Though I couldn’t tell you who said it to me, I have a strong recollection of someone I really respect telling me in college that they felt sorry for people who would forever refer to college as “the best four years of [their] life” because it implied that it had been all downhill after that and that they had nothing to look forward to. They weren’t trying to say that people shouldn’t have an absolute blast in college (and trust me, I did) but that people should be happy to grown where they are planted and find the beauty in where they are at in life. I’m going to be honest, this can be a real struggle for me and I imagine for you as well. When things aren’t going perfectly we tend to look at the rest of the world and other peoples' lives or at even other periods of our own lives, through rose colored glasses and imagine that our lives would be more ideal if… fill-in-the-blank.
I’m not here today to talk to you about how you should be more happy and blah blah blah. I just want to have a little chat about how I am learning to love this place that I live.
I haven’t ever had anything against Georgia but it is not some place I ever thought about living. Being a military spouse however, you often don’t have a lot of say in where you’re going and that’s essentially what happened here. No joke, I had to look up Augusta on a map when I found out where they were sending us. Despite being the second largest metropolitain area in the state of Georgia, unless you’re military (coming for Fort Gordon) or big into golf (coming for the annual Masters Tournament), there really aren't a lot of reasons to visit Augusta as opposed to some of the bigger, more historical and tourist-friendly cities nearby like Savannah, Charleston, and Atlanta.
The first six months we lived here I was incredibly depressed. I had recently graduated with a degree in Art History and realized there was little I could do with it in the area. I didn't get into grad school, my husband and I were juggling one car, and I had a grand total of two friends. So I picked myself up by the bootstraps and got a job working the front desk at a gym. It was the same thing I’d done part-time in college but it was better than nothing. Y’all, I cannot tell you how that one little thing changed my perspective. I went from sitting on the couch alternating between looking for jobs and crying, to meeting people, getting to know the area, and feeling needed!
Fast forward to today. That entry-level job at the gym has paved the way for me to meet at least half the people I know in the area. The best part of the new job was that it necessitated getting a second vehicle and all of a sudden I could explore this new town I lived in. I will admit that I realize it's easier to meet people when you’re willing to talk to any random stranger you come across. But I happen to be pretty good at it and before I knew it I had a group of gym people, a group of creative people, a wonderful group of other military spouses who understood what it was like to have a husband who could be gone for months at a time. I’ve come to love this area and the people in it. I’ve taken photography classes, joined an indoor rowing team, attend monthly meetings with other entrepreures, gone on adventures to charming little towns nearby whenever I can, and have truly come to appreciate the history of the area.
We’ve lived in Augusta, GA for three and a half years now. That’s a long time in the military world. I know the military could care less about my opinion but if they were to ask, I’m just not ready to leave. This may not be where I would have expected to be five years ago, but since it’s where I’ve been planted, it must be better than anything I could have planned for myself and I've truly come to call this place home.