Glad to have tough days here

Even though life is so much better than it was for me in VA, there are still tough days.  I am sad at times and still crave a certain kind of connection.  Yet I have to say, I would rather be struggling emotionally here in Sioux Falls then back in Danville any day!  In South Dakota, there are only a few places the past shows up, which are in my mind and on social media.  I have a choice for both of those triggering items.  Thoughts provide an opportunity to be examined, challenged and reworked to be helpful rather than damaging.  Some days I am better than others in transforming thoughts.  Social media can actually be more difficult to manage, so I just block the people that my thoughts like to take hold of and punish myself with the past.  That at least keeps the highlight reels of some lives from popping up daily.

I’d rather feel sad and lonely here for multiple reasons!  There is zero probability of me actually running into a ghost from my past here while living my daily life.  If I were to see anyone from Danville here we would have a conversation about this great place and travel.  It is truly remarkable at the reduction of sadness that I feel because I no longer run into any reminder of my past here.  Even the positive memories had a sense of loss connected to them in VA for me.  Now the loss is replaced with possibility.  The slate is so clean here!  I have become rather skilled at going out alone to experience new things.  I remember being a child and having my mom encouraging me to attend things by saying, “Go! You might just have a good time and meet someone.”  So I go and see what happens.

Doing things alone is refreshing.  I take myself out to dinner and “we” have a great time.  Yet dinner goes pretty quick.  Even if I pause to look around the restaurant and watch people, it still goes faster than it would with someone sitting with me.  This is an opportune moment when thoughts can spin out of control carrying negative and damaging messages.  Moving through those thoughts is getting easier, but sometimes it does prompt me to finish my meal quickly.  My best defense is to move my body.  That way my mind has something else to think about.  Focusing on the weather, while paying attention to the sights outside soothes to me and unplugs the mind.  Taking myself out to listen to music is interesting as well.  I have met more people standing around at the music festivals and small venues than any place else.  There are always people who stand and listen during these type of events.  They are designed for listeners and well, dancers too.

Doing things alone provides the opportunity for me to free myself from all kinds of mental trash!  Doing solo activities brings all the 13-year-old fears of not being good enough or cool enough to have friends to the surface.  It is almost as though they are invited and demand the front row seat of my mind.  I combat them with riding my streamer adorned bike often.  I figure the best way to combat the child of my mind is to ride a bike like a child.

I take the time to dress up for self-dates due to another mom message I remember, “If you look good, you will feel good.”  When the 13-year-old in me calms down, I can relax and enjoy the moment.  Going solo provides the space to blend in with the surroundings and truly watch others in action.  Initially, people may notice I am alone and that I am near them. Yet, in a matter of moments, I become white noise to them as they return to their conversation.  That is what we all do when we are with friends, go on and have our discussions as if we can’t be heard.  Most of the time your debates go unnoticed because everyone around you is doing the same.  However, the solo person only has the conversation in their head to contend with while they listen to all that is happening.

People are remarkable!  I started taking a journal with me so I can document the insights gleaned from watching others.  It is better than social media for certain.  I am delighted to witness the sweet gestures of people who adore each other.  I observe the best of friends experiencing the true joy of laughter.  I also see the couples regardless of age who take each other for granted as they are out for the evening.  Those are the ones that break my heart.  Why be with someone you have grown tired of respecting and looking out for?

I have been on both sides of that “taking others for granted fence” and vow to burn it to the ground.  In my line of work, I spend my time with the elderly, and it is clear that the desire for connection NEVER leaves us.  It seems as though we are not designed to go through life alone.  I have met some wonderful people here and connected, yet there is still yearning for connection that remains unsatisfied.  My dedication to loving myself fully as I am right now has provided remarkable experiences.  I am proud to courageously go out alone to events in spite of not having someone to accompany me.  It was not all that long ago when that head trash was much louder than the courage and often kept me at home.

Wherever you go there you are.  I have to say that the location really does matter. At the end of the day, I am so happy to be where I am physically on any kind of emotional day!


Kristin Springfield
Riding Solo

Finding home

Doing nothing brought about an opportunity for me to stay in Sioux Falls, SD until October!  This makes my heart sing so loudly.  Surrendering to whatever may come sounds all fabulous and delightful, but for me, it takes great courage, lots of workouts and daily meditations.  Literally, out of nowhere, I received a phone call to interview for a temp job that earlier in the week had decided to go with someone who could start earlier.  Apparently, that did not work out for the company and within moments of the phone interview the director and I hit it off. I knew that this was the position I wanted in the city I have grown so fond of.  Perfection!

I have been in Sioux Falls just about 9 weeks and I love it here.  What is it that makes this place so perfect for me right now?  The couple I live with, Jess and Tom is the main reason.  They not only opened their room for me to live in, they have invited me to share life with them in a wonderful loving home!  We share cooking each week.  It is fantastic to have a reciprocal experience with cooking!  It is great cooking for them and then to experience being cooked for. It lightens the load for all of us and we are happy to do it!   They have no idea how much that means to me. Having someone to say good morning to and to hear have a great day makes life sweeter.  Just renting a room in this home has brought life back to parts of me I thought died long ago.  It is refreshing and at times brings tears to my eyes.

It has been several years since I lived in a happy home.  Now that I am back in one, I am not quite ready to leave it.  Certainly, I can find another great place to rent, but I feel home lives here.  Thankfully, Jess and Tom were up for keeping me a little bit longer.  They have a phenomenal relationship.  Quite honestly, I have plenty of experience in unhealthy relationships.  Witnessing a healthy loving one first hand is spectacular.  Not only do they love each other, they respect, look out for and enjoy each other all the while they have separate and share interests.  They have not lost or sacrificed a sense of themselves in order to be in the relationship.  Fascinating!

A few other things that make this place good for me are people and activities.  I have met so many great people here who are not just nice; they are kind! This time of year, Sioux Falls is filled with festivals, great weather, music and outdoor patio bars. Just today I enjoyed a downtown parade, live music, Falls Park, lunch at the diner and a cider at Remedy with a new friend who has lived here all of their life.  The stories are so different than where I grew up.  By the time I leave here I hope to be able to talk about the location of things using North, South, East, and West correctly!  So that when a patient tells me their room is on the east side of the house I will know where to look because right now I have no idea where to go.

I am excited to experience fall here as well.  The tree-lined streets are delightful with their bright green leaves.  The color change in the fall should be equally spectacular.  Then I will bounce out of here before the snow stars.  Yes, that could be considered cheating, but I am okay with that!

At the end of the day, if Jess and Tom could not keep me until October, I would not have stayed in Sioux Falls.  They make this experience worthwhile as I continue to come home to myself.

Thank you so much, Jess and Tom!


Kristin Springfield
Grateful Housemate
Surrendering one breath at a time