Kristin writes at That Unique* Weblog. She has an amazing perspective (check out the Thanksgiving challenge that she threw out to her readers). She’s an editor and regular contributor to Yeah Write, which means that she’s an amazingly sharp, interesting writer. She has a category called Glad I Saw It, in which she muses on out of the ordinary things she sees and what, in turn, they make her think about.

I’m thrilled to have Kristin here to share her unique* expectations.

My blog began as therapy; I’m sure many personal blogs started the same way. My first post was a photo of graffiti that made me actually say out loud, “I’m Glad I Saw That.” And with that, my therapy began. It’s possible that I had stepped over that graffiti many times before the day I stopped and actually noticed it, but I had to first get to a place that allowed me to appreciate what was in front of me. This post is about that journey.

I once told my beloved that I could be happy anywhere because I could teach anywhere, and I could find cool people anywhere. At the time of my flippant remark about happiness, I was picturing picking up and moving to Portland, ME or The Berkshires of Massachusetts or rural and artsy Upstate NY. I fantasized that I would teach high school, garden, and learn to cook stews and bake breads. But at the time, I didn’t actually believe that we’d ever leave Brooklyn. It’s easy to make claims and plan around daydreams when you’re confident they’ll never be tested.

Here’s the other thing: I told my husband all that before we had kids. Kids changed “all that” because I had taken a leave of absence to be home, and because I could no longer wander around town and stop for margaritas in quite the same way.  Kids – the second one, specifically – also put plans for housing on fast-forward, and soon we realized that we couldn’t afford to buy anything we wanted to own in NYC.

So picture the four of us driving from Brooklyn through the Battery Park Tunnel to the Lincoln Tunnel to Suburban New Jersey every weekend for six months. The first time was with a four-week-old and an almost two-year-old. And you can bet I made sure my husband knew he was dragging me all over New Jersey with two under two. Already I knew: I could not be happy outside of Brooklyn. Each Saturday morning, I’d slide my sunglasses on, lean my head against the passenger side window, and watch the bottom of the Gowanus Expressway blur with tears as we drove away from home to look at houses. After the sadness, during the sadness, I became resentful and angry.

My anger was directed at a lot of things, but mostly it was aimed at myself. Why didn’t I have better arguments for staying in Brooklyn? Why had I extended my leave from work so we’d eat up more of our savings? Why didn’t I put my foot down harder when we discussed our housing options? Why hadn’t I said we should settle for less space and no yard? Why? Why! WHY?!

Fast forward a year, and we had a house in NJ, three times the amount of living space, and a fenced in backyard. We also had a long winter with two under three and no familiar folks nearby. My optimistic “I can be happy anywhere!” laughed at me whenever I looked in the mirror. It mocked me every time I yelled at the kids. And it gleefully pinched my ego as I started putting on weight. What really frustrated me was that I couldn’t find anything to complain about. People were friendly, the house was gorgeous, we lived close to a huge park with two playgrounds, and the kids were thrilled with half-empty rooms in which to run around and dance. Add in a helping of guilt for being grumpy about gaining a house when others were losing theirs, and you’ve got my mindset as I started settling into my new home.

I was able to get over my disappointment in myself, my anger at myself, and my resentment at everything around me by admitting that most of my depression – let’s call it what it was, albeit it mild – stemmed from choosing to leave my career. Then, of course I had to face that it was indeed a choice that I made. No one else made it for me. I took back responsibility for my life and where I had landed, and it was such a relief! It was also about that time that I was able to start looking around and noticing things I was glad to see. The funny, quirky, odd-ball environment had always been there, but I hadn’t been ready to notice until I was happy to see myself as a part of it.

Follow Kristin at That Unique Weblog, on Twitter @kdwald and on Facebook.