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December 28, 2016

Why the Grass isn’t always Greener on the Other Side.

I hate clichés.

But I’ve always had this unsettling feeling that the grass is greener on the other side, and this is the only way I can describe it.

Questions swirling in my mind constantly: What should I do with my life? What if I pick the wrong path? What about the path over there? Am I in the right relationship? Is there a better match? Is this the right career? And, I wouldn’t mind doing that either. Why am I still living here? Shouldn’t I be living somewhere else?

Would my life be better if all of my circumstances were different?

I grew up in California. Aside from travel I always stayed rooted in California—Northern California to be exact. A little over five years ago my husband and I, along with our three kids, decided to pack several suitcases, put the rest of our stuff in storage, and move to Kauai. I had dreamily talked about a move like this in the past on family vacationsbut as usual when reality set in those thoughts were just dreams.

Eventually, the stars were aligned and the opportunity reared itself and my husband said that if I could figure it out he would give it a try. Thankfully he is flexible, not attached to places or things, and owns his own company allowing him to live outside the corporate box.

The grass is greener was coming to fruition—so I thought.

My family and I set off on our great adventure. I was finally getting away from it all. I was escaping the way I had been raised and the way I started to see myself raising my own kids. I had broken the Groundhog Day spell. I felt a sense of freedom. I felt like a real adult. I had always lived minutes from my parents and my friends who I have known most of my life, and I was putting 2,452 miles between everything I knew—but was I really?

I had been living on Kauai for a couple years and, of course, it was beautiful the way the sun mixes with the rain creating rainbows so vivid it would not surprise me if there were an actual pot of gold at the end and a unicorn showed up too. Life, however, has a way of removing my rose colored glasses and making me face what I’ve pushed deep inside of me.

As I sat on a couch talking to a life coach, a question I had never thought of until that moment came up and every word resonated in me deeply: “You cannot run from yourself because wherever you go you take yourself with you.”

I take myself wherever I go?

I take the questions, the thoughts, the feelings, the happy, sad, good, bad and ugly I sometimes feel. I take it all.

I really wanted something different, an adventure, and I wanted my kids to experience life outside of the typical suburban walls I was raising them in. I wanted to open their minds to a bigger world, and I’ve done this through our move to Kauai and additional travel, and knowing this makes me happy. But I have also learned several hard life lessons on this journey.

My parents—sure I put a couple thousand miles between everything I knew, but the impact of the relationships I have with my family and friends followed me. I thought the distance between myself and my parents were my ticket to freedom. I wanted to live my life my way. I still felt I was a child and I thought it was because of the close proximity in which we all lived. I thought by moving I could completely separate myself from them. The pain I carried through unresolved issues with my mom and dad weighed heavily on my mind, and the distance did not make it easier. In fact, it made it more difficult. Rejecting my parents was not going to make me happy; it was breaking my heart. I realized I took all of my unresolved junk with me and needed to resolve it wherever I was in order to be happy.

Family—the idea of packing it all up and moving to an island in the middle of the Pacific was like a dream. It was something people fantasize about and most don’t actually do it. But here I was–doing it. What could go wrong in a place so beautiful? Wouldn’t my life, my marriage, and raising kids get better? Sure everything was shiny and new to begin with, but not only did I take myself to Kauai, but now my husband and kids were with me too. I was still doing laundry, grocery shopping, getting gas, raising kids and arguing with my husband. I had to face issues head on because when you move to a place and you know no one, there is absolutely no place to run.

Overall happiness—looking at life and constantly wondering if the decisions I’m making or the way I’m living are right or wrong is a burden in itself to bare. It prevents me from actually living and being present. I thought if I moved I would become different and new. I have realized it can help me look at the world differently and experience new things, but in my heart, I know it doesn’t matter where I am—a place doesn’t dictate who I am or what I want to become—I do.

I’ve learned wherever I am, that’s where I am. I’m turning my focus away from circumstance and more toward finding peace, fulfillment, and contentment inside myself no matter where I am.

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Author: Felicity John Odell

Image:Candice Benson

Apprentice Editor: Montse Leon; Editor: Travis May

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