The feelings began swirling a few years ago, like the currents in an angry sea. A storm was brewing and the swells inside me were unpredictable, and often indescribable.
My husband Chris and I were 42 years old. Our triplets were nine years old and our older daughter was 12. Over the years we had created an incredible community of friends. I had family living right down the street. It all seemed pretty perfect.
We were set with comfort, community, and friends. But these restless feelings wouldn’t go away. Something inside of me felt unsettled. I was yearning for something different to do with my life, but I felt like I couldn’t leave.
Community, friends, and family are a strong thread that holds us all together and I didn’t know how to break that thread and fly free through the world, or if I even wanted to. That is scary. The past 10 years have been very scary for me being pregnant with triplets and raising four kids, and I don’t know how much more scary I wanted to put myself through when I was finally feeling comfortable.
That is the funny thing about life, though. Sometimes right when you get to that comfortable place, you need to move toward that fear again. That is how we grow, after all.
We had just completely remodeled our entire house. We created the kitchen of our dreams: quartzite countertops that swirled in greens and blues like the ocean.
In January, my best friend Sarah and I took a trip to Los Angeles to see Mumford play at the Greek Theater. We decided to get a cute hotel near the beach in Santa Monica. For four days we rented beach cruisers and rode from Santa Monica through Venice Beach. It was 75 degrees every day, and everywhere we looked people were fit and happy and living an active outdoor life. Sometimes we would just sit on the beach and stare at the ocean for minutes that turned into hours.
When it was time to go back home, I had a sinking feeling in my heart. I could barely speak. I felt sad, but it wasn’t all about the sadness you get when your vacation is up. It was deeper than that. It was a regret that I didn’t live in a place like Santa Monica. I wanted to feel alive by the beach.
As March approached, I realized that the kids had a four-day weekend and I knew I didn’t want to spend it at home. I planned a weekend to go up to Truckee and stay at my Uncle’s cabin. We would sled and ice skate and ski. But Chris told me he had a conference in San Diego those four days. Perfect, I said. We will all come along.
Chris booked a room at Loews Coronado. I hadn’t been back to San Diego for nine years. Chris and I were married in San Diego in 2000. We bought our first home there in 2001. But I had intentionally never gone back because I knew that if I ever brought my family to San Diego, I would never want to leave.
We pulled up to the familiar Carlsbad beach at 8pm. It was completely dark but I let the dog and kids out to run on the beach. The kids ran along the sand screaming in bliss. Lulu the dog ran back and forth, flinging up sand all around her. I felt a rush of something magical come over me. I breathed in and I breathed out, the mist from the ocean filling my lungs. That is the exact moment that I knew I needed to move back. It took all of 10 seconds being in San Diego that night with my family to know I needed to break the thread and do something scary by leaving familiarity and comfort. I didn’t know if we would do it, but I knew we needed to.