this is a heavy one, so get ready. I warned you early.
I’ll start by saying that I love it here. I really do. And that’s really hard for me to admit. Which sounds funny, but just hang with me for a second.
Secretly, I kind of wished that I’d hate it. That I’d get to this point, four months in, and realize that I made some huge mistake. That there’d be this huge hole in my heart that New York City once filled, left gaping and open. That there’d still be tears when I pulled the covers up at night. I think I wished that, because I was (and am still) scared to let it all go. Scared of eventually cutting the cord. Because if I was sad enough, that would make going back that much easier. It’d make sense. People would understand. I wanted to let New York City still lay claim to a small piece of me. Because that felt safe. Like I had an unspoken backup plan or something.
In a lot of ways, leaving New York City felt like a really bad, messy breakup. And that’s not totally fair, because I don’t technically know what that feels like, but if I had to imagine it, that’s what it would be. This aching, empty feeling that you can’t quite describe. A constant state of anxiety and nerves. Feeling like someone rejected you because you weren’t quite good enough. Like something in you just had to give up. Like it was easier to walk away, but all you wanted after it was over was to go running back to whatever you just left. Like it’d be the hardest thing in the world to finally say goodbye. To untie the last few knots that were still holding you together. And that’s why I think I wanted to let New York keep that small piece of me. That little piece of hope that was really just an excuse not to go all in. To keep Colorado from having all of me. To admit that it’s pretty incredible here. That the mountains still give me chills when I see them outside my window every morning. I thought it’d be easier to hold a grudge. To smile and post pretty pictures on Instagram, but inside to know that New York City was still my safe place. The place life made the most sense. (Which is funny, because sometimes I think New York City is the most senseless place in the entire world, but hey.)
But here’s the reason, I’m learning, that moving isn’t the same as a really bad breakup. New York City isn’t going anywhere. And unlike that guy who treated you really poorly, but you’re still really attracted to for some reason (yep, happens to all of us), I don’t think I have to delete that city from my contact list. I don’t have to turn my back and pretend it didn’t happen, that it doesn’t exist. I don’t have to be afraid when I see its name pop up in my missed calls someday. Because honestly, those couple years were some of the most beautiful and transformative years of my life. And I love that city. I still love that city. Some of my best friends still live there. And I’m not saying goodbye to them anytime soon. And the cool thing is that I can admit all that, but also admit that this new season is pretty special, too. That the mountains are teaching me new things about rest and stillness. That I have new (awesome) friends pouring truth and life into me every day. (Thank you, Jesus, for that.) That I enjoy waking up and watching the sun rise, sipping my coffee a little slower and not rushing into work. That life is sweet here in new and different ways. Sweet and good and hard and confusing, just like life is supposed to be anywhere.
I’ve had a busy few months. Busy in a really good way, but also in a way that made me realize just how easy it is to get distracted by all the “stuff” and to lose focus and vision for the important things. I spent a week in Minnesota documenting a week of Young Life camp on social media (sidenote: I never knew it was possible to have so many “dream jobs,” but that, friends, was definitely a dream) at Castaway Club, one of Young Life’s premiere camp properties with some of the most gorgeous sunsets you’ve ever seen. Then I spent a week in Maryland, with a couple day “layover” in New York City, at camp with my middle school kids I volunteered with while I lived in the city. It was hard in a lot of ways, but really beautiful in others. Lots of closure and excitement to start spending more time with kids again in the the fall. Those couple days in the city were great, too. Great because I realized that as much as I missed it, I missed Colorado while I was there, too. Then I spent a week in Michigan celebrating the Fourth of July with my family, which was a blessing and such a good reminder of something I’ve been preaching to myself for years… “People matter, Meaghan. Places will come and go and you’ll be all over the place for a few years… But those people, they are going to be the thing that matters most. The people that remember to send you a text every once and a while just to make sure you’re doing okay. Hold on to them. No matter where you go. Those people matter more than anything else.” And then, just before flying back to Colorado, one of my best friends got married in one of the most beautiful ceremonies I’ve ever watched on the shore of Lake Michigan. I cried lots of ugly tears that day. For her, of course, and the beautiful love story they share, but also because it hit me hard that day just how fast life is flying by. That it’s that time in life where friends get married and start families and land really impressive grown up jobs.
And here’s where things get hard. And real. Because as much as it’s been fun posting highlights and smiles and laughter on my Instagram page, there’s some tough things going on, too. Things that don’t necessarily make for a good caption. Things that feel vulnerable and hard to talk about out loud. If you’ve been here before, it’s no secret to you that I’ve been struggling for a while with feeling like it’s never going to be my turn to be pursued. Fought for. And while sometimes it might seem like I’m the most confident and independent person in the world, that’s not always the case. As much as I wish it was. There’s something in me that would really love to be a two-some, for once. To learn to trust someone with the hard stuff. To let someone get close enough that I’d be comfortable letting them see me cry. It sounds silly now, but when I first moved here, I kind of expected to meet someone pretty quickly. To fall for someone who’d take me on ice cream dates and adventures through the mountains. Being honest, I kind of felt like leaving New York City was the Lord’s way of opening that door for me. That somehow, it’d be easier or it’d just happen. That it’d finally be my turn and the right time in my life to figure out what it means to be in a real relationship. And that hasn’t happened. So that’s hard. And I don’t really have a pretty way to phrase it. It’s just hard. It’s also hard for me to admit that’s something I really want. Badly. Maybe more than I’ve ever wanted it before. Because I’ve always been the independent one.
But here’s a truth that I think a lot of independent, adventurous girls need to hear. (And guys, too, for that matter).
You can be as independent and adventurous and ambitious as you want to be and still want to be loved. And pursued. And fought for. And to date. And to feel like you don’t have to do it all alone for once. To have someone by your side at your best friend’s wedding. It’s okay to want that. It’s okay to shed the “I can do it all myself and I’m fine going it alone for a while” attitude. It’s okay to admit that you want a relationship, too. It’s okay to be frustrated when it seems like all of your friends get their turn (multiple turns, even), and you’ve been skipped every time. It’s okay to flirt and let people in and let them see the messy stuff, too. The stuff you’d rather hide. Because the right one is going to love you despite that stuff. They’re going to love you and your big heart and your big dreams. They’re going to love that you don’t take no for an answer. That you think anything and everything is possible if you work hard enough. They’re going to love that about you.
And guys, know that the independent girl wants to feel wanted, too. She’s just like all those other girls. She wants to be fought for. Despite the fact that sometimes it seems like she’s going a million miles an hour, she wants to slow down sometimes, too. And she’s not going to stomp all over your dreams or your passions or your goals. She wants to be your teammate, I promise. And she’ll be a good one. She’ll be a heck of a good one.
It’s like that Hunter Hayes song. We all want to be wanted. God designed us that way. And he wants your love, first. But he made us to love others, too. So it’s okay to want that. You’ve got permission.