Alright, y’all, here it is. We all know that 2020 has been quite a whirlwind, with unknown and unexpected events than we could have predicted or imagined when we set our New Year’s Resolutions… Remember those? But, plans don’t always work out the way we expect them to.
Four years ago, I moved to Nashville to start over. I fell in love with this city when I was a little girl and knew I was destined to live here one day. Music is my passion and it’s what saved me when I chose to leave the toxic relationship I was drowning in and build a new life for myself. The journey that I embarked on was definitely one that challenged me, helped me love myself again, and forced me to grow outside of my comfort zone. I gained so much experience while building my career, had the time of my life with friends that have become family, and thoroughly enjoyed eating my way around this city. Even with the constant construction and growth, it’s a big city-small town vibe and for that, I always felt at home and welcomed by all of the other dreamers that make it so unique and warm.
Fast forward to 2019. As my dad was having health issues and I began traveling back and forth to Ohio to assist – I met a guy. If you’ve ever dated in a large city, you know that sharing those four little words, “I met a guy,” are typically short lived. But, this was different. I remember telling a few of my friends over dinner once I returned to Nashville, and they said “Brandi, you’re moving back to Ohio.” I immediately denied their accusations, because that was not part of my plan. The night I met this guy, I told him I had no interest in having children, I didn’t know if I ever wanted to get married, I had big plans that involved moving to another country, and I NEVER saw myself moving back to Ohio. I was well aware that the life I had designed was for ME – and if someone came along to be an addition to this life, they would have to accept all of the above. The universe always gives you what you need though… To make a long story short, we began our long distance relationship (with a lot of patience on his end) and fell in love. Dating from afar truly requires communication and honesty, and that allowed us to grow close and learn about each other on a deeper level. We knew after about 4 months of dating that one of us would have to compromise and move to be together. To paint a picture of my gypsy soul, I’ve moved 10 times in the past 5 years. I’ve never been one to stay in one place for too long, which was circumstantial at one point, but more so because I thrive on change and movement.
In February 2020, two months after moving into my company’s newly multi-million dollar office renovation, our suite flooded due to a construction mishap on the floor above. We found ourselves attempting to work in the unharmed space, a small portion of the suite, as well as we could. The following month, March 2020, an EF3 tornado touched down near my home, and caused extensive damage stretching nearly 60 miles across Nashville and neighboring cities. That experience is one that I will never forget, but yet another example of how quickly plans can change. Not long after, the fear and beginning stages of the current pandemic crept into our office. At this point, I felt the need to be close to my boyfriend and family and with the approval from my boss, I packed up and headed north to be with them. Please note, the packing consisted of enough to last myself and my dog roughly two weeks…
Those two weeks have now turned into 7 months. To say that this has been an easy transition would be nothing short of a lie. We all thought that by May, things would return to normal. At that point, my roommates and I decided to let go of our house we were renting and “move home for the summer” as if we were in college and would return for another school year in September. Except, I didn’t. I’ve started a new chapter that involves NOTHING that I had planned for. I’ve learned and have been practicing living in the moment, but when your entire life changes, it’s difficult to let go and be content. My life before was one that I created for myself and I. Loved. It. I was thriving in one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, had career growth that I had worked extremely hard for, was surrounded by amazing friends, events, concerts, restaurants, shopping, etc. and had found balance with my long distance relationship. Suddenly, I found myself furloughed from my job, quarantined in small-town Ohio, living full-time with my partner, and having no control of the present or future. I went from a busy, city girl focused on her career, to a stay-at-home dog mom. I have lost count of how many times I’ve been told “you’re living my dream” or “you’re so lucky” but this was never my dream and never my plan. I’ve never been the type of girl to dream about marriage, children, etc. and even turning 30 years old, I still wasn’t.
During the first few months, I struggled tremendously. I didn’t know how to just BE. There was a part of me that was trying to enjoy the moment and the other half was nostalgic for the fact that my life in Nashville was ending. Letting go of MY life, my community, my job, my home was terrifying for an independent woman like myself. I was still holding onto the idea of moving back to Nashville, while realizing that life was changing in front of me. I was depressed and anxious, felt completely lost and like my identity was gone. I had to acknowledge my fears and face them. I was practicing yoga, eating healthy, reading, meditating, doing everything I could to lift myself out of the dark hole I’d fallen into. I even went to my family doctor for medical assistance and was prescribed two pills to take as needed. I prefer the holistic and natural route, but I had reached a point where crying every day became the norm – but it was not normal for me. I believe everyone has had to stop and question what “normal” even is anymore, with all that’s happened this year. The medication made me groggy, exhausted, and numb, – roughly two weeks passed before I quit taking them. I was leaning on the support from my boyfriend, my family and a few close friends. That was another struggle though – moving back to your home state after years of being gone is not always easy, but moving during a pandemic is even harder. A lot of things have changed – you realize that some friendships aren’t valued equally, priorities for many are different, and I was unable to see the majority of my loved ones as often as I had expected to.
I love fall in Ohio. The leaves change to the most beautiful colors, there’s a crispness in the air, and it feels rejuvenating to me. This season persuaded me to finally realize that I need to accept and adapt to where I am. So, I chose happiness and happiness chose me right back. Our egos want to know when things are going to end. We’ve been conditioned to rely on beginning and end dates, which only leads to anxiousness. I have experienced the depths of anxiety and depression this year, panic attacks, hormonal outbursts, and defeat. I am beyond blessed to have found a man that listens, cares, consoles, and has helped me through it all. Change teaches us to be resilient and grounded so that we can grow. There’s still that little girl inside that has big dreams and wants to do SO MANY THINGS in this short lifetime. But, it is exactly that. A short life. A precious life. I’ve already accomplished so much through all the changes I’ve experienced and I know I will continue to evolve, adjust, adapt, and grow.
For years, I’ve wanted to start a blog and share my perspectives, experiences and knowledge of the many different avenues my life has been. Being unemployed and having time to reflect and plan, that time is now. I’ve always loved to create and I believe the art of creation is a labor of love. It requires effort, energy, and care. These are all things that I hope to look back on and remember – that I kept LIVING – amongst every change and roadblock. If you, too, have found yourself thrown into a new life, major changes and/or shifts, or struggling to find peace amongst the unknown, please remember that you are not alone. If a door has closed for you, look for that open window. Changing your mindset is not an easy feat, but it’s possible and it is worth it. If you need someone to talk to, I am here. Leave me a comment, message me on Instagram, or send me an email.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for reading my story. Thank you for supporting me.