If you hadn’t figured it out (or if I haven’t specifically said), I live in Cincinnati now but I grew up and spent most of my life in Michigan. Most of my family and my two best friends (and lots of other friends too) are all still in Michigan. I get pretty homesick sometimes. It is much better now than it was. Luckily, depending on where I’m going, it’s only a 4-6 hour drive to go visit. Totally drivable.

But when I first moved here a little over two years ago, I had a rough time. I had a hard time making friends. I think it’s generally harder to make friends the older you get. Either that or my thirties have somehow made me even more socially awkward than I already was. Yikes.

I tried all sorts of things. I joined this group that pairs veterans of the city with new-to-town people like me. I went to a mixer for it and my mentor wasn’t there. And when she emailed me two weeks later saying she had been out of the country, I didn’t email her back. I also went to a local running store to check out their running group. I did that once and then decided to train alone. So I suppose I didn’t really help myself. I don’t know what my problem was. I think I was trying to find friends that compared with my two besties (lookin’ at you S and E) from back home. And that is completely unrealistic. I’ve known both of them since I was 19 and while I don’t think it is impossible to meet new people who can become dear friends, it will never be the same as the friends I made during my twenties. It would be foolish to try to recreate that. And I would never want to replace that anyway. I can’t even think about it. THAT would be impossible. I’ve managed to overcome (or at least mask) enough of my quirks to become, for the most part, socially acceptable and I’m happy to report that I have quite a few wonderful friends here now.

Last week when I talked about my goals and whatnot, I left one out. I’m a little shocked that I did because it’s sort of a big one. It encapsulates all of them. My biggest goal (forever – not just this year) is to take charge of my own happiness. I wasn’t really giving Cincinnati the chance it deserved when I first moved here. It really is a great town. And I finally came to the conclusion that I’m NOT going to be happy here (or anywhere for that matter) if I don’t just decide to be happy. So I have. I’m the one who made the decision to move here. I’d better make the most of it. I’ve decided to embrace this city and try to experience it for everything that I can.

Michigan will always be home in my heart. My soul feels at rest there (you can call me a hippie – I don’t care – I really do feel peaceful when I’m there). I love the lakes. I love the UP. I love the Tigers and the Lions and the Redwings. I love the cities of Lansing and Detroit. I love my family and friends. But Cincinnati is my home now too. And it would be truly foolish of me to sit around pining for a place that is not possible for me to live in right now. So I am making my own place and happiness in this world. Welcome home, Courtney.

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