How Far I’ll Go…Or Not


How Far I’ll Go…Or NotI always planned on giving my kids roots. One place they could recall in their memories as home, where they could return when they were grown and feel as safe and welcome as they do now. I wanted the house we currently live in to be the setting for all their favorite memories, not somewhere they drove by, decades down the road, and recalled climbing a tree that is no longer there.

Then I stumbled upon a job opportunity, a rare and unique position that shone as a dreamy goal of mine.

A place where I’d get to use my writing skills to further a worthy cause I believe in, to be part of a great nonprofit working with an animal I’ve been obsessed with my entire life: dolphins. I’d get to work with dolphins and use that degree I’m still paying off. I applied, thinking if it was meant to be, it would be.

I was thrilled and humbly surprised when they were actually interested in choosing me. My heart filled with hope…until I got to the salary. Turns out nonprofit work in a highly expensive location isn’t so financially stable. Then came the question: even if it were financially possible, could I move my family far away from the life they know, the friends they love, the school where they’re comfortable?

Do I maintain their roots or teach them to fly?

The song How Far I’ll Go from Disney’s Moana has often encapsulated how I feel, from simply missing the ocean to the deep hurt of feeling like you aren’t where you’re meant to be. I’ve found myself living this verse:

“I can lead with pride, I can make us strong
I’ll be satisfied if I play along
But the voice inside sings a different song
What is wrong with me?”

If my life were movie, I’d be living in a tropical area and considering dolphins as some of my colleagues. But life isn’t a movie, and accepting that dream career opportunity wasn’t a financially feasible option for us, or a good choice for my family. I have hope and faith that God has something else in store for us, but in the meantime, I’m still mourning the loss of that dream.

Thankfully, Moana has further words of wisdom to guide me:

“Sometimes the world seems against you
The journey may leave a scar
But scars can heal and reveal just
Where you are
The people you love will change you
The things you have learned will guide you
And nothing on earth can silence
The quiet voice still inside you.”

There is nothing wrong with having dreams and working to achieve them, nor is there any shame in realizing which path is not meant for you. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth your while to begin exploring it. Finding how to balance my career aspirations and prioritizing my family is an ongoing learning process, and one that will likely never truly be over. But as long as I’m learning, I’m growing, and I can be happy with that, even while I am disappointed in certain paths being closed to me.
I will always strive to give my family roots while teaching them to use their wings. I may have to alter how I perceive both, but as someone who has moved many, many times, I have learned that home isn’t just a place; the true roots of a home are the family inside of it and how they hold on to one another. Maybe we’re like a dandelion — rooted for now, but one day we will dance with the wind and soar through the sky to make roots somewhere new.

Since Moana says it best, I’ll return to her words once more:

“I’ve delivered us to where we are
I have journeyed farther
I am everything I’ve learned and more
Still it calls me
And the call isn’t out there at all, it’s inside me
It’s like the tide, always falling and rising
I will carry you here in my heart, you’ll remind me
That come what may
I know the way.”

This image belongs to Walt Disney Animation Studios from the film Moana.

I don’t know what paths will be the right ones for us, but I’m open to finding them.

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Hey, y’all! I’m an adventurous wanderer who put down roots here in East Tennessee back in 2014. My little family moved here from the wilds of suburban Alaska in 2014. We love exploring Knoxville and the surrounding areas, especially the Smoky Mountains. I’m a freelance writer and teacher who loves looking at the mountains when my nose isn’t in a book. I’m a mom to two bookish kids, a wildly clingy dog, two cats, and a fish I’d be in trouble for not mentioning. Since becoming a mom, I’ve been able to add Lincoln Log architect, LEGO contractor, and mediator to my resume. I’ve always been a bit of a jack of all trades, as I’ve been a tutor, teacher, circus instructor, bookseller, amateur baker and, of course, writer. I remind myself of this as I tell my kid not to sit on my other kid’s head while stopping the dog from chasing the cat and the other cat from jumping on top of the fish tank. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and am currently pursing my Master of Fine Arts while keeping all these creatures who live in my house alive. I survive on coffee, writing fiction, reading, Disney, and snuggles. You can read more of my work at


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