I thought I would move to the city. A big one, like Chicago or New York.

Later, I thought – no, I KNEW – I would move to Nashville. Or Colorado. But probably Nashville.

Never did I think I would settle in the medium-sized city just south of my tiny hometown, minutes away from the [now-declining] mall I grew up shopping in or down the road from the [now-closed] restaurant I went to on my first date.

As excited as I am to get out of my “broken down and busted” house of the past 10 years, the thought of buying our next house no closer to a big city or my dream hometown fills me with conflicting emotions.

On one hand, the day that we sign papers saying this old, tiny, never-thought-we’d-be-stuck-here-for-a-decade starter house is no longer ours will be GLORIOUS. An immense relief, financially, emotionally and mentally. I can’t wait.

But on the other hand, I’m not quite sure how to process the fact that moving into our next house, located wherever it may be in this same area I was sure we’d leave behind someday, is not exactly what I had in mind.

Sure, sure, this is a good place to live. My parents live here, and Mark’s dad isn’t far. We are crazy in love with our church, and we have so many friends, so much history in this place.

I just thought that someday we’d move on. And I thought moving on would mean a new life, a big adventure, an epic journey – not a settling in and settling down into the place God has so clearly put us.

I dreamed of a mountain cabin or a mild southern winter. I dreamed of stone houses with big porches, of new friends and amazing careers, of accents and cultures and DIFFERENT. I dreamed of being there . . . not here.

But assuming God hands us a real estate miracle and our house does, indeed, sell sometime this decade, we’re going to pack up our clothes and pictures and dishes and memories and move just a few miles down the road.

(We haven’t started looking for a new house yet, though we know the general areas we’d like to look in. But until we have more potential buyers interested in our current house, we’re holding off on the actual house-shopping business.)

It will be different. I mean, adjusting to the luxury of more than one bathroom and a basement to hide in during tornado season and a room inside my house (as opposed to the garage) for doing laundry will take some getting used to. But, somehow, I think we’ll manage.

But it won’t really be that different after all. Sure, I might have to switch grocery stores and enroll Annalyn in a different elementary school. We’ll find a new route to church and the nearest ATM and post office and Redbox. But really? We’ll still live in the same city . . . with the same view, the same friends, the same family, the same church, the same accents and festivals and sports teams and news stations.

The same dreams . . . the same dreams.

Don’t get me wrong. I get giddy, crazy excited when I think about moving to a newer, nicer, slightly bigger house with room for a guest room and all the chairs that fit around my dining room table. And a huge part of me is relieved to know we won’t be leaving family and friends and comfort of the familiar anytime soon.

Also? I know it’s no small thing that God has opened my eyes to the blessings of this place, this time, this life. The gift of contentment – the multi-layered one that I’m still unwrapping – is a big deal, and I’m immensely grateful for it.

But a small part of me is just a little bit sad to see that dream of moving on . . . moving on.

Do you love your city/town? Have you ever dreamed of living somewhere else?

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