one word {february twenty-two}

It’s that time!

If you wrote a post for this month’s One Word Check-in, I invite you to join the party*, share in Comments below, or reflect on your own–whatever works for you. I’m just glad you’re here! 



I’ve been sensing a shift for quite a while now.

I can pinpoint the moment in time. On a boat in WNY last July, I looked across the lake and saw it as it’d look midwinter:

Frozen. Jagged. Starkly majestic.

Dozens of times the rest of the summer, I’d see the lake that way. And, strangely, I’d say I began to crave it. I even added it to my List of 100 Dreams–to return to Westfield in winter and stay at the bed + breakfast across from the pier where I could see Lake Erie, on ice.

Close readers might remember I talked about shift a couple of times last summer + fall. This…sensing…a transition. I thought it was transition within. Something personal. Aged closer to 50 than 40 now, maybe it was physical. Or philosophical. Or, perhaps, simply pragmatic.

Whatever it was, it was something.

Looking back in my journal, I see what I wrote (excerpted)–

8/8: No answers here, but I’m opening. To shift. To whatever’s next. To another chapter.

9/1: We’re in some sort of flux. Which of us, I’m not sure. (Absolutely no ideas.) But the question of Purpose is coming to the surface.

9/17: There’s this ‘possibility’ looming. Feels like the only thing I can do is ‘wait it out’–AND ask what would make me feel engaged as I wade through this liminal space? And remember to appreciate what liminality has to offer? (Ugh. Not easy!)

10/15: It’s still feeling a bit holding pattern’ish. There’s a question inside me, but I don’t know what it is.

11/4: I know control comes from a place of fear, protectiveness. Also a lack of faith + trust. I have to remember there’s more than one vision (my vision!).

11/13: Perhaps I don’t need all the answers? Perhaps I shouldn’t have all the answers? (of course I shouldn’t. definitely not.) Could this be? Could it be that I’m actually surrendering?

In early November, Troy applied for a new role in his company. His dream job, actually. One that’s been in the back of his mind for many-many years. I knew it’d mean more travel, if he got it. But we’ve done that before; we’d do it again. Though I’d love to have him here when Linc starts high school come fall, I was thrilled for his chance. It very much felt like now or never.

It was a long series of interviews over the course of a couple of months. Partway through the process, we understood this job did not actually require regular + frequent cross-country travel. Instead, it required a cross-country move.

When he was offered the role on January 23, we’d sat with the question long enough.

We knew.

We’d come close to making a similar move in 2017–and let me tell you, I was unhinged. Looking back at my art journal, I marked the day in late May with grief, emptiness, fear, + attachment.

It’s true : : timing is everything.

Much has changed in the past 5 years:

: : I came out the other side of childhood trauma, thanks to a third and successful life-changing round of EMDR in 2018.

: : Our kids, in the midst of their own becomings, are on precipes of their own. They are, all 3, open to change at the moment. (And hopefully still will be in a couple of months.)

: : Between COVID and companioning my brother through year next week…I’ve become less attached than I’ve ever been. To almost everything. (And I’ve spent my life as a quite attached person. So, all things relative!)

In short, I feel ready this time. Ready for shift. For change. It’s felt…gradual. No rug’s been pulled out. We’ve had time. Been engaged. Made choices.

And I’m excited. How do I know? Because it’s been an up + down process, and on the ‘downs,’ when we’ve been pretty certain this wasn’t going to happen, I was bummed. Flirting with disappoint–that’s how I knew it was right.

So, after 29 years, we’ll be living, again, in the town where we grew up. Currently, our closest relative is over 1,000 miles away; soon, we’ll be in walking distance. This spring, we’ll move from a mid-size city to a very small town. Dry climate to humid. From Rocky Mountains back to Great Lake. Some of us are leaving best friends, kindred spirits. And? A big And… Audrey will be turning 18 soon. She’s writing a chapter all her own, and she’s choosing to write it where she’s at home, here in Colorado.

It’s been a heck of a couple of weeks.

Which is why I Disengaged. Took the month to embrace what I call My Unword. (My One Word’s opposite.)

We’ve been Engaged in this change for what feels like a long time. And we’ve kept it under wraps, from almost everyone we know, because of all the unknowns: Instead of looping everyone else (including our kids) into maybes…wonderings…possibilities…it felt simpler to keep it between us. I just didn’t realize how taxing it’d been until it was, finally, over.

On silent retreat for a few days mid-month, I acknowledged we can’t have joy without grief. Rarely do we have one without the other. Eventually, at least. And sometimes, even, simultaneously.

Like now.

That reminder has helped me as I re-engage…and begin to let go.

Because while I am less attached than I used to be–true–it’s still not easy for me. Telling my nearest and dearest here has been tearful, each and every time. (Writing this post has been, too.) Nearly as hard is the slow letting go of our home, the only home we’ve ever owned, for the whole 20 years of our marriage. It’s its own sort of Self, here on Yarrow Street in Olde Town. Not a house. Or investment. Not a place to hang our hats. But my heart.

A darn good bit of my heart is here.

So I have to do this gradually.

(And I am. I am.)

Engage ’22 is my first One Word to have a companion. Engage…Disengage feel like different sides of the same coin, and I’m grateful to my gentle process in February for the space to open up to that.

I look forward to hearing how All the Words are showing up this month! *I’ll leave the link party open through March 5 to accommodate for the wonky calendar. So, for those posting next week, the door will be open!

15 thoughts on “one word {february twenty-two}

  1. Well. That’s big news — and it’s going to be an even bigger story for you going forward! I imagine . . . you’ll be doing All Kinds Of Engaging for the remainder of the year. I’m really glad you took some time to DIS-engage first. XO


  2. Oh, Carolyn. I am happy and sad… but this post. My goodness…this one is so full of so much. I love how without knowing it, you were getting yourself ready for this very big change.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for leaving this open for some extra days. I will share my word update next Monday! XO


  3. Oh Carolyn, I can only imagine the emotional roller-coaster you’ve been on! I have only ever moved away from my home to go to college/grad school, but I’ve had plenty of friends leave, and I know how a big move can be exciting and exhilarating but also devastating. I’m sure you’re in for quite an emotional upheaval, but I’m glad you’re making the move to a place that’s familiar, where you’ll be close to family, and that you immediate family is all on board. I wish you the best of luck as you go through this exhausting process and remind you to be gentle to yourself and disengage when you need to.


    1. Thank you so much, Sarah, When I was in my 20s, I was really energized by moving.. but relocating at mid-life, with kids–a teenager, no less–feels like a whole new ballgame. (Part of the reason we picked where we did was so our kids could go to school with cousins. They will at least know a couple of kids on the first day of school!) I do need to remind myself that the reason I’m more tired than usual is that very rollercoaster you mentioned!! xo

      On Tue, Feb 22, 2022 at 10:05 AM youroneword {the blog} wrote:



  4. Hi Carolyn;
    I knew when I started this post you were moving…
    Why?!?! You dad had mentioned it recently to me in his last email. Your parents are so very excited for you and your family.
    I wish you all the best and yes moving at 50 is not as easy (and I know it!!) but so worth it!!
    Much love, Jodie


    1. So happy to see you here, Jodie 🙂 I know you really get this move! Only, in reverse… This could mean I may see you on a visit to Jamestown one of these days! xo

      On Tue, Feb 22, 2022 at 10:06 AM youroneword {the blog} wrote:



  5. Wow, wow, wow! First of all – congratulations to Troy for such an opportunity.

    And second of all – good for you for disengaging this month and allowing this answer to arrive in a more natural way. This is quite the thing to sit with!! So many pros and cons and difficult pieces to pick apart, especially with your children. Wow. What news!


  6. oh my goodness – that was NOT the news I expected! AND I wish you all the best as you make the shifts and find new paths to engage. I look forward to hearing more about your plans!


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