It’s been a year since I moved back to Buffalo from Pittsburgh.
It’s been a year of learning, a year of forgiving, a year of new experiences, and a year of chasing dreams.
I hardly had a choice when it came to moving back. I’d just had enough of a job I didn’t like, enough of people I’d broken relationships with, and enough of feeling homesick.
I went to see the Wizard of Oz in theaters with my good friend Trevor. It’s always been one of my favorite movies, but I was in tears by the end of the movie.
“There’s no place like home.”
Trevor waited until I was ready to talk, and I slowly explained how I was feeling.
“When I first moved to Pittsburgh, I thought I was doing the right thing,” I said. “But now I’m not so sure.”
“If you think you need to go back to Buffalo, then go.”
I cried all the way home that night, but I knew what I needed to do.
But I wasn’t sure what awaited me in Buffalo. My two closest friends married while I was gone, and one had a baby. The other moved to Syracuse. I’d have to move back in with my parents and start over with figuring out what I wanted to do with my life and finding a job.
I thought I would feel at home once I returned to my church in Buffalo, but everything was different. I only knew a few people. I had to start over with that too.
I eventually found a job working at an elementary school after school program. Kids were one of the things I had missed the most while in Pittsburgh. A couple months after that, I found a nannying job in addition to the after school program. Those kids continue to brighten my day.
And I finally knew what I wanted to do with my life: I wanted to combine the two things I love most, sports and writing.
Job opportunity after job opportunity fell through until finally my dad found an advertisement for a full-time sports reporter. I applied, but they had already filled the position.
The sports editor decided to take a chance on me anyway, with this blog being my only writing experience to show him, and bring me on as a freelance sports writer. I’ve learned not just how to be a better writer, but also how to take risks, be persistent, be outgoing, and never give up.
I started that freelance gig five months ago.
Not long after that, a hockey site took notice of my writing and brought me on to cover the Sabres for his site, Hooked on Hockey Magazine. Since then, I’ve interviewed two Sabres players without even applying for credentials yet: Nathan Lieuwen and Tyson Strachan.
Last night, the Sabres hosted a Social Media/Blogger Summit. I connected with some more bloggers, one of whom went above and beyond to help me take the next step: applying for credentials. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a year of being back in Buffalo.
Except, of course, today.
This Thanksgiving, I am speechless at how much I have to be thankful for and how far God has brought me over the past year. I’ve learned how to forgive, truly and deeply forgive, and not just the people I was hurt by in Pittsburgh but also people from the past that I hardly realized were still affecting me.
I’m no longer as afraid of change as I used to be. I’ve learned to work for things I want and need and not just watch life pass me by. And I’m only going to move forward from here.
And I have not only God but so many people to thank for how far I’ve come and where I’m at now. There are the friends from Pittsburgh who understood my need to move back but are still there to listen, the people in Buffalo – new and old friends – who welcomed me back with open arms, and everyone who’s helped me along in my writing career.
When I’m writing full-time and my career really takes off, I’ll be sure to name you all.