Two great things happened in the last seven days, and they sandwich the end (hopefully) of my adjustment to grad school depression that’s been lingering since I started school.

After a week of questioning all my life choices, crying in my professor’s office and wondering if I could ever be successful as a writer, I decided to give myself a break for the weekend and be as social as possible. One of those social events was heading to Del Mar to watch the Longines FEI World Cup and meet my instant SoCal best horsey friends amazing bloggers Carey and L Williams. L and I have been talking for years about things that die and relationships that dissolve and grief and TOTAL SADNESS ponies and I instantly felt comfortable around her… even if I did disappoint with my lack of Texas drawl or southern accent (I did wear pearls though!). Carey is just as funny and kind as she can be, and I enjoyed talking listening quietly while we ate lunch I feed my hangover (see: social as possible) with cheese and carbs. In truth, I’m glad I’m going to see these two lovely ladies again in the near future because I did not feel at my best on Saturday. I was trying to be light hearted and fun, but instead felt somber (see: hangover) and like I was trying to push my way out of a dense fog.

Which brings me to the meat of this sandwich – the existential crisis. I am still trying to claw my way back to normalcy, but the short version is that the first month of grad school has been difficult. It’s not the classes or the fellow students or the professors or the work load. I am able to complete all my homework and reading with no problem, but I’m having a hard time coming to terms with a few things.

I still have a lot of anxiety around work and money after quitting my cushy marketing job. That combined with the fact that I have no idea what I’ll do for employment after I graduate (or even this summer!) has given me some really deep rooted anxiety about money. It’s way too early for panic, because without giving away my financial details I can assure you that I am fine but for some reason I’ve had a hard time shaking this negative thought cycle about finances.

But like I would happily go into debt for this creature. LOVE!

On top of that, I miss my friends. I miss Texas. I miss my barn. I miss my house with my huge backyard and master suite. I didn’t think you could feel homesick in your thirties, but it turns out that this is possible. The Friday before I met L & Carey, I made margaritas and TexMex and invited as many people as can fit into my tiny apartment (4). I wanted to create a little Austin in Riverside.

Because of these things, doing creative work in the past month has been difficult for me. This is not the scene for me to belabor my writing process, but I wrote about it in greater detail for The MFA Years which should publish tomorrow.

With this funk that I’ve been in, it made getting Simon to California both more pressing and more scary. I called the shipper a few weeks ago to arrange for his transport in early November, only to find out that they had a truck coming a full week and a half earlier than I expected. So I scrambled and his leasee, my trainer in Texas and my new barn owner were all extremely accommodating to the schedule change.

He loaded up on Monday afternoon in Texas, and jumped down the ramp (literally… like on top of the poor hauler) in California 26 hours later.

Thirsty af & angry at me for the past 24 hours

Simon’s never been on a big rig before, and I’ve never had a horse shipped long distances. I prepared myself for him to look awful coming off, but he looked amazing. He’s probably dropped a little weight on the trip but he was well hydrated coming off, had no swollen lumps or bumps and was not stressed or even sweaty. I used Kaiser to ship and couldn’t praise them enough. They took excellent care of my best buddy.

Now he’s been in California for two nights, and so far is adjusting well. The first morning I went out to hand walk him around the property and turn him out for an hour. I’m pretty sure he thinks he’s at a horse show, and wants to know why we aren’t competing yet. The automatic waterers are a mystery to him still, and he’s not convinced this “turnout” I put him in has any value. Pretty sure he’s still waiting for a nice man to turn him out overnight on the grassy pasture… even though he didn’t see a single grassy pasture on the property.

Today I plan to ride him, and will keep going out there daily until I can believe that he really is settling okay. It’s a big burden on my time right now with school, but having some purpose other than contemplating my failures as a writer feels really good right now.

It’s as if Simon getting here has finally made me believe that I’m not living in two places. I’ve moved to California, at least for two years. I miss my life in Texas, but it’s a part of my well loved past. Maybe now I can feel a little more sure of the soil here, and keep looking forward.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Glad all went well with him travelling to CA! I feel like being homesick in your thirties is even more likely because you’re more “rooted” at that age than at any prior. If you ever need to talk to fill the void, you know where to find me. Even if you just want to bounce writing ideas around. <3

  2. I’m so glad he made it! He’ll definitely be great for your sanity. I can attest to how nerve-wracking it is shipping a horse long distances, especially when you aren’t there to see them off to their new destination! I was so scared shipping Promise from MA to FL, but she arrived in 1 piece on a nicer vehicle than I drove down in, was thrilled to see me and settled right in.

  3. Glad he made it. I think having him out here will help ground you to where your current state is (and make it way better). He will figure out the benefit of turnout once he realizes there are no grassy over night fields.

  4. Hello Simon!!!!!! And I can understand how easy it is to be homesick when you’ve made such a big move! But I think with time it’ll get better and 2 years will fly by!!!

  5. Awww- sweetie- moving to a new place is always tough but I’m so glad your best bud made if safely! Yay! And glad you got to see some friendly faces in L and Carey 🙂

  6. i’m so glad you got to meet L and Carey! and dante!! and it’s even more relieving to know you’ve got Simon out there safe and sound now! i kinda had this experience when i changed up my life last year (only my job but it still amounted to a seismic shift in identity) where i expected the “after” to be…. idk, different. but instead there was kinda this ‘double dip’ sensation of all that anxiety coming rushing back in again, second guessing myself, the whole nine yards. it’s just part of the process, i guess.

  7. It is really hard to move beyond financial fear. I am so much better off now in San Diego than I was in NorCal but I still struggle.

    It was awesome meeting you and I look forward to seeing you again next weekend and I really want to make the trek to Riverside to meet your dogs and simon-pants!

    Also yes thank you for not disappointing by wearing pearls 😀

  8. Use all those feelings to create. It will help to write through it, it will be interesting to look back on it years later.

    One of my professors had a saying, from someone far more famous im sure, and it was along the lines of write what you think and feel, don’t hold back, who are you waiting on to die? As in why are you holding back, do you not want to hurt someone by expressing something. Your emotions give you power (that one is Buffy) use them and let yourself give in and ride the crazy life train. Document everything.

  9. Financial fear is like a bad habit…that never really goes away.

    Glad Simon made it and is happy in his new home.

    And I’m super glad you’re in Cali. I know you are adjusting to all kinds of changes, but I’m looking forward to getting to know you in person better.

  10. I often think about how much easier life would be without horses (and how much richer I’d be), but I’m convinced that horses are the only reason that I’ve been able to maintain my sanity throughout vet school! Glad he made it 🙂

  11. I love you dude! So happy Simon is there – he looks amazing. This post gives me all the feels, and so does today, today. I know it’s not relevant on this post but – happy birthday to my friend Tim, and can’t wait to see you soon.

  12. With Simon there, hopefully it will help you to relax a little and remember to breathe. You will find your inner peace and calm. Just breathe in his horsey smells and bury your face n his mane as needed.

    Glad he made the trip well. My TB mare didn’t when I moved to Houston and that was with me not just hauling her, but being with her from start to finish of the trip. I can’t imagine how she would have done if I had shipped her. Then again, she probably would have done fine, just to spite me. Some horses don’t drink, some don’t eat, some drop hella weight and mine accomplished all 3. Simon looks good

  13. I’ve been living in this area in Florida for three years now, I have friends, my horses, etc, but I still get homesick all the time. I think that is just reality when you leave something special.

    Glad Simon did so well on the ride out there, I hope he adjusts quickly!

  14. I so feel for you. Considering how eloquently you wrote this post, I think you’re going to rock your MFA program and get a great job afterwards. 🙂
    It will get better and easier, it just takes a while. Glad you have some bloggers to help you out, we are the best group of people there is 🙂

  15. I was very fortunate when I went off to college to bring my horses with me. I’ve always said that I think my transition went so smoothly because they were there. Immediately, I made barn friends (lifelong in fact). I don’t think I would have without them. I’m not particularly outgoing and I’m super awkward socially, so the horses definitely made everything ok. Having them and that routine which I was already used to, helped me acclimate to the new setting. Or at least I think so. I hope Simon’s being there has the same power for you.

  16. HOO-Rah!! Simon’s in Cali!!! Welcome, friend. Just what you, Lauren, need — your best bud to explore and enjoy CA! Congrats!!

  17. I’m so glad Simon made it to California safely. He looks great!

    I’m sorry you’ve been so stressed out with the change, but it’s completely normal. I went through that when I moved and I only moved an hour away from my home lol. It’s really tough starting over, but it’s so worth it! Hang in there! I’m glad you have awesome blogger friends close by who can help you through the rough patch.

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