I Dare You to Smile [Writing Series] – Moving Back Home at 29

I’m not starting over, I’m starting anew.

A few years ago I came across this dope idea about creating a Bucket List; a list of things you want to do before you die. I did a little research because I research EVERYTHING, (sidebar: when I am reading and do not know a word, I google the definition and pronunciation. DO NOT BE OKAY WITH NOT KNOWING)… back to our topic at hand lol I found Bucket List videos on YouTube and created my own list. 2014 was when I finally decided to give my Bucket List a few check marks. Now the list doesn’t have to be super adventurous because this is about your personal happiness and possibly overcoming personal fears but if you are unsure where to begin google “Bucket List Ideas

-Deep breath-

So in 2016 I decided to pursue my bucket list with unwavering intention which turned out to be the best year of my life, yet. I realized that I could literally do whatever I set my mind to do. With a little research, budgeting, a plan and get up and go about myself; there was nothing that was impossible for me. So I freely made the decision to dream a little bigger and pursue something that scared the ish out of me. I went over my list and noticed that the biggest goal on my list was to “live in another Country.” After researching destinations years prior, I fell in love with my discoveries of Spain so that became the Country I chose. Of course it sounded amazing but there was work that needed to be done before making it my reality. What did living in Spain actually look like for me? This later became my motivation month after month. I imagined drinking wine with every meal, waking up to no alarm clock, speaking to the locals in their native tongue, seeing beautiful architecture, traveling by train to surrounding Countries, spending nights out with new friends, dancing, laughing and creating memories I could later tell my children and their children about. Thanks to my trip back in July, I had a taste of life in Spain for 6 days which made my goal seem that much more attainable. But the better question for me was what do I need to do before I get there? So here I was in the planning stages.


VISIT SPAIN – accomplished July 2016
SAVE MONEY – how could I travel and live in a completely different Country with possibly no means of income, without having money saved?
PAY OFF DEBT – another one of my bucket list goals was to become debt free and to do so before moving out of the Country. Also some of my current bills came from debts so in order to make better use of my money I needed to pay off the things that was taking from me.
SPEND TIME WITH MY LOVED ONES – my grandparents are aging. I’ve already been out of the house for 11 years. I owe it to them to spend time with them before embarking on my next journey because it would devastate me to be in another country if something were to happen and the last memories were the last time I flew home for a holiday (years ago).
LEARN SPANISH – because, duh!
INVEST IN MY HEALTH – in hopes of taking care of whatever is necessary before being away from my primary care doctor for lord knows how long.
SET A TIME FRAME – when do I want to leave and how long would I like to stay?
RESEARCH SPAIN ENDLESSLY – stay updated with the culture, success/failure stories, ways to make money, living arrangements, the cost of living, etc.

With an idea of my plan, it was time to actually start putting things into action!

The first thing that I decided to do in order for this goal to make sense was to figure out ways to save money but looking back at my lifestyle, I wasn’t in the best position to do so. Not that it couldn’t have gotten better but because I had created a life that I had grown comfortable with. As time went on, I realized that most of what I was doing was cool and it served its purpose but it ran its course and it was making others happier than it was making me which just didn’t sit well. So how could I save money? Continue to work my ass off for less, struggle to make ends meet and rest less? That absolutely was not the answer for me. If I know nothing else, I know that learning myself has taught me how mentally devastating chaos is for me and how emotionally straining it is for me to recover from overworking myself. Maturity and confidence has taught me to work smarter and no longer allow society to tell me how to live and for damn sure not allow anyone else to write my story. This is one of the reasons why I took a social media break during the beginning stages of this transition. I needed to create my own rules for my own life and plan the blueprint for my goals without the influence of memes or the ups and downs of others’ lives. Okay, let me get back on track… my biggest expenses were my living expenses and in order to save, I would have to cut my major bills. I forced myself to get back to the basics, shut down everything and move back home.

Home? Like with family? YES, that home! A different State than the one I have lived in for the past 10 years. Here is where the mental and emotional challenges first began. I had to get it out of my head that I was “moving back home” at the age of 29 because I used to equate that to failure. I remember leaving home at the age of 17 and paying my own bills to then telling myself I will never go backwards. But in this situation, I wasn’t going backwards. I didn’t move home because I fell on hard times, I moved back home because I chose to. Reason #1, pay off debt and save money. Even if I had fallen on hard times and needed to go back home, the fact that it was even an option, is a blessing. So if you are in that position, I commend you because you sometimes have to shut down the pride and the fun and get your ish together. Moving home is a smart decision if coming out of it will reward you with financial freedom and emotional healing. Reason #2, to quiet the noise around me and the busyness that had become my reality, Reason #3 and not the least or the last, spend as much time loving on my family. Changing my perception about moving home has helped me make that to-do list in order to reach the goal, much more real.

Fast forward to now, I’m home and have been here for a month and three weeks.

This transition has not been the easiest because now that I am here, it’s forcing me to spend a lot of alone time with myself and my thoughts. And though I loved alone time when I had a busy life, when life suddenly became the complete opposite of what I once knew, I began to figure out a way to rebuild and/or create my new reality. But with that, I was left with pieces I never knew were broken. I’ve had to admit my faults, discover new flaws, have a deeper understanding of what self-love means to me, see the importance and levels of individual relationships and heal in ways I didn’t think or I wasn’t bold enough to admit was holding me back from my next level. While my goal is to obtain this victory of crossing off a huge goal from my bucket list, I can tell that I will become a completely different woman before I even make it to the airport. I put all of the bad energy I had into expressing myself whether it was in the form of writing in my many planners, journals and my writing prompts, I also created a daily workout regimen, personal reading challenges and investing in my many relationships with friends and family. Oh and more importantly, went on a hunt for a job I would be happy waking up to that would also help me to financially accomplish these goals.

What if I told you that you can start over at any age? That it’s never too early or too late to write a new story? That you’re not a failure for letting go?

In the same breath what if I told you that you can create your own happiness? Happiness isn’t something that we have to chase. It’s something that we have to choose. And we choose happiness with hard core intention. It’s the difference between waking up and being thankful for life vs. waking up and dreading the life we hate yet subconsciously knowing it’s a life we chose.

“On the one hand, we all want to be happy, On the other hand, we all know the things that make us happy. But we don’t do those things. Why? Simple. We are too busy. Too busy doing what? Too busy trying to be happy.” – Matthew Kelly – The Rhythm of Life.

…so why not get bold with choosing your happiness? Just don’t be afraid to do the work it’s going to take to get you there.


I DARE YOU TO SMILE: NBzA’s Blog Challenge Series – Welcome to this blog series of transparency and growth into my new journey. I will be real and honest through my mental, emotional and personal challenges during my current transition in my life and how I’m journeying through it. Because I do not think it’s fair to give advice without sharing my own testimonies, I’ve decided to make this blog series the one place where I recap my feelings, ah ha moments and choices from the month before. I am doing this in hopes that you, the reader will find encouragement throughout your own journey and transitions. Yes it might force you to be honest with yourself and deal with your ish. Yes it’s going to challenge you to put yourself first but more importantly I Dare You to Smile will challenge you to find the light at the end of the tunnel and run towards it. Trouble doesn’t last always unless we allow it to.

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