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.
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.