My husband and I were married in August of 1998. I was 27 and he was 38. Since then, we have lived in 5 states. Moving to escape the rat race, moving to escape a certain climate, moving to “start over” and moving to “begin again”. We’ve lived where we are right now for a little over 3 years. While that might not seem like a long time to some, that is close to a lifetime compared to our track record. Going back in my head, trying to dissect the very reasons we chose to move all over the country, it had nothing to do with logic. To others I’m sure it seemed like we were running from something. To us, we actually were running towards something. Trying to find ourselves in another community, searching for who we are as human beings, and where we might be the most successful. It never seemed to quite work out and we lost a lot of money and survived many arguments throughout all the traveling. But we would trade nothing for the adventure that we had.
You might think since we have been living in our current state for over 3 years now that we’ve found something. That we’ve actualized a bit of ourselves, inching closer to happiness. That would be a convenient and happy ending to a half decade of running, but it is not the way it is. While I don’t like where I live, I don’t hate it. And while I complain about the lack of things to do and see, I continue to search out activities and remain optimistic. I’ve come to terms with my where we've arrived, after a long internal battle, and actually call my town “home”.
Additionally, after a long employment search while I typed away at a dead-end job, I landed a great job. Not just a higher paying job, but a career changing job. Life was turning toward the up and up. Things seemed brighter again. The future seemed more promising as I watched my children sleep snug in their warm beds. And so purchasing a home seemed like the next step to consider. Since our comfort level has increased and our family has grown from 3 to 4 with the arrival of our baby last year, I was all right with calling this place “home”. This place would one day be described by my sons as their “hometown”. My husband and I were excited. We were ready. After years of renting, with no feet firmly in place anywhere on this earth, we were ready to plant the seeds. And so began the house hunting.
And just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, life throws you a curve. There came the possibility from upper management at work, that my job might best be conducted in another state, 400 miles away. In a big city. An exciting city. However, a city we are not familiar with. So, yet again, a new city. Another new city. Do we want this? At first, we jumped on board. Yes, transfer me to this great, new city! It would be a great opportunity for me and my career! It’s not like we’re unaccustomed to moving, right? We can handle it. We have done it many times before. We’re pros.
But like bringing an aging pitcher out of retirement, we were achy. Slow. Tired. The air seemed to be leaking out of our spirits fast. Do we want to move again? But we were never happy here in the first place, right? Or were we?
Happy would not be the right word to describe it. Happy is how I feel when I get home from work and wrap my arms around my children. Happy is when it’s summertime and I feel the warmth of the sun tanning my skin while my toes dangle in a pool. No, happy wouldn’t be how I would describe my feelings for the state in which I live. Content. That is more appropriate. But is that settling? Have I grown so weary of adventure since becoming a mother that the sheer weight of that responsibility has made me immobile?
I would like to think that my vigor for life has not left me with the onset of parenthood. However, our focus shifts to less adventurous things like good school districts, a nice home, access to good healthcare and insurance, all those things that, dare I say, make us…. safe?
I assume that is the cyclical nature of life. We bring to our children all the lessons learned and our valuable education not only from school but from the streets. Because it’s their turn to be adventurous right? There will be a time one day when these birds will be freed from their nests to investigate the world on their terms and in the most appropriately reckless way possible. That right of youth has passed me now. It’s going to be their turn soon. And I would be lying if I said there isn’t a hint of jealously. As it turns out we are not moving away from this town. We are henceforth sentenced to the contentness of this tiny Midwestern mecca. But for some reason, at this ripe old age of 36, it doesn’t seem so bad after all. And I don’t feel like I’ve settled one bit.
This post has been a long time coming. There has been a tremendous amount of stress over our living conditions lately and we’ve officially started our house hunting. And I haven’t known how to put this all into words.