Where the Wildflowers Are

As promised, I’m back for the second week in a row! I hope everyone had a great week and isn’t too weighed down by the daily grind to kick back and relax or go on an epic adventure. If you are, then maybe this post will help you out a bit. Today I want to talk about our new day to day, and the awesome adventures we are (and aren’t) having. As I mentioned in my last post, when we got here it seemed like things just sort of fell into place for us. I was able to get a really nice 2015 Hyundai Sonata that came fully loaded (like this thing has a panoramic sunroof and air conditioned seats. I didn’t even know they made air conditioned seats.), Dan found a welding job that he doesn’t dread going to every day, that allows him to listen to podcasts while he works, and that gives him plenty of time to go to the gym every day before I get home from work, and I was offered a job as a dispatcher at my cousin’s boyfriend’s new and impressively successful business, with a sweet 6am-3pm schedule and an hour lunch that gives me plenty of time to hit the gym, myself. Soon after finding our jobs, we found an amazing two bed/two bath apartment that allows all breeds and sizes of doggos. We have a great patio for drinking coffee and beer, the complex backs up to a Starbucks and Black Rock (a super cool small coffee shop chain out here), and when we take Isley for her nightly walks, we have some pretty sweet mountain views. So we go to work and the gym every day, come home and cook a delicious meal for an early dinner, take Isley for a walk, and then have the rest of our evening to do with as we please. And then on the weekends we’re free to explore our new surroundings. It’s exactly what we had hoped to find out here. Sort of.

On paper this all sounds great, but if you really know me, you know that if it sounds great on paper to most people, it’s probably driving me insane. Now, before I really get into this and lead everyone to believe that we aren’t beyond grateful for all that we have here, and that we aren’t enjoying every bit of it for it’s full value, I want to be clear that we are. I never would have been presented with a job like the one I have now in Pennsylvania, where I am learning new skills and growing into it more and more each day, and I’m not planning on quitting it any time soon just because it looks too good on paper. There also isn’t a day goes by that I don’t look at the mountains and palm trees on my daily commute and think “holy cow, this place is beautiful.”  That is not at all what I am saying here. What I am saying is that Dan and I both have some unfulfilled needs, and I personally am not good at “well enough.” We didn’t only come here for the weather and job improvement, we came here for some bona fide adventure. And let me tell you, a two bedroom apartment, Hyundai Sonata, and office job do not an adventure make. An adventure has passion, exploration, and plenty of creativity. A completely fulfilled Jenni would have a job that allows the flexibility to travel, something that can go on the road with her, the time to get outside every single day for more than just a thirty minute walk with her dog, time to explore creative passions like writing and trying something new like podcasting, and I think we all know that a big apartment in the suburbs is a far cry from the converted school bus home that beckons to the soul of a satisfied Jenni. This is a great life that we’re living here in Arizona, but is it our ideal life? Probably not.

So how are we making sure that we’re getting the most out of everything we have here? In the exact opposite way from what you’re probably thinking (unless you really know me, then it’s exactly what you’re thinking): A strict schedule and LISTS! I know, I know. I’m complaining about a lack of adventure and how an office job makes it difficult to be spontaneous. But do you know what else makes it difficult? Not thinking you have enough time in the day/week to fit things you really care about doing in because you aren’t managing that time well enough. When we first moved into the apartment I was getting borderline depressed because I felt like there just wasn’t time to go to work, take care of necessary daily tasks, make sure our pets were happy, see all that Arizona has to offer, get to the gym, and pursue my passion of writing. As a result, I was going to work, throwing some spaghetti on the stove, and then plopping down in front of the TV to watch The Office for hours until bedtime. A couple weeks of this and I just felt my true self slipping away. I’m generally a happy and energetic person, but I was just so drained and lifeless, so I decided that something had to change. Dan and I didn’t spend all of this time and effort, and leave our loved ones on the other side of the country for me to sit in front of a TV every night. So I made a spreadsheet that outlined every half hour of every day, and I made sure I fit in time for exploring, time for relaxing, time for writing, time for walking Isley, time for chores, and time for the gym. Do you believe that by doing this I was even able to find time to cook delicious meals, date nights, AND girly “me” time? Truthfully, this schedule was pretty stressful for the first two weeks. But I knew that I wouldn’t be happy if I wasn’t spending at least a little bit of time in every part of what drives me positively, so I committed to the schedule, and after a couple of weeks, a rigid schedule became more like habits that I looked forward to doing, and I was able to ease off of the strict adherence and just go with the flow of things

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Another issue we were running into was the proverbial “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” trap that has plagued couples for centuries. When we would finally reach the weekend and have two and a half days of zero responsibilities ahead of us, we would spend its entirety questioning what we were going to do, instead of doing anything at all. “Well it’s 9pm now, wanna just order a pizza and watch The Office?” To combat this routine once and for all, I looked up weekend events, festivals, and farmers markets, and put them into my calendar so we always had an arsenal of new things to check out. We also came up with a bucket list of hikes, scenic drives, and National Parks and Monuments we wanted to see. Now we spend ten minutes at the beginning of the week exploring our options so we’re preset on what to do when the weekend comes. This weekend we’re taking a drive down to Tucson, detouring along the way to hunt for wildflowers. If you haven’t heard about the super bloom that’s taking over the deserts of California and parts of Arizona, do yourself a favor and look it up.

We’re pretty clear on what we want from our lives. We recognize our daydreams, and feel into what drives us. We just haven’t figured out how to get to it yet. We’re taking steps every day – sometimes huge strides, and sometimes baby steps,but in the meantime we’re also appreciating everything we already have. I am so grateful for all of my opportunities and the amazing new things I have to explore out here in Arizona, but every time I feel like I’m losing that spark of excitement for life, I take a step back to see what I’m missing and think about how I might be able to get it. It’s an imperfect process, but it serves me well, and it has lead me to some pretty great things already.

15 thoughts on “Where the Wildflowers Are

  1. I absolutely LOVE this blog! You guys are an inspiration and the ideas and tools you use to get even more out of life are so encouraging! I find myself in similar situations as you and lists and plans definitely help curb the boredom of every day life! Thank you so much! Looking forward to next week’s insights!! Love & miss you terribly! 😘

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  2. I love this and you guys so much! I say this all the time but it’s amazing how similarly we think and are doing the same things even 1000 of miles apart!! 💕😘

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  3. You know me, I love adventures! Have you hiked camel yet? Great views up there. And don’t forget to head up to Sedona and hike to the different vortex locations (before summer!!!)
    Love you both!
    Aunt Linda

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    1. We haven’t hiked Camel Back yet! We’ve heard it’s such a nice hike, but so has every other person who comes to Arizona, so it’s always packed with people. We love and miss you 😘

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  4. Love love LOVE your blog! I’m so inspired by your writing and loving hearing how you and Dan & the fur babies are doing! Miss you guys lots but so thrilled you both are finding your way! ❤️

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    1. We miss you too ❤️ we were actually just talking about you the other day and how much we miss coming to your house because you always made us feel so welcome. I hope you’re doing well in the other hot state 😂

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  5. I love reading your posts. We want to move away in a few years and I honestly have no idea where to start. How did you start planning? I just think about finding a job, a place to live with two giant breed dogs and four cats, how to even get all of in a vehicle and go and then I just freak out and stop thinking about it. But that is clearly not getting me anywhere.

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    1. I really appreciate hearing that! And to be honest, it was super overwhelming at first. Even committing to a location took some time. We started off by weeding out what we knew we didn’t want (snow, Florida, California, etc.) until we ended up Nevada or Arizona, and that choice was pretty obvious to us. And everything from there was all about taking a leap of faith and knowing that if things didn’t work out, we could always come back to Pennsylvania. Finding a job isn’t too hard if you have a good resume and references, and a place to live with two big dogs and four cats would definitely be challenging, but not impossible. I found a local Facebook page for Phoenix that listed apartments and landlords that didn’t have size or breed restrictions, and then I may have stretched the truth on the number of cats we have. We also came out here with all three pets in the back seat of our pick up truck. Obviously two giant breed dogs and four cats would take some more creativity, but you just take things one step at a time, and work one problem out, and then move on to the next. When we first started talking about moving I got all Virgo neurotic and started hyper planning every little detail all at once, which eventually lead me to giving up for a while because I overwhelmed myself into thinking it was impossible. When we finally revisited the idea, I decided to just make a list of problems we needed to solve and just work through one at a time until we had enough direction to get us here with enough money and resources to live for a couple of months while we found more permanent solutions. The first step of deciding 100% that it is something you are going to do, and you are going to find a way is the hardest. It sounds really cheesy, but once you make that decision, things just start coming together.

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