“You need to take a breath,” my therapist told me. I had only started seeing her a few months, but she already had me figured out. The truth was I couldn’t take a breath. I was working 60 hour weeks as a paralegal, and my home life wasn’t any less busy with two young children who expected my best every day when I got home. I was eating poorly, I had no energy, and I was losing my mind. And then I had a panic attack.
It started with a twitch in my left hand last November. I had left my New Jersey home to take the kids to daycare where I would then fight through the morning rush over the bridge to my job in a suburb just outside of Philadelphia. Probably too much coffee, I told myself. But then I started to feel nervous. And then I couldn’t draw a deep breath. Was I having a heart attack? I couldn’t tell for sure, but I knew I had to pull over. I closed my eyes and pleaded for it not to be something serious. Eventually, the feeling subsided, but I knew I had to make a change.
I went and saw a therapist, and she was really great. She taught me good breathing exercises and stress management techniques, but there was still a problem. I was living in New Jersey in a rented home that was far too expensive, driving a car that was insured for far too much money on roads that were always congested, and spending my time depressed about the fact that I was so far away from my family.
On January 1st of this year, I gained the courage to make a change. I talked it over with my husband, and once I got his approval, I put the wheels in motion. I called my mom and asked her if we could move in. She was alone in a four-bedroom home in Mount Pleasant, S.C. and had plenty of room. Every time I called her and told her about my stress, she said we could always all move down. I resisted for the past couple of years, but I was at a breaking point. She said yes, and a few weeks later we were on the road to the Palmetto State.
I’m not going to say that it was a completely smooth transition. There were bumps along the way. However, my husband was able to keep his job working remotely, so I had some time before I needed to find a job. I used this time to reconnect with my mom, but also to reconnect with my hometown. I forgot how clear Charleston skies can be at night. I forgot about that old world Southern charm that I took for granted in my youth. I forgot that it is possible to slow down, appreciate life, and take a breath.
I’m happy to report that my family and I are looking at Charleston real estate through an agent to make the relocation long-term. If you are looking for a place to live where people have their priorities right, the weather is always nice, and every greeting is accompanied by a smile, I highly recommend coming down to South Carolina. There’s plenty of room for you.
Kimberly Erskine is a successful paralegal. Originally from Philadelphia, her and her family is currently in the process of relocating to Charleston, SC. When she is not working she enjoys freelance writing, blogging, and sharing her moving experience with others who may gain some inspiration, hope, and encouragement from it.