Farewell, Bend

My dearest Bend,

You were here when I needed you, and for that I thank you.

How many months did I hem and haw about the decision to come here? I convinced myself to move, then talked myself out of it, then cried, then got excited, then changed my mind again. Over and over and over. 

And then I JUST DID IT. 

I needed the kick in the pants. I needed the fresh start. I needed to be brave and scared and exhilarated and free. Bend, you gave me those things. Thank you.

I remember, specifically, the very first time I sat alone in my new apartment and cried. It happened shortly after moving here. It was cold and dark, and I'd just walked Luna around the short loop in my neighborhood. The moon was huge and so very bright up in the sky over Pilot Butte, and suddenly I felt so incredibly alone and far away. 

I walked Luna home and cried. Did I really just move 2,000 miles away?

But Bend, you made it better. 

I made friends. I experienced adventure like no other adventures I'd had before. I saw beauty I'd never experienced before. I lived among beauty I'd never experienced before. I broke my first bone. And my second bone. Bought a Jeep, got tattoos, pierced some things. I had high highs and low lows.

I did all these things on my own, Bend. And all the while you were there with your mountains and your fresh air and your awaiting adventures, and you made sure I didn't forget how lucky I was.

Because I'm super lucky. 

I was brave enough to come here, Bend, and now I'm brave enough to leave you, too. I got brave and scared and exhilarated and free this year, and now I know I can do the big things. 

I can make the big decisions for myself and I will be okay. There is nothing to be afraid of, Bend, because if you don't try, how will you know? 

So thank you, Bend, for my adventure. Thank you for, in your complex and intricate way, leading me back home. I will miss you, Bend, but I will love what's waiting for me at home even more. Thanks to you.

Love, Krista 

Wisconsin to Oregon to Wisconsin: a love story and such

I’ve done some math.

It’s been 87 days since the last time I set out for a carefree run. The last time I took that initial step with no idea that my pelvis was about to crack. It’s been that long since I could simply get dressed, put on my shoes, and do the one thing I’m pretty good at.

In nearly 90 days, I haven’t once set out for a run that didn’t end within a half mile because of massive ouch. That was the last time I’ve even run in Bend. I’ve spent three perfectly beautiful months in a perfectly beautiful locale without running a step.

EIGHTY-SEVEN DAYS.

Memmmm’ries.

So I feel like I must preface the rest of this post by stating it’s been 87 days since I’ve had an outlet of any kind for my many, excessive thoughts and feelings. I either run them out or I spew them out in a blog post.

So here are some words. YOU ARE WELCOME.

So, I’m leaving Bend, right? We’ve discussed this. That’s huge. Remember all the hemming and hawing I did all those months back when deciding whether to take the leap to move west? To be honest, it took a lot less when deciding to leap back to Wisconsin.

Wisconsin is home.

I moved to Bend for love. Of myself. That was a tough move. I left behind my family and my best friends. I felt selfish. Any time I posted pictures of the adventures I got to have, I felt a twinge of guilt.

Yes. Yes, I was enjoying myself while my mom sat home gutted because her youngest child moved 2,000 miles away. Yes it was amazing. It was for me. 

I needed all of that. I needed to love me.

All my life I’d never done anything big and scary. Not anything real, anyway. Not on my own. I felt so tethered to safety and comfort. My parents moved out of Wisconsin before I did, and even they just went six miles away over the border to Illinois. I felt terrified to abandon the routine of my life. Routine is cozy and warm.

I moved to Bend just for me. I needed time for me and experiences for me. And, having been this far away from everything I know, half of that time unable to run, I’ve had a lot of time with me. Some people need “me time.” I, apparently, gave myself me life.

Moving to Bend forced me to cut that chord and find a new normal and form a new routine and discover whether I could hack it without the influence of cozy and warm.

One could argue that I couldn’t hack it because I’m returning to Wisconsin, back into the cozy and warm arms of familiarity. Or one could argue that I could because now I’m making just as scary of a leap, leaving behind this new world for another with no guarantees.

I will argue that I’m going to do whatever I want, so your argument is invalid.

I’m moving back to Wisconsin for love. Not love of me this time, but love of him. I’m ready to move back to Wisconsin for love because I gave myself enough time with me to figure out who I am, what I want, what love is, what love isn’t (this is an important lesson, friends, learn it), and how I want to spend my life.

Right now I can look outside and see mountains. But I’d rather look outside and see his car parked in front. Or wander into the kitchen to make dinner we can eat together on the couch. Or book a trip to visit Bend with him because Bend isn’t going anywhere. Bend and mountains will always exist. But connecting to another person is something that doesn’t come about every day.

I follow my heart everywhere I go. My heart is giant and vast, and it leads me on adventures everywhere I go, so I accept that. It’s also pretty reasonable most of the time. 

So my time in Bend is dwindling. Forty-five days left, to be exact. Please note that is exactly half the amount of days since I’ve followed my vast, giant heart on a run, dammit. But I digress. The good news is, by the time I’m home, I will hopefully be running again, too.

Wisconsin. Home. Family. Friends. Love. My person. Running.

Is there an option other than yes? Nope.

See you in September, Wisconsin.

Home actually is where the heart is

I've learned a lot about risk-taking in the last year. 

It's all true, you know. All those things they say. Life is short. Take risks. Follow your heart. Dream big. Go on adventures. Do the thing that scares you. 

Every inspirational cliché in the book led me to Bend, Oregon, six months ago. And thank goodness for that. I spent 33 years living safely. Never straying too far outside my comfort zone. Afraid to be too far out of the reach of everyone who loves me. 

I needed to know I could go away and be okay. So I went. And I'm okay. 

Yes, I miss my friends. God, I miss them. And my family. It took a while to get used to that. And really, I never did. I simply became accustomed to a new normal. It sure doesn't hurt that I'm in one of the most beautiful places in the country.

I like my apartment. I like the weather. I like the mountains. I like my new friends. I like my life, in general. But I always have. 

What I didn't expect is what I'd end up loving. Or where I'd find it. 

I met someone once, briefly, a year ago. Well before Bend, Oregon, was a blip on my radar. We were on a beach in Chicago surrounded by sunshine and mutual friends.

That was a good day. That was it.

In the time since we met, as brief as it was, we loosely stayed in touch through all the social media networks that keep me connected to everyone I know. That, of course, was all we had. Just an introduction on a beach one day, and a handful of quips on Twitter and "likes" on Facebook in the months afterward. 

And because life is life, it moves fast and away and apart and suddenly I'm maneuvering my way through a brand new life on the other side of the country. 

But I never really forgot that one time. That one guy in that one place that one time.

However, we reconnected earlier this spring before I returned to Wisconsin for a visit. Schedules aligned, everything aligned, and we made plans. A friendly lunch. A "how are you?" A day to catch up on all the life before, all the life now, and all the life to come before I flew back to life in Bend.

Obviously, if you've been paying attention, that's never how anything works out.

Lunch turned into intrigue. Intrigue turned into more plans. And more plans turned into the better part of an entire fantastic weekend. One weekend turned into letters in the mail. Hours spent on the phone. Plane tickets. Planned trips. Plans.

In one short trip we lit a spark that caught a flame and now my world is on fire. 

It turns out, as life and unpredictability will have it, I moved 2,000 miles from home and fell in love there anyway.

Oops? 

Except I regret nothing.

Once again, i's like they say, right? One day one person walks into your life...

And because life is short, risks should be taken, hearts should be followed, dreams should be big, adventures should be had, and fear shouldn't stand in the way, I am coming home.

Home to my one person. Back to my family, my friends, my home. 

That is where my heart actually is, waiting for me. The countdown is on.