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You know what they say– when life gives you lemons, you move to Missouri. Just kidding, nobody says that. Someone did once say that there are 3 C’s in life, though. Those 3 C’s are choice, chance, and change. You must make the choice … to take the chance … if you want anything in life to change. If Kelly Clarkson didn’t convince you, maybe this post will.
I’m a lifelong Floridian whose biggest move (up until about a week ago) was from Orlando to Tampa. That was when I was recovering from my eating disorder, and my counselor and I decided that a change of scenery would be imperative for a full recovery. In essence, I needed to do things very differently in order to have any chance of improving my quality of life. Even then, I lived in constant denial that my physical address actually changed and drove to Orlando just about every weekend– that is, until I started dating Kyle, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Now, when I say I’m a lifelong Floridian, I mean it. I was raised in Orlando, and I went to college in Orlando (Go Knights!). Right after college, I got a job at a boutique wealth management firm in downtown Orlando, and I worked there for over five years before deciding to make Diary of a Debutante my full-time project. I competed in the Miss Florida Pageant. I also competed in the Miss Florida USA Pageant, which was a significantly worse experience, but it still counts. I love oranges. I love the beach. I went to Sea Camp in 7th grade. Hopefully that’s enough evidence to prove that I’m a Florida girl to my core. That’s not to say that I haven’t traveled or seen other parts of the country and/or world, but when it comes to calling a place home, it’s always been and always will be Florida.
Backing up a little bit– Kyle and I met when I was living in Orlando, but we didn’t get serious until I was living in Tampa and we were within a 30-minute radius of each other. Casual Netflix and Chilling (the real kind– where we actually watched movies) turned into spending every day together, which turned into moving in together, which turned into living in Maine for seven months. I can’t really explain what, but something inside me changed during those seven months. In the days immediately preceeding our 25-hour road trip to Maine, I quit my short-lived job in retail, broke my lease in Hyde Park, Tampa, and moved all my belongings into Kyle’s dad’s spare room. When I told my mom my plan to drop everything and drive to Maine with no concrete future plans whatsoever, she gave me a literal “WTF? Who are you?” reaction. The Type A control freak in me was already becoming way less dominant than she used to be. As someone who suffers from clinical anxiety, it was simultaneously one of the most exciting and stressful times of my life.
We drove to Maine with the intention of spending three of four weeks in the tranquility of his family’s summer cabin, but as writers, we both instantly fell in love with the peaceful atmosphere and quaint, small town energy. Maine really is a world all its own, and I felt my wanderlust ignite like never before (side note: It’s absolutely breathtaking in the summer, so book a trip and be sure check out my comprehensive Maine Travel Guide). Above all else, I took a lot of pride in the fact that I could finally say I’d lived outside of Florida. However, it never really felt like we “moved” because we had no furniture, we weren’t locked into a 12-month lease, and there were no formal goodbyes. Nothing ever felt final. We knew the Sunshine State would call us home eventually.
We left our Lincolnville, Maine loft in the beginning of February, and our first few weeks back in Florida were bizarre. As happy as we were to be surrounded by the familiar faces of family and friends, neither of us really wanted to be back. Even in the middle of February, we wanted more of the New England winter (and their seasons in general), and we wanted way less of Florida’s relentless heat and humidity. We held off on signing a lease to avoid being locked in anywhere and shacked up at Kyle’s super generous dad’s house in the interim. I was living out of poorly-packed boxes and bags like a super disorganized nomad, and I still have nightmares about not being able to find my cache of photo props for Instagram posts. In essence, I guess we were just waiting for a sign of some sort. We got one when Kyle was offered a job from (…wait for it…) a relationship 100% cultivated on Twitter. Within a few weeks, we were flown up to Columbia, Missouri, and Kyle and I had the “Are we really going to do this?” talk.
Turns out, we really were going to do this. To be completely honest, I had no idea and still don’t really have any idea where Missouri is on a map, and I thought Columbia was in South Carolina. Regardless, Kyle was offered a position at his dream company, adventur.es, and I offered my support and compliance in exchange for an office in a really sweet apartment. As uncomfortable as the idea of moving was, I wanted to be with Kyle, and I wanted another Maine-like adventure. Plus, what’s the point of having a flexible job if you don’t seize the ability to leave at a moment’s notice? We signed our lease the day we left Columbia, and from there, it was a done deal. We were moving to Missouri… in a little over two weeks.
Denial set in almost immediately. I held off telling my family and friends until I absolutely had to. Obviously, I held off telling y’all for quite some time, as well. As excited as I was for Kyle and for our new life in the midwest, I was really scared. We’ve been here for exactly one week, and I’m still scared. I have no friends. I got lost for over 30 minutes trying to find Target (you’re the worst, Google maps). I almost hit a Mizzou student who, to be fair, was jay-walking. I already miss my friends and family in Florida, and I miss working at home with Kyle. Turns out there’s not a whole lot to do when you’re home alone but to actually get work done, which is great for my productivity and horrible for my social life.
However, I like the feeling of a clean slate. A lot. As uncomfortable as the unknown is, it’s really refreshing. And inspiring. We have the opportunity to create whatever kind of life we want here– to make whatever changes we want, and it’s a great feeling. In short, we’re making the choice to take the chance to make huge positive changes in our lives.
So, there you have it– in the scope of somewhere around a month, I went from a lifelong Floridian to a brand spankin’ new Missourian. Everything’s been such a whirlwind that I haven’t been able to really process or announce anything until now. I apologize for the sporadic posts (or, specifically, lack thereof), but I can promise that I’m dedicated to creating content you’ll love, and and there are already some exciting collaborations in the works. I’m currently trying to get situated, ie wrap my brain around the fact that I’m surrounded by farms and over 1,100 miles from home, and I appreciate your patience and understanding more than you know! You can expect a normal posting schedule from here on out– and again, I hope you stay tuned, cause there’s some fun stuff in the works!
PS- One final note– I miss writing these kinds of posts. There’s a certain ingenuity that gets lost when writing sponsored posts, tutorials, and gift guides. My life really isn’t all that interesting, but I enjoy writing journal-style “life updates” on occasion. They come from the heart, and it’s nice to not have to make a supplemental collage or edit a zillion photos to get my point across, although I did mess around with these photos in Lightroom for quite some time. Most importantly, it hopefully gives you a glimpse into the fact that I’m not really all that obsessed with clothes and makeup. I mean, I am– but the obsession doesn’t dictate how I live my life.
PPS- If you’re familiar with the Columbia, Missouri area, please please please give me all your food/gym/entertainment suggestions. Coming from the land of public beaches, shopping malls, and Disney World, I’m in dire need of activities that don’t involve Mizzou, although I’m open to football games, specifically the tailgating festivities beforehand.