• Kathie Scalf

Annual Independence Check-In


If you’ve been following along with this column over the last 4 years, you probably already know I consider July 6th my personal Independence Day, as it’s the official day I moved into my home in Nashville. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the story, 3 years ago I walked away from everything I’d ever known, used every cent of my savings and uprooted my entire life for a move to Nashville where I basically knew one person and took a job I was incredibly under-qualified to do. In one sense I was running from problems and in another I was being pushed out of my comfort zone, but regardless, it was ultimately what I needed to be able to progress.

In the 3 years since I’ve moved I’ve experienced some of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows- though quite frankly still none quite as low as the condition I was in when I made the decision to move. No one could have predicted the world turmoil that has transpired during this time. Within 9 months of getting my feet wet and regaining my balance, a tornado ripped through Nashville and 3 weeks after that Covid shut the world down, forcing the sale of my company and rendering me unemployed for 6 months. Pandemics, riots, election chaos, wars with Russia, abortion bans, inflation, supply chain shortages…and that’s not even the personal stuff! With the entire world burning I’ve privately dealt with my Dad being so sick I was afraid we were going to lose him. Went through the sale of my childhood home. Lost a lot of friendships. Walked away from a distributor job to wait tables. Financial struggles. Hormonal issues that have taken a toll on my mental and physical health. And all these hardships I endured alone, because I’ve ultimately realized all this time later I’m no more healed from heartbreak than I was 3 years ago and am honestly wondering if I might just be permanently unlovable.

Thankfully, those high points have been the thing keeping me going. That job I was under-qualified for was given to me by someone I now consider a mentor and sparked my love for wine, driving me to pursue my education in the field and I passed my WSET Level 2 in October 2021 with distinction. Leaving the sales job to wait tables was the best decision I ever made for my mental health, giving me a much needed break from round-the-clock emails, phone calls and end of month fire drills. It also introduced me to some amazing people who I now get to call friends. Most important, had I not walked away from that job I wouldn’t have been offered the position I have now, which was a step up in my career with a company I love who also appreciates me. I’ve taken some amazing bucket list trips to California, New York and Vegas, as well as some fabulous girls’ trips to the mountains and the ocean. I’ve enjoyed amazing food and drinks at some of the top rated restaurants in the US, been to the CMA awards, met a lot of people in the music and film industry I never dreamed I’d be in a position to know, and conquered my long-standing fear of public speaking. Above all else I have deepened my sense of empathy and developed a better understanding of who I am and what has shaped me into this person.

I re-read my column from this time last year and at that time in my life I was very proud of the way I had single-handedly navigated all of life’s curveballs. I’m still very proud of that, but knowing you can do it all on your own doesn’t make it any less exhausting. This year I’m tired. The weight of it all gets heavy sometimes and there are days I wish there was someone else to shoulder the burdens. Even though I love my job and have always wanted something that involves travel, it’s difficult to be on the road half the month. Living out of a suitcase and sleeping in a different hotel room every other night isn’t ideal for making or maintaining connections. Because I’m hardly available no one reaches out to ask me to do things anymore and when I am in town and try to make plans last minute no one is available. There are days where I don’t receive one text or phone call that isn’t work related and that’s a really sucky feeling, because no matter how independent you are it’s always nice to have someone take time to call and ask how you’re doing or want to hear about your day. I’ve never had a problem being alone, but as a social butterfly who’s always kept a large circle of friends, for the first time in my entire life I’m experiencing loneliness and it’s painful.

As difficult as these recent growing pains have been, I’m very excited to re-examine this article a year from now, because if there’s one thing I know for certain about me it’s that I’m one resilient beeyotch. I don’t give up and the pendulum always swings as far forward as it does backward. I am focusing on things I can control that pay off for me like my career and nurturing the close friends and family I still have. I want to work toward relieving some of the debt that befell me from losing work for half a year and having no backup savings after the move. And even though I’m understanding and accepting myself more every day, I’ve still got some work to do on loving myself. But all that stuff is a constant journey that probably shouldn’t have an end point. I think making health a priority is the obvious answer to many of those issues. Lastly, I’m ever hopeful that someone proves me wrong in the romance department, but so far no luck. Sometimes I think you only get one shot at greatness.

But I wouldn’t turn down someone to play with my hair and pay for my Botox if they’re out there.