Leap of faith

For some reason, this post feels incredibly difficult to write. And really, there is no explanation.  What I have to share with all of you is joyous news (and no, I am not pregnant). But it’s joyous news utterly fraught – fraught with fear, with sadness, with nervousness, with am-I -doing-the – right-thingedness – like I said, it’s fraught.

So I guess I’ll just get on with it, because I’ll certainly be examining the decision here on this blog up, down, and all around in future posts.  So – S. and I are moving back to Pittsburgh. I’ve accepted a job ( a better job) in my field, a job I am so excited about I am full to bursting. I start in a little less than four weeks, and S. will follow after his graduation. There is SO MUCH good about this – I will be near my brother and his new wife, and reunite with old friends. It’s highly possible I may be able to avoid driving altogether most days, but even if that isn’t possible, I will easily reduce my driving by literally dozens of miles a day. I’m advancing in my career and will be working for a woman who has a career I both admire and covet. Despite the more rigorous demands of the position, it involves (a.) a tremendously shorter commute and (b.) less writing and more personal interaction, which I believe will save me from the burnout of writing all. day. long. I believe Michigan is the land of my heart, but Pittsburgh is the city of my soul. I get a little breathless when I think about the simple act of walking – my current neighborhood doesn’t even have streets! I am – so anticipating – the ability to see through the work I do, do remain an advocate in the health care field.  I might be able to adjunct a couple writing classes at my old college, just for fun. This move in every way matches the goals I set out for this year, including embracing my inner academic, living on less, reducing my carbon footprint while returning me to the clubs, museums, restaurants and life I already know I love.

It’s so good.

But too, fraught.

S. will be following me, and while he has some job possibilities he doesn’t have any job offers. He may end up taking time off to study for the bar and have nothing to return to. While I know logically we can absolutely live on what I’ll be earning, he has always out-earned me and without him working we will have to adjust our financial thinking. We are both taking it on faith that by choosing to pursue a lifestyle more in tune to our value system, everything will work out.

And, of course – leaving my friends here feels terribly sad, even though I know they are good enough friends to remain in my life regardless of proximity. Still – leaving A. and M. and K., and the women in my writing group, and certain co-workers – it makes me want to throw up when I begin thinking about it.

My parents aren’t particularly supportive, either, although they’ve come around in recent weeks. Despite the fact I live four hours away from them right now, and can hardly pop in for Sunday dinner, this move, even though it puts me within miles of my brother, upsets them. S. thinks they must have thought we’d eventually move next door to them, raise our children on the shore of Lake Huron.  And it makes sense, for them to assume that – no generation until mine has moved so far away from family. Now my cousins are in Chicago, D.C. and Switzerland and I guess everyone thought if anyone would return home it would be me, to have babies and continue the lineage. Or something.

Some friends don’t think S. should be following me, when he’s the one with the law degree.

And others can’t believe we don’t buy a house and just settle down, once and for all.

People at work, when I tell them I will no longer have to drive, and will be able to rely on my own two feet or public transportation much of the time, sigh and remark on how much I “lucked out,” while also quickly saying they could never leave their commitments behind in such a way.  To which I want to say, but don’t, together S. and I studied the way we were living, and the kind of money we were spending on cars and commuting and the very act of living in southern Michigan, measured it against the possible rewards of change, and decided to make the leap. But it could turn out terribly, I suppose.

Anything could.

I guess the reason this post is hard to write is because I have so much to say, up to and including the discovery of myself as dedicated to my career path, the excitement of being closer to S.’s side of the family, the way I truly feel about Pittsburgh, what I expected when I moved to MI, and how it measured against reality, the choice to truly lead our family, my overwhelming desire to exchange space and unlimited financial freedom for time, time to read and to write and to be with my husband – and I think a lot of posts over the next good while will deal with these issues.

But for now, even with the nerves and sadness, I feel awash in joy, and pride, and optimism. I’m taking a leap of faith in this move, and S. is taking a leap of faith in me, and I as well in him, and we are moving beyond our first ten years together – ten years made up nearly exclusively of our schooling, and moving into a life where, if all goes well, the schooling will do what it was intended to do – support us and help us be agents of change in the world.

It’s been fourteen years since S. first approached me at summer camp and asked me to read him the poem I was writing – the very first time he let me take the lead. I think the fact he’s doing it even now is pretty incredible, especially when he could wave his law degree in my face and rightfully demand the opportunity for me to follow him. But he’s still at heart that same sweet boy who believes I can do great things, and for that I am just so grateful.

And so – we move on and up and outward, to a life we think we can live beautifully. And the joy and hope I have for this outweighs any fear or sadness I have. I am so excited and so ready for our next adventure, I can just barely stand it.

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16 Responses to Leap of faith

  1. noble savage says:

    Congratulations, how exciting! I think it’s fantastic that you’re going for the great job and will be near your brother and the city you love. Happy planning and moving!

  2. Emily Barton says:

    I think it’s absolutely the right move (and not only because it will put you within driving distance of ME!). To tell you the truth, S.’s likelihood of finding a job anywhere in the country as a lawyer is far greater than yours, in your specialized field. It makes much more sense for you two to settle where you can get a job, if you want to continue working. And luckily, you managed to find a job in a place you already know. And good for you for realizing so early in life that, obviously, money isn’t everything. Congratulations! I can’t wait to hear how your new life unfolds.

  3. Sarah says:

    Oh I’m so happy for you! I think your excitement is infectious. Congratulations, and I can’t wait to read more about your adventures in this next phase of your life! 🙂

  4. Cam says:

    Congrats, Courtney — on the new job & the move, but more so for being courageous and taking that leap!

  5. Charlotte says:

    Congratulations on taking this wonderful new leap into the future. I’m sure, seeing it feels so right, it will be a great move both for you and for S.

    I know nothing about Pittsburgh, so I look forward to some essays from you on its attractions!

  6. Litlove says:

    I think you’re handling the ambivalent feelings beautifully. I always get caught wishing I were 100 percent coherent in every decision I make and find it very hard then to move on. Of course you’re right to do this; what’s the worst that can happen? It’s not quite perfect and so you move on again. Life is so much better when you grasp the opportunities that are presented to you and take on the adventures.

  7. Fence says:


    And I totally agree about the bliss of being able to walk most places. I’m so lucky that I can walk to work, just under half an hour of a stroll and there I am.

    Good luck with the move and I hope things go well with you.

  8. Becky says:

    Congratulations, Courtney! I think it’s fantastic news, and a brave but good step. You sound so excited and happy that I can only think you are doing the right thing.

  9. yogamum says:

    Congratulations! I think you will find that things fall into place. It sounds like you have made a great decision, one that will work for both of you.

  10. Andi says:

    Brava! Congratulations to you, and I’m so thrilled that you’re facing promising opportunities. I know everything will work out wonderfully for you, and I can’t wait to read about your continuing adventures.

  11. Dorothy W. says:

    Congratulations! It sounds like you are doing just the right thing — the extra time for all the other things besides work that you want to do sounds wonderful. And it makes so much sense not to do so much writing for your job, and that that will make it easier to find the energy for your own work.

  12. Courtney says:

    Noble Savage – Thank you! I am really looking forward to it!
    Emily – I think you make a really good point regarding my niche vs. S.’s – he really will be able to find a job fairly (hopefully) easily whereas my job is specialized…I never thought of it like that before!
    Sarah – Thank you!
    Cam – thank you! I will try to remember that I am courageous during the scary moments…
    Charlotte, oh, you’ve asked for it now…
    Litlove, thanks for the kind words. I am looking forward, with only minimal reservations, to the upcoming adventure…
    Fence, I am so happy to join you in the walking-to-work club…
    Becky – I am feeling both brave and happy!
    Yogamum – thank you!
    Andi – oh, I hope so!
    Dorothy…I’m really hoping the extra time works out that way.

  13. Smithereens says:

    That’s wonderful news! I think your decision is well thought through, so there’s no reason why you should regret it! Go for it!

  14. YOU DESERVE IT. You’re amazing at what you do. You’ll be amazing! Make the leap and don’t look back. We’ll be here to support you! Cheers to a new Chapter!

  15. bloglily says:

    This sounds wonderful — Pittsburgh is a magnificent city, and you are so right to want to live in a place where you can do the things you want to do and live the life you envision. It is much, much better to do that now, than when you are raising children, although it can be done then, too. Change is SO GOOD. And I agree with litlove, if it isn’t what you want, you can do something else. But trying is all.

  16. Stefanie says:

    I’m late to the party. Congratulations on the new job and the exciting move ahead of you! Things like this are always scary but it sounds like it will be a very good thing.

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