Follow Your Heart
In the practically 15 years I've been married (it'll be 15 years December 11), I've lived a lot of places. In fact, I've lived in 6 states, 10 cities, and 13 houses, which doesn't count all the moving around I did as a child of a preacher man. In fact, I think my total number of states lived in would be 10 or more... I've lost track. The reality is that I could move again at any moment and I'm okay with that because I've accepted it. I know that to be married to the man I am, I understand that this is my reality. No, I'm not a military wife; I just have a husband who works in an industry that relies on contracts, and they gain and lose them frequently.
All this traveling and moving could easily give a girl reason to lose heart. I've lost my roots. I've lost my friends. Fortunately, I've been able to hang onto one best friend throughout the years. (She knows who she is.) But even that's been hard because she's become hours and hours away and I'm grateful for Facetime. I've also lost connection with my family. I've had to say goodbye to houses, acquaintances, familiar places, and even cars. Once I get established in a place, it feels like I get uprooted again.
But the one thing I've been able to hold onto during all of this and the only thing that has been my assurance throughout the past 15 years is my heart's urging.
When people ask me why I do all of it, I answer, "I follow my heart."
I love my life. I wouldn't trade it for anything. However, it can be lonely as my life is unique. I'm a full-time writer who isn't well-known, and my husband's job is the reason I get to stay at home and do my writing thing. I'm fortunate enough that my husband is blessed with an amazing career and he works for an incredible company. However, there are ups and downs to that. Being able to stay home is only one of the amazing perks I have. Yet, he works hard and there are many days I'm left alone for hours upon hours. As a mother of four preteen children, there are times I'm overwhelmed with the task. Over the years, parenting has been hard and it's felt like a never ending hill to climb, but I'm grateful. Anyone who keeps track of my posts knows that I'm married to the love of my life. I met him in high school and we've been together for 18 years. He supports my writing more than anyone else. Does he read my books? Not really. He falls asleep as I read to him, sometimes, which is enough for me. I know he works hard. He works hard to make sure that I can stay at home and keep writing. When I think about getting a job, he says, "You won't be happy there. Just keep writing. It'll work out. I want you at home."
Many people live for their jobs, money, material items, advancement in careers, and other things like this, but I decided a long time ago that I didn't want a life like this. If you've read any of my previous posts you know all about my history and know how I believe life is short and needs to be lived to the fullest. Much of the reason I got married at 18 years old was for this very reason alone; I wasn't wasting valuable time. Why lose years of your life for things that don't really matter?
What matters to me is what's kept close to the heart: family, friends, people, home... things that we love... but over the years I've lost many of those things and have had to improvise some because of the life I chose to lead. All of this adds into how I keep following my heart, which is really some of the best advice I can give anyone. You know in your heart if something is right or wrong. Just like a little child looks to their mother just before he/she does something they aren't supposed to do as though they are waiting for their scolding, we know when we are heading in the right or wrong direction if we just take a pause from our busy lives. Even when I had three kids aged 6, 4, and 2, and one in the oven, and my husband was working very long days, six, sometimes seven days a week, ultimately, I knew I was in the right place then and I know I am now. But if tomorrow my husband said, "Honey, I have news..." I would agree with a smile...
And as Jane Austen said, "It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do."- Jane Austen, Sense an Sensibility. Making a difference for my husband and being certain he is happy is more important to me than any career I could ever have. After all, he is the one who has to work the job every day. He has to be there; he has to wake up at 6am and work the long hours. He is sure that I get the house of my dreams (within reason and what we can afford, of course), so why shouldn't I support him and his adventure of whatever job he wants?
To make a huge difference in one person's life might be more notable than making a small difference in a million people's lives. The best thing I can do is to follow my heart and go wherever life takes me. So far, that's been Ohio, Tennessee, Delaware, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, and back to Ohio again. Where I'll go next, I'm not sure. But I know I'll follow my heart. It hasn't been wrong yet. Living for my heart's desires doesn't mean I'm selfish and it doesn't mean I put my needs and wants before everyone else's. In fact, I believe it's exactly the opposite of that. There have been times that I've wanted to go back to college and become an editor or become a journalist, but my heart tells me that's not what's best, therefore, I don't. I stay at home and my husband remains the sole provider (even if it means we don't get fancy vacations and I drive a crappy car), and I keep working on my writing.
"There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature. "-Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey.
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