"Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans." -John Lennon
We weren't looking for any of it. We had a plan. It wasn't a terrific plan, but it was a plan: Move to Colorado so David's mother could help us get on our feet while he went to school. With the exception of the greatest friendships in the world, things in Illinois had begun to deteriorate. We kept trying to put band-aids over the wounds of the life we'd tried to build, but as with anything that isn't fixed at the foundation, it just crumbled. We were losing everything and had to do something about it. We were so tired of fighting. We didn't have time for the things that were valuable to us becuase we spent so much time working uphill and nothing improved. Colorado, even though we were NOT looking to move, offered us a respite and a new start. We decided, amongst the pained protests of our loved ones, to move ahead because we love each other, and couldn't let the deterioration spread that deep. Long story short, our journey anew began.
Within weeks, I had gotten a job, we were living with bare bones in his mother's basement, and he was registered for school. I was not looking for anything else. We just needed to get our feet under us. I had resolved myself that I would do anything to just get solid...It's demoralizing to admit defeat. But here was our chance to prove that we have what it takes. After the recovery, of course. I wasn't looking for work, thankfully, as so many people we had left behind were, or knew people who were. Because I wasn't looking, it appeared. A month after I'd started at a job that I didn't love, but had willed myself to like, because that is how you do it when you have to, I received a call from the University of Northern Colorado, offering me the best thing to happen to us in a long time. It is here that I am finding my passions all over again. I have been inspired, moved, and educated daily. I find that I try to be here, and that I want to be ever more involved. I even went as far as hosting Evelyn's birthday party in the hall that I work in. It has opened doors that I didn't know I needed opened...
We weren't looking for our home. We're renting, which after the pain of loss that we've just experienced with the alternative, is PERFECTLY acceptable. I knew that this was the reality, and had been exploring options for relocation to Greeley, which is where I work, and where Evie goes to school, but I was not LOOKING. I mean, who wants to move around Christmas, in the winter? Well, the opportunity presented itself to me, and by happenstance, works out perfectly. It's a duplex, it's small, there are no trees. But for our purposes at the moment, it works. I am magnetically drawn to the East side of town, by the University, and coicidentally where everything else I love about Greeley is located, but because of other things that we weren't looking for presenting themselves, it works perfectly. For the first time in my adult life, I work less than 15 minutes from my home. The sheer amount of time saved by being that close is unreal.
We weren't looking to be working on 2 different University campuses. David's amazing course of events that led him to his current occupation at Colorado State University was unexpected and very, very positive. We could never have imagined that we would be in the best financial and occupational situation that we could have hoped for. For the first time ever we had to CHOOSE how many benefits we wanted to utilize at any one time instead of praying that no one would get hurt because we didn't have health insurance. Because both of us work for higher education, we can both complete our education in whatever we choose, as we go along with jobs we already enjoy. The positions we hold are priceless. The impact that has on our lives is intangible and monumental. David is a different person with that kind of security... in truth, we both are.
We weren't looking to become heatlh-crazed. Ok... I'm still not stellar at it... and I'm not even going to pretend like I'm going to give up my appreciation for the fact that food is a gift. It's so much more than just nutrition for human beings, and I love that about our speicies. We bond over food, and I would never give that up, but I can be more aware of what I'm doing to myself. I woke up one morning and my hips hurt. I'm 33, and my hips hurt... from sleeping. It's a new mattress, a great new mattress, so it wasn't that. Nope- I'm in the worst shape of my life. A friend looked at me at work one day and said, "We should run a 5k." Now anyone who has ever known me has heard these words from me, and probably would have expected this as a response to this wonderful woman, "I don't run." But instead, I said, "OK"... What?!! Ok. I wasn't looking for a new lifestyle, but it found me anyway. That weekend I started walking, then jogging. When the snow didn't stop coming down, I decided that something more had to be done, so I took the madness indoors and became a gym rat. I have never looked back. My body is fighting me- it has been predominantly sedentary for 33 years afterall, but I keep fighting back, with a fervor that I've never had. It's easy to be healthy out here. I'll never be a "runner" but I'm not opposed to being chased by zombies for 3 miles, or getting sprayed with colors, or any of the other fun runs out there...because for the first time, I think I can.
We weren't looking for a church. Seriously- we just wanted coffee. I suppose we had both been open to the idea, but with the constant state of flux that we've been in since June, when we moved out here, neither of us were set on seeking it out. One day, I walked into John Galt coffee shop with my supervisor to get a cup of coffee and chat. I was immediately drawn to the art that was being displayed, the incredible coffee, and the fact that I could see myself hanging out with most of the people that were there. Coincidentally, it was the same location that I had read about in an article outlining some of the best highlights in Greeley, Atlas Church. I was committed to bringing David back there to experience the greatest cup of coffee that I'd had in ages... sorry Starbucks, nothing beats a true french press brew! Evelyn was at her theater class (on the East side of town) and we decided to pick up a joe while we waited. While we were there, Jeff Cook, who we didn't realize was the pastor of Atlas, struck up a conversation with Ronan (who was absorbed by Angry Birds), and we asked to see the theater part of the church. Two weeks later, we tried it out, and our souls were moved to the core. There are no words for this place. Between the messages, aesthetics and music, we were blown away... but then, there were the PEOPLE. This super warm and welcoming group of people... and I don't just mean the pastor and his wife, Kelly, the whole place buzzed with warmth and welcome. We've met several people that I would be drawn to in any other setting as well. It's our kind of community... which is an instrumental and essential word. I chose it carefully. Community. I do not think that community and church are mutually exclusive. I believe it takes a special formula to create this integral and elusive environment. What's more, we didn't even know we needed a community...but it chose us.
We didn't want to change the plan. I think upon every new presentation of opportunity we looked at each other and questioned if we should deviate from the plan. We changed so much for the plan. We left so much for the plan. But if I've found one thing about this journey that we're on, it's that our plans have not gotten us very far in the past, and it's time to follow God's and the universe's plan for us instead. Say yes to UNC, CSU, goofy Greeley, and an unexpected, immediate draw to this beautiful community. I feel that we are here at a time in which the plan is being defined for us as we go, and it feels big. I've never felt this way. We still do our due dilligence to live the life of responsibility and expectation- we both go to work and give it everything, we put our kids in the schools we believe will help them grow, we are making healthy lifestyle changes, we go to bed at a decent hour (usually), we clean our home, we keep up with friends and family. But I've given up on the plan. We have big dreams that we will never give up on, but we've grown up so much since we let go, that I feel like it's now less plan, and more dreams. Life just keeps happening, even if we had other plans.