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On dreams and braving change: moving to Washington

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

We unpacked the U-Haul and three days later there was 18 inches of snow on Christmas Day!

Photo of Annie Robershaw, Certified EMDR Therapist after moving to Bellingham, WA and experiencing a big snow.

Have you been feeling the urge to make a big change in your life? Maybe your life feels like an outfit that once fit, but now is a bit faded, tight, or is no longer your style. Do you have the distinct urge to burn it all down and make a fresh start somewhere far, far away? Or maybe there is a dream, a dream that sparkles at you, but you tend to keep it in the corner of your mind because the responsibilities of the days and weeks ahead tell you that it's not possible, or at least not now. And yet, that dream keeps nudging you for attention. Or is it you don't believe yet you are capable of making your dream a reality, but you really, really want it? If so, I feel you…

I write to you now from the other side of one of those dream tensions, and, whew, it's been a ride!

We've all experienced collective trauma and rapid change over the past few years. Many of us have experienced very personal trauma and loss, unyielding stress and overwhelm, sustained uncertainty, hopes, dreams, plans blown off the map, strain or loss in our families and friend circles, disillusionment… It's been a lot, and we've been changed by it.

Me too.

Through all of it, one of my dreams decided it was no longer willing to be relegated to the corner of my mind or accept my responsible part's refrain, "someday.” This dream decided in 2021, “someday” is NOW!

For so long, I've fantasized of living in Bellingham, WA. I've craved being near my family, where I could walk and bike almost everywhere I want to go, and where I can be on a trail in the woods in 15-20 minutes or deep into the wilderness in just a couple hours by foot. I've been yearning for the rhythm of distinct seasons, especially a cozy fall. But, life has a way of keeping you settled in what is, because, let's face it, change is often hard, scary, and uncertain.

My partner and I have been discussing this dream of moving to Washington for nine years. It was part of the foundation of our relationship. But, nine years…? I had started to believe this dream was just for entertainment, until COVID-19. Something about the grinding days, weeks, and months of quarantines, and all the tension of this era offered a clarifying lens to life for us. We made the wild decision to take a sabbatical (more sabbatical thoughts in a later post) in late summer of 2021 and spend time in Washington for three months. At the time, a move there seemed far-fetched and years in the future. But, soon after our arrival in Washington, I heard the voice inside of me start to scream, "DON'T LEAVE!”

Fast forward almost five months later, after three long days of winter driving with our pup, truck, and a U-Haul, we found ourselves walking into our new home (that we'd only seen in pictures and video) on December 22, in Bellingham, crying with joy, excitement and relief. Exhausted, worn, totally unmoored, me with a broken hand (yep! :/) and completely uncertain about our future… and so, so EXCITED!

Three days later we woke up to a foot and a half of snow on Christmas morning! It was the first time in 100+ years Bellingham had experienced a White Christmas!!

It's been four months now, and they have all been full of magic, and a shit ton of stress, overwhelm, a few temper tantrums, and some tears. I write to you now, looking out the window of my office to a beautiful neighborhood park, the sun is shining, spring has invited all the trees to show off again, green is glistening all around, and my heart is squealing with delight. It's been so hard, so scary, and so damn worth it! I have not felt this alive in years.

A year ago, I was burned out, disillusioned and questioning everything. With much trepidation, I jumped onto an uncertain path and somehow found myself watching it snow on Christmas morning… a lot. A childhood wish came true! You know those moments when you show up for yourself in ways that are really hard and you make it happen, and suddenly it feels like the Universe says, "I see you showing up when it's scary and hard, so here is a warm hug for you”? Yeah, it felt like that.

I want that for you, too.

I want us all to lean into our dreams.

I want us all to lean into relationships and lives that let us be who we fully are.

I want us all to have a life that feels warm, meaningful, and fulfilling.

What is your dream? You know the one. If you feel like sharing, I'd love to hear it.

If you have a dream you want to make come true, but you feel stuck, we are here to support you in moving through those blocks. You can schedule a 20 minute consultation with us to discuss how.

And, don't worry, my California community! I will remain licensed in California, and available to provide EMDR intensive therapy online throughout the state. Jenessa and I will soon be licensed in Washington, as well. Spreading the love and support in both states.

In solidarity,


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