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#Winning in this life

Today marks the one year anniversary of when I left my former life and ventured on a five-day trip to a new adventure in an unknown land. Yes, that is correct, we actually buckled up and drove out of California on Valentine’s Day one year ago.

It seems like a dream really, as I am sure life does to most of us at times when we think, “Wow, has it already been a year?”

When I think back to how long we spent with family and friends in the only life we ever knew, it seems hard to believe it has been exactly one year since we laughed with them and were able to spend time together.

Growing up, I never anticipated moving far away from family. Actually, the complete opposite.

My parents moved me and my siblings to Northern California when I was 5 years old. Leaving behind all friends and family in Huntington Beach, we made sure to travel south over the years in order to see them for the holidays and maybe once during summer.

Eternally sad that it was not possible for them to be around for simple things like high school graduations and baby showers, I swore to myself if I couldn’t move back south I never would let myself leave the friends and family I built up north.

Glancing back at last February, my heart sinks when I realize I did just that.

Tears immediately come to my eyes when I realize I did to my children what I promised myself I would never do, and what I blamed my parents for all those years ago. Uprooting them was the hardest thing I ever did, and sitting here now I finally have peace with my own parents over the decisions I know they had to make, as well, for me, my brother and my sister.

Inspired by a local lady this week who brought me a great quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, I went searching for my own quote from King and found one that fits my path over the last year: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

I didn’t know a year ago where I would be today. I had no idea how hard our move would be on our family back home, my husband and me or our children.

All I knew was we were going, and we were determined to make it work with the hope, one day, we would be blessed enough to live near family again.

We took a big leap of faith. We started climbing our own staircase after many sets of unfortunate circumstances which came trying to knock us down over and over again over the past couple years.

But we always got back up, and we always kept climbing. And, even though we had to climb away from all our family and friends back home, we continue to venture out in our new land making friends we would never have made otherwise. And our lives wouldn’t be complete without. (Although some family has agreed to follow us and move as well so we won’t be lonely for hopefully too much longer).

To quote King again, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”

I stand here one year later, knowing we met our challenge and controversy head-on. And even though it was tough, even though the road has not been perfect this last year, we continue to climb our staircase and no matter what I know in my heart, we have won.

Or as my 13-year-old would probably say, #winning.

Brittany Fuller is the community editor of The Jessamine Journal and Jessamine Life magazine. She can be reached at brittany.fuller@jessaminejournal.com.