Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Life Hunting

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.

11 Comments:

Blogger Christina said...

Wow, I had no idea the possibility of a move was on the table!

It's a nice city. My husband and I thought a lot before we moved back here and bought a house. He wanted to be involved in theatre, and Chicago was a much better place for that, but we liked the feel of this city, we knew which school districts were good and bad, we knew the hospitals, colleges, etc. were great here. Plus we have family here, and that is always a plus.

We may someday move to a different part of Ohio, but it would only be two hours away. Try as we might, we can't get out of Ohio, but I don't think we mind anymore.

3:50 PM

 
Anonymous L.A. Daddy said...

Thanks for sharing. It's funny how things, priorities mostly, change as you get older. It's not just about having kids, but something deeper.

I'm glad you're staying. In case we ever move back, I can bug you more :)

5:12 PM

 
Blogger soccer mom in denial said...

Oh, how I feel these words. A dear friend is exploring China and I would love to just take the kids out of school and live a nomadic, experience the world life!

But then as we walked out of the grocery store tonight. The town photographer saw me and yelled "Coach!", tussled the boys' hair and made all this feel like a home. A home town.

If it feels content then it is right. If is feel like settling then maybe, just maybe, more exploring is needed.

Hang in there.

6:08 PM

 
Blogger Mayberry said...

Wow--big stuff, heavy stuff! I'm glad you're feeling good about it. We've been very happy having left the big city for smaller-town life.

9:16 PM

 
Blogger Heather said...

Those are tough decisions to make, especially when you have kids. Glad that you've reached a decision that you feel happy with.

9:16 PM

 
Blogger Day said...

Content is good. I hope your house hunting is a fun adventure and not too stressful.

10:45 AM

 
Blogger Mitch McDad said...

Great post Kate. You really put me in the middle of your torment. Tough call...but it sounds like you made a good choice.

Besides....exciting cities are more exciting when you're single.

8:57 PM

 
Blogger Alex Elliot said...

I really enjoyed your post. It's funny because we we first moved here we didn't know anyone. My family is back in Chicago. About a year ago we realized that if we moved back to Chicago, we wouldn't know anyone other than a few family members because all my friends have moved. We realized gradually this had become become our home.

10:05 PM

 
Blogger creative-type dad said...

Yikes! I can relate to this in so many ways.

Nicely said.

1:19 AM

 
Blogger karla said...

Wow. I feel like I was reading my own thoughts that I haven't been quite able to put into words myself on this post.

Thank you for sharing this. I can relate to how you feel so well, and I think at the end of the day, we both ended up making similar decisions for many of the same reasons.

I'm glad you feel good about your decision. Now I'm off to hug my son for a splash of Happy! :) (Cause that's what it's all about right?)

5:55 AM

 
Anonymous dionna said...

I can empathize with your wanderlust. My dad was in the military, so we moved many times when I was growing up. My family finally settled in one town when I was in junior high - to prevent my sisters from having to change schools every year. But the moving bug never left me, so I've lived in several different cities and two states since I got out on my own. My s/o and I are now moving halfway across the country in 5 months. I'm ecstatic! I love the thought. But I can see that he will never be as comfortable uprooting, so I'll have to find a home base soon.
Excellent post :)

8:05 PM

 

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