I wasn’t born or raised in Fresno. I came here as a bride.
My father once said, “A woman follows her husband,” as they used to say in the old country. And my husband was born and raised in Fresno. So I came.
I didn’t have to. I could have dug in my heels, been my usual stubborn self, and said, “No. I will not leave Boston. If you love me, you will move here.”
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I didn’t have to leave everything I knew, everyone I knew, and everything I was to come somewhere new.
It wasn’t easy. After a while, friends back home stopped calling. Out of sight, out of mind – that became all too real. Although I moved here as a very independent adult, I soon became dependent on my husband. His family became my family; his friends became my friends; his activities became my activities; his church became my church.
I had to ask him for directions any time I went somewhere new (our car did not have GPS in 2001). I had to figure out where to get my hair done. I had to find a job. I had to make new friends. It was hard.
It was hard because I wouldn’t classify myself as easygoing, submissive or particularly flexible. I had major attitude (sorry not sorry – Bostonians will understand). I was aggressive. I drove like a maniac.
(Why doesn’t anyone here honk?) I wasn’t friendly. It was a bit of a culture shock to come from a big city with a fast-paced life to a big-but- small city with a very relaxed stride.
I often describe my first year here (which was also my first year of marriage) as hard but happy. Yes, adjusting to married life and living in a new city was difficult. But honestly, I had never been happier. I was 3,000 miles away from home, having to deal with more changes than I could process at once, yet I was in bliss.
Why? Because I chose to be.
We don’t always choose our circumstances. Things happen that are out of our control. We can fight, resist and argue. Or we can compromise. Or we can cry and scream. Or we can walk out. Or we can forgive. Or we can work together. Or we can make each other’s lives miserable.
Going into 2018, what choices will you make? Will you choose to make lifestyle changes that will positively impact your health and future? Will you choose to alter the negative conditions in your workplace or career? Will you choose to bring healing to broken relationships? Will you choose to improve the lives of the people in your circle of influence?
Will you choose to take someone under your wing? Will you choose to be more philanthropic? Will you choose to serve at your place of worship? Will you choose to learn a new skill?
Or will you bring the negativity from past choices into the new year? Will you choose to continue bad habits? Will you choose to hold on to that grudge? Will you choose to stay in a hurtful relationship? Will you choose to give in to the daily grind? Will you be afraid of pursuing your passion? Will you take that risk?
Wherever you are in your life right now – will you choose to see the good or the bad in your situation?
I say, choose good. And don’t be afraid to honk your horn.
Silva Emerian is from Boston but has been a California girl since 2001. With a long and varied background in fashion, she is a freelance writer and editor, wife and mother to two active boys. She lives in Clovis, where shoes and dark chocolate make her world go ’round. Connect with her at her blog On My Shoebox (onmyshoebox.com), on Facebook and Instagram @onmyshoebox.