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SSR 20: Reunited Romance

July 11, 2010

Continued from SSR 19: Goodbye My Love

Teary eyed and feeling a sting in my heart sitting on the airport floor, about to say goodbye to the place I felt the most like myself. I took one deep breath and looked to my right, as I heard an announcement that would change my life forever.

My first flight, which was suppose to take me to St. Paul for a short layover before heading to Albany, was going to be delayed for at least two hours, meaning I would miss my connecting flight.  I called the airline and scheduled a new flight, which didn’t leave until the following morning, contacted my dear friend Kati and took a deep breath of goodness in, as I realized that I would be in Madison for an additional 12 hours. 


Thankfully, the super sweet Kati and Christa were more than willing to come rescue me from the airport and operation “talk Heather into never leaving again” appeared to be in full force.

Step one: Dinner on State Street, of course.

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Step Two: The Ultimate in Madison Summer Nights – watching the sunset with beer and cards on the Terrace at Memorial Union.  (I can’t believe I almost left Madison without taking a trip to the terrace. shame on me.)

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It was magical.

After a late night out, and an early morning trip to the airport, boarding my first plane with a triple large soy latte in hand, leaving felt a bit differently than it had the day before.  It didn’t feel much like anything. I spent a lot of time on the plane sleeping the beer away, and when I got home I was more concerned with the extra day at the office I had missed and how much work would be piled on my desk the following morning.


For the next week or so, I just kind of went through the motions.  There were several days I came home from work and went straight to bed; do not pass go, do not collect dinner, just lay your bum down in the bed and slumber.  Forget about where you are, where you were, and where you could be – just do what you have to do to get through. It’s what I like to call vacation-sick, cousin to the ever popular home-sick.


Then, I checked my email. 
It was over a week after my return to New York, and I hadn’t spent much time with my Gmail account.  I decided it was time to get caught up, and when I did I found a precious little gem I had forgotten about.

It would seem that Tuesday night, at the Terrace, I had sent myself an email by blackberry.  “Kati says be prepared for when you get home. You are going to be miserable.”  And she was right.  It seems that Step #3 in the “talk Heather into never leaving again” plan was to remind me of what Kati went through when she took a job in a different town, and how she returned back to Madison as soon as possible, vowing never to leave again, still having her breath taken away when she sees certain views of the capital.


Now, as I looked at my computer screen, reading my own words to myself on repeat, I thought back to the moment I had forgotten about until now.  The moment that Kati had said those words that stirred me to write this email.  I remembered thinking that Kati was over exaggerating, that these words were meant to pierce me into making a promise to move back soon and that I was going to be just fine when I got back to New York, feeling refreshed and renewed and ready for anything.

But I was wrong. And Kati was right.  But it didn’t end there.


I’ve gotten several questions about Madison in the last several weeks.    I’ve been asked if I’m planning to relocate there, if I am unhappy with my life here, and if I think I would be more at peace if I was back in Madison.


Because what I realized when rereading the self-sent email is all about choice. It was my choice.  It was my choice to come home and go to sleep after work.  It was my choice to be miserable. It is my choice to be at peace or not.  Here or there or anywhere. 

I love Madison.  I’m quite certain I’ve made that clear.  But what I also love my life.  My life, period. I love my life no matter where I am located, because I know that I can create my own peace and my own happiness no matter what my address reads.  Right now, I am loving my life, finding my peace and creating my happiness here in upstate New York. 


Realizing this has truly helped me to work towards embracing each day, each moment of my life.  Because of my plane being grounded, because the girls took me to the terrace, because I emailed myself via blackberry, I realized that I have everything I need to be happy; I have the choice to be happy.  I don’t need to live with in a mile of Lady Forward pointing in the middle of the square.  I don’t need to drink coffee on Willie Street each week.  I don’t need to buy my produce from the Dane County Farmers Market.  I don’t need to tailgate blocks from Camp Randall at 8:00 AM each Saturday in the fall. 


I may get that again some day.  I may finding myself packing up and moving halfway across the country again.  I may retire near Vilas or take my wedding photos near Lake Monona.  I may be living in Madison again someday, but it’s not that time right now.  I don’t need Madison to be happy, and I don’t need Madison to move forward.  All I need I have right here, right now. 

  It should be noted, however, that I’m not ready to stop calling Madison home.  That’s my choice.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. July 11, 2010 10:11 pm

    Choosing happiness is always the best way.

    Even though it is very clear to me your deep love of Madison, it is also clear to me that you love the place in your life that you are now. In fact, you talk so fondly about that Espresso Therapy coffee shop, that I want to come visit it!

    Keep up that happiness, and maybe it will lead you back to Madison some day. Or maybe you will find a city that you love even more.

    Until then, feel free to come and visit 🙂

  2. July 11, 2010 10:16 pm

    This is great! We chose how we face life and what we do with it. I for one am happy that you are nearby and I get to hopefully become your friend 🙂

  3. July 11, 2010 10:34 pm

    These posts will never get old 🙂

  4. July 11, 2010 10:46 pm

    Love this. Isn’t hindsight amazing? Looking back at the details of the way our lives unfold, typically against all expectations we had. I’m proud of you and I think it’s awesome that you choose to live in NY right now. I knew pretty much zero about Madison until I started reading your blog and it definitely seems like a lovely place to call home. xo

  5. July 11, 2010 11:27 pm

    Wonderful post. I’m learning some of the same things about being away from Kentucky right now. It’s not easy, but I can make it worthwhile.

  6. July 11, 2010 11:50 pm

    This is a gorgeous, amazing post. I love it. I do. I wish I would’ve read it a couple of years ago. I wish I would’ve learned to choose happiness. In Pineville. In jobs I hated.

    But on the other hand, I’m kind of glad I didn’t. I think I needed the discomfort, the discontent, to push me forward. To push me towards Hull, the too-good-to-happen-to-me-dream-school. But that’s just me.

    And I have a question for you. You say you have everything you need. I agree. But what I want to know is, do you have everything that you want?

    [Disclaimer: I’m not saying that life is about having everything you want. Life is NOT about having everything you want. Please take this is as an objective question. As a talking point, not an argument.]

  7. July 12, 2010 6:15 am

    I love this, and your comments on everything being a choice.

  8. Liz permalink
    July 12, 2010 6:16 am

    This is a really great post! I am going to try to adopt this for myself in the near future as I am leaving a city I love (DC) to live in a city I hate (NYC). Thanks for the pep-talk!

  9. July 12, 2010 9:25 am

    This post has inspired me to go back and read all of your old posts in one sitting. Can’t wait to catch up!

  10. July 12, 2010 10:13 am

    Gosh its gorgeous there. Is the weather perfect? Its so hot here in Houston!

  11. July 12, 2010 11:37 am

    You are so right! It’s all about choice! We have so much power in our choices, and the greatest choice we can make is to be happy, regardless of other choices!

    But you know, you can still choose to go back!! 🙂 Or move to Pittsburgh 😉

  12. July 12, 2010 11:41 am

    I’m glad you realized what is right, right now, for you. Just FYI…Detroit’s not too bad if you ever have to relocate here 🙂

  13. July 12, 2010 12:54 pm

    That sunset is definitely one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen and something I wouldn’t expect in Wisconsin.

    I love that you love a place so much you can be OK with it being “home” but not the home you currently reside in. It’s funny to me how such a simple word can have such a complex meaning – something I have been thinking about quite a bit with the changes I am about to embark.

    Keep it up. Keep up the strength, the courage, the love – all of it. It’s truly beautiful.

  14. Summer permalink
    July 12, 2010 1:50 pm

    You look absolutely GORGEOUS in that last photo!

  15. July 12, 2010 3:51 pm

    This is a great post!

    I’m a strong believer that GEOGRAPHY doesn’t determine happiness. For a long time I thought I’d be happier if I moved AWAY from home, then I did and I was miserable because I missed my family and became convinced I wouldn’t be happy again until I could move back home. Finally, I realized that happiness is what I make it. I miss my family a lot (they live 600 miles away, where I grew up) but I’m also happy with my life and where it’s at right now. I might move “home” one day – but it won’t be to try and find happiness but to be closer to my family!

    I have a friend who has lived in countless different places over the last couple years always leaving after a few months to a year because she’s not happy there and the town is “shitty” and blah blah. It’s quite obvious to people on the outside that the common denominator is her and that until SHE become happy with HERSELF and HER LIFE a place will never change how she feels!

    Anyways, as I said, great post! And I totally agree and relate 🙂

  16. July 12, 2010 10:03 pm

    I love this post. Although sometimes it may not seem like it, I firmly believe that one’s outlook is a choice and the situation they are in can be changed by reflecting upon it differently. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule but as a whole I think this is the way to be.

    On another note, the terrace photos are beautiful. Now I have a burning desire to go to Wisconsin.

  17. Kati permalink
    July 12, 2010 10:10 pm

    Yikes! I think I have issues with thinking everyone is going to feel the way I did when I left Madison. You are WAY better at choosing to be happy than I am. I guess it’s something I should work on? I’m glad you are strong enough to do that and that you have a peaceful heart about it.


  1. Unhealthy Living Summit Part 1 « Then Heather Said

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