Now, without insulting anyone from Delaware too much, we weren't thrilled about living in or around Dover. Moving from one of the best cities like Austin to a small, seemingly simple town like Dover was a bit tough to stomach. But that's where the excitement came in for me. It's easy to come to Austin and to love it, to take it in, to be encompassed by its unique culture. It's a whole other deal to go to a city where there isn't live music nightly, abundant happy hours, outdoors sports and activities of every and all types (stand-up paddling anyone?), and always a new restaurant to try. These are the cities that you have to dig for the gems. You work to find what you can make yours, what will make that place unique. It might be as simple as walking around exploring until you stop in the sunshine on a beautiful street with lovely old houses, shady trees, and birds singing the most lovely songs. Or it may come from trying hole-in-the-wall restaurants until you find "your place." And it might take time. You might have to slowly meet people, find groups, go to the same spots and realize one day that this place holds a piece of your soul. The place that you thought seemed simple and empty, has awakened a part of you that you never knew existed.
So this is how I saw Dover. It was an exciting chance to explore and discover. It was a shot for Peyton and me to create memories in a place not touched by any others and to grow closer in the process. And I couldn't forget the fantastic fact that it was 1.5 hours away from Baltimore. This, of course, led to dreams of me swooping in for a girl's night with my MAC ladies or a quick trip to the only dentist I've ever seen (yes, this was actually in my daily thoughts) followed by a Harbor East Whole Foods run (and maybe a swing by Lululemon??). I envisioned having babies that frollicked on the beach on weekends year-round and got to see their grandma more than four times a year. Babies that would grow up belonging to the east coast and knowing the seasons. Who would roll down hills of lush green grass and come back with stains on their clothes. Who would sail the Chesapeake, visit Deep Creek Lake, and get bundled up like little babushkas in the winter. (Thanks Camille for that image, seen here. Umm... Adorable, anyone?) So clearly the news dashed the dreams I held for my future loves.
But, and there's always a but, this is when I have to remember that life is a long road. Would I have ever guessed four years ago that I would be married to a wonderful man from Tennessee, living in Austin, Texas, and about to graduate with a science degree and a 4.0? Not in many, many guesses would I have gotten that. Who would have thought that dropping out of school and getting a job as a carsales[wo]man would have led me here. And I have to say, it's pretty great. I may miss things up north, but I also love things down south. I love the warmth and the great weather. I love the music scene, the Texas state parks full of cactus and dried wood and cedar, the way at any moment I could see a striped lizard scurrying away from me. These are things that I would have to trade if we moved away, and I'm not sure I'm ready to do that. Our babies may not have the beach every weekend, but they could grow up getting colored mohawked hair at the Austin City Limits music festival every year. Or eating vegan milkshakes from Toy Joy. Or counting armadillos on hikes. We'd figure out ways to see the grandparents more often, and those trips would be sacred and special in a way that weekly ones wouldn't. We could be the proud parents of Austinites who would be just as beautiful as Delawareans.
Or maybe we won't. Because (I tell myself YET again) life is a long road, and it's an amazing adventure. Two years from now we might be in New York or San Francisco or back home in Baltimore. We might be in the process of adopting a little bean because we can't have our own, or rubbing my swollen ankles since I'm about to pop. Even though I don't know where we will be or how we will get there, I'm sure we will do our best to soak up the good. We will create the best moments we can. We will explore what the world has to offer and create a life full of love and happiness, a life we can be proud of. Because life is a long road, and we're in for a superb ride.
LIVE THE MURRAYED LIFE