Friday, September 2, 2016

Let's Catch Up...

I've been MIA from the blog for the past few months. That was on purposes. When I have a lot going on in my head, I am hesitant to say (or in this case write) too much for fear of letting something slip before I should or because I don't want to feel like I'm lying by avoiding the subject and finding ways to talk around it. So the reason for all the quietness was FINALLY made official/public last week.

I'm moving back to St. George!

After multiple conversations with my former employer in St. George (SkyWest Airlines) we reached an agreement for me to come back and work there again. Surprised? Don't worry, you're not alone. I'm still having a hard time wrapping my brain around it all.

The best part is, if you follow my blog at all you'll know that not too many posts back I wrote a whole post on why I'm so happy I moved out of St. George and how I don't think I'll ever move back there.

So, why the sudden change?

Well, there were a lot of factors that went into my decision to move back. I'll try to list them here as honestly as I can. But to be clear, it hasn't been an easy decision. And even after I made it, I've had many times where I've doubted my choice. However, I feel like there have been multiple promptings along the way that help me feel more confident in my decision. I'll get into that too later on in this post.

As my mind has been all over the place the last few months as I've worked through this decision I'll (hopefully) try to keep this list a little more organized. Best way to do that.... bullet points of course. :)

  • Family: If you know me well, you'll know this falls on both the pro and con side of my decision. lol Of course I love my family. But I don't always get along with my family. I know that I am not my normal/best self around them (with the exception of when I'm with my sister Amber, I can very easily be my comfortable self with her). While there are multiple reason for this and I'll say actions on both parts that lead to me not being my best self with them, I really struggle with the fact I don't feel like my family tries to see or know the me I am today. They take things I say out of context, or take something I said/did when I was 15 and think that's how I still feel/see the world today, and sometimes create their own entire story about who I am and how I live. Maybe part of that is because I'm not my "best/true self" around them. But honestly, part of that is because I don't necessarily trust them to get to see that side of me. Trust is huge with me. I've been burned by friends (and family) in the past, so instead of putting myself out there to experience that again I try to keep parts of myself hidden until I really feel comfortable and trust someone. Sure I may be an open book about a lot of silly things, but truly important things I don't care to share with just anyone. Wow, I really got off topic there. And all those thoughts could really be a whole other blog post all of their own. BUT the point is, I am excited to be back near family again. It was harder than I expected to be SO far away. Before, when I lived in Provo or LA, I could easily hop in the car and be home in a few hours. Now it's either 2 days in the car or a sometimes pricey flight and lots of coordination to get home. That was huge pain in the butt. Also, I've lived in Dallas for almost a year now and no one in my family has been out to visit. That has sucked. I understand why they haven't come out (it's not easy or cheap) but still it made it kind of hard. The other downside of living so far away is that I use so much vacation just going home for family things (holidays, baptisms, etc.). Obviously I'm choosing (sort of #guilt) to use my vacation days this way, but I still hate it. Another big reason is that I have missed my nieces and nephews. While I worry about them and their activities taking over my life again, I've missed them so much. They really help fill a spot in my life that not having kids of my own leaves empty. They're crazy and exhausting and I have different relationships with all 13 of them, but I miss them! I actually found a house to rent in my sister's neighborhood/HOA. It's a few streets over so we're not right next door, but Kruzzi has already told me he'll be riding his bike to my house all the time and Savvi has plans to walk over and have sleepovers. :) And since Amber is the Primary President in her/my new ward she has already warned me that I should anticipate a Primary calling, so we'll see what happens with that. It should be an interesting year. (After a year I'll reevaluate and see if I want to look for places on the other side of town closer to where my old house was, or stay on the same side as the fam. Time will tell on that one.) Moral of the story, family is one reason I'm moving back.
  • Career: I feel like there is this internal struggle inside of me when it comes to my career. On one hand, I am very education oriented and career focused. I spent so much time and money getting my degrees and starting my career in one of the bigger offices of one of the top 4 accounting firms in the country. And I take a lot of pride in that. When I was at SkyWest the first time I felt like I was really stunted in my career. There wasn't really a lot of growth potential for me and more likely than not there never really would be. Maybe a little advancement down the road, but not much. Because there's the part of me that feels gung-ho about making the most of my degrees/training I struggled with this plateau in my career. Dallas gave me a fresh start with that. There were endless possibilities and career options here in Dallas. I could literally advance and progress in my career as far as I wanted. But over the past year I was reminded of the counterpart to my career-driven side. It's the part of me that believes career isn't everything. Don't get me wrong I love to work hard and do a good job in my career, but I don't have that big of a desire to climb the corporate ladder all the way to the top. I want to work hard, accomplish a lot during the day, but then go home at the end of the work day and really enjoy my life. Fill that time with other activities I enjoy versus putting in more hours in the office to try and advance my career. So yes, I am moving back to a town where my career options are limited. I know that. I will watch friends from the accounting program continue to kill it in their careers and reach titles I may never reach, but I've come to terms with that. They will have sacrificed for those titles. And I will reap other benefits in life in lieu of big fancy titles. (Side note, I am happy with the title I am going back to SkyWest with - Senior Manager of Tax. That is a great spot to be in at this stage of my career. But I'm also going back with the understanding that this will most likely remain my title for the foreseeable future. So while my friends in public accounting continue to advance every few years, I will not be on that same trajectory. Again, something I have realized over these past 12 months I am fine trading for the work/life balance and steady job I will be enjoying.)
  • Anonymity: Clearly this list will contain the good and bad aspects of my decision to move back. This one is definitely on the bad side. I have LOVED the freedom that comes with living somewhere you don't know people. To be fair, I feel like I do a pretty good job of not caring what other people think of me. But at the same time, I don't feel the need to call attention to myself all the time. Being single and older is tricky. I still want to go out and do stuff, but I don't always want to try and find someone who wants to do that same things I want to do and then try to coordinate schedules with people. So, the only option is to just go out and do stuff by myself. Which I don't mind doing one little bit. But I'm not gonna lie, there is way more awkwardness doing stuff alone in a small town versus a large one. No facts about me are different. I'm still single. I'm still alone. I'm still awesome. But there is more of an awkwardness factor there. I think that will just be something I'll have to get over once and for all when I move back. But I will miss things like going and getting a massage and knowing there is no connection between the masseuse and anyone I know or went to high school with. I don't know why that one weirds me out so much, but it really does.
  • Church: I guess this one fits in both categories too. While "the Church" is the same everywhere, the people are different (obviously). I grew up a Utah Mormon. I think there is a lot of good that comes with that, but I also think there is some bad that comes with it as well. I think Utah Mormons are so engrossed in the Church culture it's really hard to separate "the Church" from "the people who attend church." There feels to be more of a watchdog feel to life in Utah. That may just be my perception, but let me give an example to explain my thoughts. When I was living in St. George a few years ago, one of my best friends from LA came out to visit me with her boyfriend. Now, Gospel standards - keep the Sabbath day holy. One way I really strive to do that is to not go out to eat or shop on Sunday. Clearly I make exceptions when I'm traveling, but typically if I'm at my home I try to live by those guidelines. Well when my friend was visiting really the only time we could have gone to a meal together was Sunday afternoon. But it's a small town and I didn't want anyone to see me out and think I wasn't being a "good Mormon" so I didn't go to eat with them. Looking back I think that was such a stupid decision. Do I think I'll go to Hell if I eat out on a Sunday? If that was the case, I'd for sure be going there anyways so what's the point. I think it's important to strive to live your beliefs daily, but I do believe in a loving and understanding Heavenly Father is has no intention of writing me off for eating out on a Sunday. That being said, it's not a habit I ever intend to get into, but in certain circumstances I think it's fine. Why I brought up that example for this comparison is because there have been 2 times since moving to Dallas that I have willingly eaten out on a Sunday. Some people may think twice in a year isn't that big of a deal, but for me it really is. And it's a big indicator to me of how I choose to live in a Mormon intensive city versus outside of it. But there's another, more important, difference when it comes to church that I've noticed. Outside of Utah, I attend church like normal and participate here and there, but inside Utah I am more of a leader. All of my leadership roles in church - Relief Society President, Relief Society Counselors, Young Women's President - have come to me while living in Utah. I don't know what it is, but in Utah I'm a leader and outside of Utah I'm just not. And I really enjoy/miss those leadership roles (even though they are exhausting and difficult at times. #keepingitreal).
  • Travel: I really thought I'd still travel occasionally. Obviously that would have been easier had I stayed at American Airlines, but I didn't. And most of my travels this past year have been for family stuff. It isn't necessarily buying the tickets that has been the issue as much as having someone to travel with (another curse of being single). It's a lot easier to travel with flight benefits, because instead of coordinating a trip with someone else, you just hope on a plane and go to wherever they are. I'm REALLY exciting about being able to travel easily(ish) again. Right now my top travel places are Scandinavia (Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland), Australia, New York, and Chicago. But with winter coming some of those may have to wait till next summer. 
  • Work: I guess I already touched on the career aspect above, but this is different than that. Working in Dallas was a HUGE eye-opener for me. Before SkyWest I was working at PwC in LA. My work schedule was insane. I was busy all the time. That's what I was trained for. That's what I was used to. When I went to SkyWest I maintained much of that work level. Obviously I didn't have to work the overtime that was required at PwC, but my days were still fairly packed full of work to do and get out the door. I had A LOT of responsibilities and usually only had down time if I was putting something unimportant off for another day. Work in Dallas has been really opposite of that. There wasn't the workload or sense of urgency I had at SkyWest. For the first time since starting my career I had to find ways to kill time to last through 8 hours at work. I finally got a taste for what I've come to discover is how a lot of people spend time at work - surfing the web, online shopping, reading/writing blogs. While it was nice at moments, overall it was so BORING. Like I mentioned early I like to be really productive at work. I like getting things accomplished and out the door. I want to come in, work hard for 8 hours, and leave. Killing time at work is torture to me. Another thing I learned is that I really enjoy the airline industry (but that not all airlines are created the same). Where I live there are planes overhead constantly. I found myself always staring up trying to see which airline the plane belonged to. It's an industry I really enjoy and I love talking to other people in the industry. It's impossible to talk to someone who works in the airline industry and not talk about vacation and travel ideas. I love it. I want to hear about all the cool places someone has been and get tips for any upcoming travels I have planned. I can't wait to get back to that. One last item to talk about when it comes to work is the people. I walked away from Caliber with some AMAZING friendships. I text with two of my coworkers constantly which I hope continues! And I cannot leave out my boss from Caliber. She was the best. We both talked about how the other one was like a second mom/daughter to us. She was very smart and good at her job, but more than that she was an awesome person. She had the best perspective on work/life balance of any high-level person I've known (not only for herself but also for the people working below her - aka me). She was kind, and caring, and made me feel extremely appreciated and validated for all the work I did. She is definitely the kind of boss I want to be someday. Saying that, I have to note that my boss at SkyWest is also great. He's way different than my boss at Caliber was, but one thing I'm really excited about is that he and I think very similarly when it comes to work stuff. And because of that we work together and understand each other from a work standpoint really well. I'm definitely sad to not have the regular personal connection with my boss here in Dallas, but I'm excited to learn more from my boss in St. George and he's also been great (in different ways) over the years. Comparing the two doesn't really work because it's like apples and grapes. Similar but different. (I didn't use apples and oranges because I don't like oranges so it would have been a skewed comparison.)
  • Hobbies: I feel like there's a lot of little hobbies that will be easier for me to do in St. George. Because I'm spending less time in my car commuting and just getting to places I'll have more time to actually do stuff. There's so many things I want to do at some point - take piano lessons, help coach cheer, maybe go to hair school at night, maybe teach a night class at the college, get into painting/crafts more, etc. I feel like because of the personal connections in a small town some of those things may be easier to make a realty in St. George. Not saying they all will happen, but maybe one day.
  • Marriage: This is an interesting one. I still believe finding someone I want to marry in St. George (that wants to marry me back) will be extremely difficult. I'm not just looking to get married because I don't want to be single anymore. I have no intentions of settling. I want to find someone I am compatible with. Who I feel like I am completely myself with and who accepts, loves, and understands me. Oh, and the Mormon thing is pretty important too. Actually I meant that more as a joke/aside, but I will say that since loosing my Dad that aspect of a guy has gained greater significance. Without my Dad here and both my brothers being inactive, we have no worthy Priesthood holders in my family. Which, to me, is pretty significant and pretty sad. I never want to wonder who will bless or baptize my future babies. I don't want myself or any future kids to not know who to ask for a blessing when needed/wanted (something I have struggled with since losing my Dad and especially since being in Dallas). So anyways, that was another tangent, but the point was that finding all those compatibility features includes someone who is committed to the Gospel and attending church on the regular. With that being sad, I think I needed to move to Dallas to realize finding someone to marry is going to be hard anywhere I go. Before moving out here I thought there would be a way bigger pool of single/eligible Mormon guys in Dallas. If there are, I haven't met them. So while I do think finding someone in St. George will be hard, I don't know that I think it will be harder than finding one anywhere else anymore. 
  • Financials: I don't want to spend too much time on this one, but I just have to note that I think one of the main reasons I moved to Dallas was to help me out financially. I've mentioned before on this blog (I think) that poor choices in college and for years afterwards led to me getting into a significant amount of debt - credit cards and student loans. It was bad. I was making okay money, but still living paycheck to paycheck because of how much I was paying out each month just to make the minimum payment on my debt. I remember one time, I was so poor that I went out with on of my YW after mutual and I very awkwardly didn't pick up the bill for her treat, because I barely had enough in my account to cover my own. I think about that moment a lot. It's a position I NEVER want to be in again. And clearly it wasn't that long ago because I wasn't in YW's for very long. Selling my house and a few other money situations that went along with my move to Dallas completely wiped away my credit card debt, paid off a significant chunk of my student loans, and I was able to pay off my car. Dallas was the first time in my life I wasn't living paycheck to paycheck. It has been so freeing. I completely understand why Church leaders warn against debt. And while I still have some student loan debt, it doesn't hold the grip on me it once did. 
  • Small town girl: Ugh, this one really gets me. And I think it has to do with the dichotomy I talked about before with my thoughts on career and whether I need to push all the way to the top or do what makes me happy even if it's not "reaching my full career potential". In my mind I'm more of a big city girl. I love all the restaurants and entertainment options. I love the anonymity. I love that big cities tend to pull more education/career focused people. I love the feel and sound of saying "I live in LA" or "I live in Dallas". But I think I have to come to terms with the fact that I'm apparently a small town girl. I keep leaving big cities and ending up in small old St. George. As much as I don't really want to, I think it's just time to come to terms with the fact I might just be meant to be a small town girl. :(
  • Friends: I have made some really good friends in Dallas that I am sad to be leaving. I will miss them! The other thing I wonder about is how it will be going back to St. George. Who am I going to hang out with? I had a pretty good group of friends I was hanging out with before moving to Texas, but after various events two of my closest friends from St. George I'm not really friends with any more. So I'm really not sure what it's going to be like moving back. Luckily I will have my family there if I have no one else to spend time with. (lol) But I do hope I can find a good group of friends that I feel like I genuinely connect with and enjoy spending time with.
  • Promptings: There have been multiple times over the past few months that I've questioned my thoughts/feelings about moving back. As I'm sure you can tell from all the back and forth in this post the decision came with a lot of uncertainties and doubt. In the midst of these thoughts I kept getting promptings as I'd read my scriptures at night. A lot of versus about "trusting in the Lord" and "returning to the land of our fathers" kept standing out to me. And when I prayed about what I should do I kept getting the feeling that moving back was the right thing. And I trust my gut/the Spirit/intuition/promptings - whatever you want to call it. So even when leaving Caliber was hard, and doubts creep in about my decision, I've decided to rely on those promptings and trust that there was a reason for all of this.
  • Dallas expectations vs. reality: The other question I've gotten a lot since announcing my move was "But I thought you liked Dallas?" I have liked Dallas.I've had a lot of great times here in Dallas. I have had some interesting opportunities here starting with the chance I had to switch jobs from American to Caliber after 2 months (thank goodness). I have good friends here. I've been lucky to get suite hook-ups at Rangers (Baseball) and Stars (hockey) games. But there have also been some challenges and unexpected situations here in Dallas. There are 3 things I for sure wont miss about Dallas - the weather, the drivers, and the bugs. For starters I was seriously mistaken about Texas weather. I don't know why, but I think because the only two times I had been in Texas it was sunny and warm. I guess I assumed it was always like that. I knew the humidity would take some getting used to, but really that hasn't bothered me that much/at all. It's the inconsistency. Texas weather is INSANELY temperamental. It will be sunny and clear in the morning and then a crazy thunder and hail storm in the afternoon. I've seen the weather forecast switch from a full week of thunderstorms, to a few scattered showers, to just sunny and hot in a matter of hours. And vice-versa of course. It's really hard to get used to. I'm from St. George. I need my hot and sunny summers. And the hail in Texas is unreal. I have seen some cars with hail damage and it is terrible! I am not sad to be leaving that. Now, Texas drivers. The worst! I've lived in Utah and California - two places known for bad drivers. But Texas takes the cake. I can't tell you how many times the car in front of me on the freeway came to a complete stop for legitimately no reason whatsoever. And should I mention the only real accident I've been in happened in Dallas? A 4 car pile-up (I was the front car - aka the innocent one) because people drive like crap here. And Texas has made me a worse/more scared driver. I hate it. Hopefully I'll get back to my old driving self when I get back to St. George. Oh the bugs here in Dallas. So gross!! They are just everywhere. And people act like it's so normal to find geckos in your house all the time. I do not like it. At least in St. George as long as you regularly get your house sprayed you should be critter-free. I can't wait for that! So yes, I have loved a lot of things about Texas. But there are some things I'm excited about leaving. There have been some other expectation vs. reality differences, but not any I want to get into here. So we'll just leave it at those ones. lol
This post ended up being way bigger than I planned, but I feel like I needed to articulate what led me to the decision to move back to Utah. Like I've said before, I have had conflicting feelings about it. And it's odd because I still have times where people ask me if I'm excited to move back and I'm hesitant to say yes. There is excitement, but there is also a weird feeling of wondering what it will be like to move back. But I know it's the right move and it's what I want/wanted. It'll be great.

While #TexasForever didn't end up happening I know moving to Dallas last year was the right thing at that time. If for no other reason, I think I needed to move to Dallas to change my financial situation, realize there isn't some big pool of single Mormon guys just waiting for me, and help me realize the career "path" I actually want. Now that I've learned those lessons, I guess it's time to go back. 

Wish me luck :)