Colorado: A Love Story
My husband and I are from central Oklahoma. Up until last year, we had never lived anywhere else. We loved Colorado and all the amazing recreational activities that came with it, but I don’t know if we had ever really thought seriously about just getting up and moving. There was so much to plan out first, so much preparation was involved.
A year ago, bored with Oklahoma and feeling like his ambition (and mine too) had grown to big to fit within the state’s borders, my husband decided to take a leap of faith. Without a plan, he submitted his application for a job in Estes Park, Colorado on Labor Day weekend. Within a few days, he found himself going through the interview and testing process, and he was officially handed a job offer by the following Monday.
In less than a week, we found out our lives were completely changing. We were making the move from Oklahoma to Colorado. We have dealt with lot of transition and change over the last year, and we both feel like we have grown so much. So with that, I thought I would share with you some of my thoughts and lessons learned over the past year in our adventures as new Colorado residents. (This is basically my year in a nutshell.)
- People will tell you you are wrong. Friends, loved ones, and coworkers alike – many will tell you that you are making a mistake. Some will go on about how you “haven’t spent a whole winter there yet” or “you don’t have any friends or family there.” A lot of those fears you’ve already thought over in your head will come out of their mouths. Don’t listen. Do what you feel is right. Worst case, you realize you made a mistake and you learn and grow from it. Fear should not be a factor in any decision you make, ever. It holds you back from the most rewarding parts of life.
- The actual move will suck. You are not prepared, even when you think you are prepared. And it gets so much more complicated the more roots you have laid down. For those that have never moved to a different state, let it be known: It’s a royal pain, everything from selling your house to moving jobs to finding your new place to the actual act of moving your belongings. And if you want a frame of reference, I think a good methodology for calculating stress level is to take any within state move you have had and multiple it by at least 5.
- You will realize that it was actually not that bad. Once you finally get moved, new beginnings are worth the stress. It was truly just a case of temporary pain giving way to a feeling of accomplishment and optimism.
- Beware of traffic differences and adapt quickly. Denver traffic is a unique animal. I personally feel annoyance due to all the congestion but also a sense of camaraderie with my fellow commuters, almost like we are warriors fighting the good fight to get to work each morning. I think in order to survive in Denver traffic day after day, you have to time it right (go early!) and develop some patience.
- You’ll realize some things are just not going to work. Once you get all settled, you might realized you’ve changed and that old habits or your job (or something else) is just not working anymore. Listen to your gut! It means you are growing and changing, and these changes are vital to your happiness. Be fearless and realize you are just along for the ride in life. Find a way to follow your heart.
- And you might have a nervous breakdown over it. When I realized I wanted to go a different direction in my professional life, I freaked. What am I supposed to do if I leave this job I’ve had for so many years – that I feel like is practically a part of my identity? How am I supposed to start over? What if I am wrong? All of these thoughts flooded in. But instead of staying a mess, I made a loose plan. I decided what I wanted and thought of ways to get there. I’m a person that needs structure, and once I sorted out some details, things got better.
- You need to live outside of your comfort zone to get better. I am in a growth period. New places, new people, new jobs – everything new surrounds me. And I am loving it. I realized that to be happy, I needed change. The comfortable status quo causes you to take your amazing life for granted and can limit your ability to see the beauty in everyday life. You can’t become a better person or lead a personally fulfilling life if you never venture into the unknown.