Two years ago this week I moved to Atlanta, Georgia, sight-unseen. My ex had gotten the corporate job we’d waited forever for and having nothing else going for me (or so I believed), I bravely followed him. In the middle of the night, we moved our stuff into a house I’d never seen  to the oppressive sound of crickets beneath pine trees so tall they made our house seem as small as one of those green plastic monopoly ones. I was unhappy. Apprehensive. Tired. Not just from moving, but from life in general. I was simply in survival mode, not thriving. I’d always heard of people just picking up and moving. Starting over. I wondered how people could call a new place home. I’d never really done it. I had no support system, and was surviving on the fumes of an unhealthy co-dependent relationship that should have been terminated years prior. I was a shell.

It’s amazing how things change. Last March 29th was D-day for me. I was finally alone–finally rid of what my only real friend called a “cancerous tumor” in my life. It came after I endured a couple of bruises, threats, personal belongings destroyed, calls to the police, and life with an overnight bag packed just in case. And here I was, sitting at the top of the stairs in my condo in absolute silence, crying out of complete exhaustion. Alone. It was over. My life was pure, white noise. And that is where things began.

I honestly think I was a child up until that point. I had avoided making difficult decisions. I put off planning for the future more than just financially. I put off taking care of my health. I lived day to day. I had no sense of direction or control. I had no discipline. I honestly didn’t believe I was worthy of making my own choices, so I just pilfered around inside the tiny sandbox my immediate surroundings made and played house. Played job. I maintained the outside semblance of a normal life. I might as well have been waiting for someone to tell me what to do. I had no mind of my own.

And I slowly realized this: the most difficult person you will ever have to deal with is yourself. It’s so true. It sunk in after the break-up. I saw myself for who I really was. Lazy. Childish. Directionless. It was time to get on it. I remember calling my best friend (whom I couldn’t have done this without) on the way to work crying and apologizing for not being the person he thought I was. I was disappointed in myself. But moving on… because that’s all there is to do–move forward.

I’ve become of a fan of beginning things. And I’m learning to finish things. I’m learning to take care of business, like my health. I’m learning to procure things I need instead of bitching that I don’t have them or suffering without. I’m avoiding stasis. I have hope. I never want to live a life again where I refuse to make decisions. It costs more to be in denial than it does to deal with things. It takes more energy to put things off than it does to finish them. It wastes more time talking about what you’re gonna do rather than just doing those things. You wake up and get to work. It took a while of doing the watch-and-learn thing with my best friend, Nick, who’s the greatest mentor I’ve had up to this point in my life. He stays busy. He finds new things to do and accomplish all the time. He doesn’t waste much time thinking or mulling things because life is going to pass him by if he does. He doesn’t just think about living–he does it.

I didn’t know it could be like this. Forward motion is great. It gives you something to do with enthusiasm other than just entertain yourself with distractions. I look forward to two more years of really hard work and the peace that comes from knowing you’re not wasting your life. The chasm I’ve crossed in two years is remarkable. It’s hope in and of itself. I’m thrilled.