The coffee shop I’m sitting in right now has an old meets new feel to it. The walls are brick and covered in abstract paintings. As a self proclaimed Starbucks addict, the coffee I am drinking tastes strange. The coffee shop baristas claim, that the “coffee is real.” Not sure what that means. I’m surrounded by long haired, beanie wearing adults in their twenties.
I’m only a five minute walk from my new apartment on Post Street. I’ve never lived so close to a coffee shop before. In fact, I’ve never lived in an apartment period. This is my first apartment. I’ve been experiencing a lot of firsts lately.
Two weeks ago I was faced with the biggest decision of my life. I had to decide between my personal and professional life. Anyone who knows me, will tell you how career driven I am. I love to work, and my career means everything to me. For the last two years, I’ve worked hard at a job that I loved. I learned and grew as a person. I met people that changed my life.
But, while working I also met and fell deeply in love with a guy in the Navy. It all started when I made a trip out to San Diego to visit my brother. I knew pretty quickly that I liked Clayton. At the end of my trip, he promised he would drive across the country to Cleveland.
I sweetly smiled back at him, and said I couldn’t wait to see him again. After I left him, I rolled my eyes. There was no way he would drive across the country for a girl he barely knew. Two months later, I received a phone call from Clayton saying he was in Cleveland and wanted to take me to lunch. I honestly couldn’t believe it.
After that day, we dated for 6 months long distance. I flew across the country every two weeks to visit him. Every time I had to leave him my heart felt a bit heavier. That’s when we started talking about me moving to Jacksonville, Florida.
The Dirty South:
At first I was super excited to move. I’ve always wanted to experience a new city, and state. But, then I started thinking about all the other things I wanted out of life as well. I didn’t want to move to the South. I wanted to move to NYC.
Before I met Clayton, I ran around and told everyone that’s where I was moving, now I was changing my mind again. Plus, I wanted to be a journalist more than anything. How was I going to make that happen in Florida?
To make things more complicated, Clayton would be leaving on a 10 month deployment in March 2015.
My heart was completely torn in two. I wrestled with the decision. I was just starting to make progress in my career, but my heart was half way around the country. I’ve never been more confused.
I also consider myself somewhat of a feminist. I believe that women should have the freedom to pursue the lives and careers they want. I’ve told many people that women should never put a man before their career. Interestingly enough, I found myself faced with this very decision.
I talked openly with Clayton about everything. After many long conversations, I knew what I wanted to do. I knew it was time for me to move. So, last week we loaded up my 06 Chevy Malibu and drove from Cleveland, Ohio to Jacksonville, Florida.
Originally, I thought I was just moving to be with Clayton. I quickly learned this was only part of my story.
I love Cleveland, Ohio with my whole heart. Cleveland is a place filled with amazing people and places. But, so is Jacksonville. I’m in a new state, and city. I don’t know anyone, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m here to meet new people, explore and find another part of myself.
I literally have no idea what JAX has in store for me, but I’m ready to find out!