Chickens + Happiness

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I’m all settled in Nashville and starting a farm! Mostly kidding about that, but I’ve been fostering some adult chickens, I’m getting chicks this week, and I’m growing mint and tomatoes…so it’s not too far off.

After having two cross-country moves behind me, I finally feel like I can breathe and settle into a space — something I hadn’t realized the value in until now. Our move to California was fraught with second guesses about whether we did the right thing, about whether I could be happy there, about whether living there was worth the things we sacrificed. While I do think that was the right choice for us at the time, I haven’t had a second thought about Nashville in the short time I’ve been here, and that feels indescribably good.

I miss some things about Berkeley. I miss our dog park, I miss my gentle-difficulty climbing gym (good for ego, not for training), and most importantly I miss Brandon and Emily dearly. The biggest pains of being human can mostly boil down to wanting things that are incompatible with one another. By missing things incongruent with things I would also miss I’ve experienced that to be true.

But every morning I wake up, start coffee, let the chickens out, and water my plants. Rooster gets to frolic around the yard when he isn’t busy digging in the compost pile. Bird gets to stare intently at our bird feeder as she pines for the day she can sneak out the door behind me. My grandmother sent my mother up with a shipment of ten houseplants because I’m now only a short drive away. There is green space out my window and these things all bring me great joy.

I sweat often; I forgot how little joy it brings me to see the temperature at ninety degrees. Living in a house comes along with other things such as trimming bushes (not fun, scratchy branches) and mowing the lawn (actually weirdly fun). I’m still getting settled and using the GPS for everything and have to drive instead of bike most places but in spite of all this, I feel at peace in a way I haven’t in a long time. My anxieties and despairs haven’t disappeared, but I’m able to approach these things with an underlying sense of calm that I’ve not known before. It’s amazing how much my surroundings have improved my mental health, and above all else I feel grateful for the privilege that I was able to change this about my life, as many people are not.

I have a lot of love for California (and I hope to be back and see Yosemite real soon!), but I struggled so much with the dissonance between the life that I wanted and the life that I had. I’m in a space where those are starting to align, and that is a really nice feeling.