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3,000 Miles to Me

by Shanice Lawton 14 days ago in Humanity

Finding my true self in Alaska

3,000 Miles to Me
Photo by Joris Beugels on Unsplash

I have moved around a lot since college ended. When I graduated from college, I realized I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. The career I had always dreamed about felt out of reach. So I convinced myself it wasn't worth it, and I wasn't smart enough.

I lived at home for a year and then decided to move to Florida. Moving three states down from where I grew up began the journey of me traveling in my 20s. Florida taught me that I was strong enough to make it in any situation. I tittered on the line of almost homeless the entire time I lived in Florida.

After living in Florida for two years, I never stayed in the same place for more than six months. It wasn't intentional; I just loved traveling and meeting new people. So I thought with my travel and different environments; I knew who I was--that was until I moved to Alaska.

In August 2020, I got a job offer to move to Alaska amid the pandemic. Alaska was never on my list of places to live. But, it was a place on my I should probably visit that place list. Very few people look at Alaska and go, "Yes, that place is where I will retire" It's a beautiful place, but most people who move here stay max three years, and then they leave.

One of my students surprised me the other day by saying they always wanted Alaska to be their last stop in life. They had always planned to retire and then live here. So that's why they decided to go to school in Alaska. Oh, by the way, the job that brought me up here was being an Academic Advisor at a pretty cool university.

I had finally figured out what I wanted to do career-wise, and getting this job in Alaska was supposed to be an excellent stop along the way. You know, the star on your resume because anyone who says they live or have lived in Alaska seems to be automatically interesting.

I fell in love with the place. Over the year I have been here, I have learned who I am as a person. It took 3,000 miles to find out things about myself that have always been there, but living in Alaska brought it out.

Things I've learned:

  • I learned how to say no and that it was okay to stick to no and not change my mind. (we can go into more detail in another article)
  • I'm not indeed a type "A" personality. I think I somehow taught myself how to be type "A" and buried the other part of myself. I don't know when that happened, but I'm digging deep to reveal different aspects of my personality.
  • I'm a phenomenal baker. I didn't even know I could bake until I started. People actually look forward to my baking. Initially, I started baking to make friends. I'm from the south; we feed people to get to know them.
  • I got bit by the writing bug. Last November, I did the Nano Wrimo. I had forgotten how much I loved to write and how writing gave me tingling feelings.
  • I still love my career, but the more I write and create characters and worlds, the more I want to spend time writing instead of the limited time I have to write.
  • I have always been involved with the community, no matter where I lived. I was raised that you take care of the people in your community. But, living here has shown me a different side of my heart. I didn't realize how much I love people, especially the youth.
  • Asking for help is not weak. When you've been on your own for so long, it's normal to think you got this and you can do it. There is a real community here in Alaska, and even strangers help each other out. Moving here has humbled me.

It's the decision to move to Alaska that also allowed me to find out who I am. This last year has shown me that learning who you are isn't just about knowing the emotional and mental aspects of yourself but also learning the practical things about yourself. It has been a fun and emotional journey, and I look forward to seeing what else is in store.

Humanity

Shanice Lawton

I love writing and I want to be able to entertain as many people as possible.

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Shanice Lawton
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