When John and I started to dream about what life would be like in the US, it was so exciting! It almost felt as if we were kids playing “make believe”. Do you remember that game MASH? If you don’t know MASH, it’s a pencil and paper game that kids used to play (maybe there’s an app for it now haha) that would predict one’s future. By playing the game, one would find out who they were married to (if they were married at all), how many kids they’d have, the car they’d drive, what their career would be and yearly income. As the emails and phone calls fell into John’s lap, I couldn’t help but feel as if we were playing a grown up version of MASH.
Maybe we would end up in Texas! Then we could have a huge brick mansion and drive to Mexico!
Maybe we would end up in California! Then we could live along the beach!
Heck, maybe we would even end up in a place neither of would have ever imagined!
It was fun playing make believe with John. We didn’t tell anybody about the opportunities, as we weren’t entirely sure what the outcome was going to be. We weren’t entirely sure if we would end up actually moving out of Calgary or not, especially since we just bought a house a couple months prior. We also didn’t want to be swayed by others opinions, so we decided to just keep it our little secret.
After way too much googling, we discovered just how difficult it actually was to obtain a working visa, so we didn’t want to get our hopes up too, too high just in case nothing came of this. But, I couldn’t help it… my hopes were up so high that you would have to climb Mount Everest to knock them down. I have a tendency to get myself over excited about things and this was most definitely one of them.
I could not stop thinking about what could be. The unknown was a delicious mystery to me. Usually, John and I both love a plan. We like to know how things are going to be, when they are going to be, etc, etc. But for some reason, throwing our plan out the window seemed so exhilarating to me! I could not stop daydreaming about living in a new city, living in a new country, living a life that we never would have ever mapped out in our plan.
There was something so exhilarating about selling ALL of our things, getting rid of everything and starting from scratch. Starting fresh! We both knew that if we remained in Calgary our lives would be pretty predictable. We had a pretty clear idea of what our lives were going to look like in five, ten and twenty years down the road. We likely would remain in the gorgeous house that we just purchased, we would have had two kids, we both would have eventually climbed the ladder at our jobs. Our weeknights and weekends would likely look the same, with the exception of different kid activities. We would have spent so much of our time doing house and yard maintenance. We would have likely got Vietnamese for dinner from the same place every single Friday night because by the end of the week, I could hardly keep my eyes open until 8:00pm. Saturdays and Sundays would be running around doing errands, doing laundry, squeezing time in to see our friends. And if we were really lucky, we would be doing something nice one night just the two of us. But we would be too tired and exhausted to enjoy ourselves, and what we both really would have wanted was to be sitting on a couch with our feet up. We were only in our late twenties and we had a really tough time envisioning doing the exact same thing, in the exact same house for the rest of our careers. It seemed so boring to us. So conventional.
And so when we played “make believe” together, we dreamed. We allowed ourselves to fully let our imaginations run wild. We allowed ourselves to think of how we wanted our lives to look without thinking of reasons as to why they couldn’t look that way. We let our minds run freely and we discovered that the life in Calgary was not the life that we both dreamed of. We dreamed of having free time together. Of exploring more. Of trying new foods. Of going on road trips to new places. Of doing things that we would never do if we lived in Calgary… like get into tennis, like paddle boarding, like kayaking…. We wanted to be alive and not let chores hold us back from living our dreams.
And so, when the opportunity came to move to Chicago, we realized that this was our chance to live the life we wanted to live. To throw our “boring” life to the wolves. To live on the wild side. This was our chance to do everything we talked about doing. This was our open door to lead us to a life that we weren’t able to predict. A life that would offer us more time for just the two of us. A life that would lead us more time to actually live.
And so, we jumped in face first. We dove right in. We weren’t sure that we would ever have this chance again and we were not going to miss out on it. Maybe we dove too soon, maybe things moved too quickly… but in retrospect, I would not change the way things happened for us in any way.
When John’s offer was finally unconditional, we only had two weeks to move. We only had two weeks to sell all of our things, to quit our jobs, to rent a U-Haul trailer, to deal with selling a house. We only had two weeks to pack whatever we could bring with us in our car and trailer. Two weeks to get the proper paperwork in order. Two weeks to renew our passports so they didn’t expire before our visas would. Two weeks to close shop in Canada. And every single day, there was always something new that we discovered that we had yet to do… such as get a letter of compliance from our vehicle’s manufacturer. And without the help of two friends in particular, we are unsure if we would have been able to do it. Two weeks isn’t a lot of time when you are both still working full time jobs. There really are only so many hours in a day, and we hardly slept for those two weeks.
Those two weeks were when everything suddenly everything became real. We were no longer playing MASH, we were dealing with real life. With real life consequences. At one point, we were homeless and jobless. That is terrifying for people who like to have a plan. The moment when I realized that I had actually quit my job and that the house we were living in was no longer ours was so beyond strange and scary that I can’t come up with words to describe those feelings. We were a bundle of emotions that I have never felt before in my life. All at the same time, I was overwhelmed, beyond terrified, stupidly excited, stressed out of my mind, anxious, yet thrilled at the thought of what was to come our way.
But alas, we did it. Somehow, we did it. We finished our last day of work, came home and run around like sixteen chickens with their heads cut off. We slept for only a few hours that night (if we slept at all) on an air mattress. We both knew that in the morning, we would be leaving Calgary. We would be leaving our home. Our lives that we were comfortable living. Our lives that were “safe”.
And so in the morning, we did a few last minute things and we were on our way. On our way to living the life we dreamed of. Living the life we didn’t think was possible. Living a life where we had no idea where we would be in five, ten, twenty years. Living a life that wasn’t necessarily “safe.”
And today, I am happy to report to you, that we are both living a life with a whole new purpose and meaning. We are living a life where we had no idea it was possible to be as happy as we are. We are living a life where we only buy groceries for the week. We are living a life where we literally spend hours upon hours of quality time together. HOURS OF QUALITY TIME TOGETHER!! We never would have had that in Calgary. Our weekends are FUN! We DO things together. We explore, we go on adventures, we walk mile upon mile until the bottoms of our feet are raw. We smile so much more, we laugh together, we try new things. We feel like we are dating again. We are more in love than ever.
We dove in feet first, hand in hand, and we are happier than we have ever been in our lives. We have only been here for just over two months, but we are going confidently in the direction of our dreams, and living the life that we imagined. Although it was a scary decision and we miss our friends and our family, we have absolutely zero regrets. Isn’t it true that in the end, my lovely, we only regret the chances we didn’t take?