Monday, May 9, 2011

Status Report

Last night as we were getting ready for bed, J asked me if I had my druthers, would I want to stay here or move.  That's not an easy answer.  From the start of our marriage (and even before) the plan was he'd get his PhD, and we'd travel on his career path together (since I hadn't figured one out yet). So, as he started to get finished up, I started to disconnect myself from my town.  I did not renew my membership on a non-profit board that could probably have used me there, because I didn't want to drop out halfway through the year.  I stopped work on a craft fair I had been wanting to organize.  I refused a nomination to the staff senate at the university where I worked.  Twice.  At one point, even after I realized the poor treatment at my work was not going to change no matter how proactive I became, I refused to find another job that I would just have to quit soon after. At many points in here, I gave up hope.  I packed things up.  I sold 1/3 of my belongings.  I decided not to plant the garden this year.  I have been protesting any large Christmas gifts for YEARS because I didn't want to move with them.  God knows we could have used a new couch a long time ago. I hit pause.

But you can't hit pause on life. It keeps going, things accumulate, experience accumulates until it totally makes sense to go for that better-paying job even if the future is murky.  Submit some artwork to that show*.  Make some new friends and stop acting like they'll just be saying goodbye to you soon.

So, do I want to stay?  If I hadn't spent the last four years preparing to leave, yes. Of course. I'd made good friends, good connections, I love my house.  But I feel like I've spent four years refusing to grow and soiling my reputation with a flaky assertion that I'd be "leaving soon".  That feels really bad.  I have a hang-up about looking like a flake, but I think that's because it's what I'm known for by now.  I'm the one who's always saying she's moving but hasn't gone anywhere.

I shouldn't care what people think.  But I do care about all the wasted time and the negative parts of my reputation caused by it.  I want a fresh start.

That puts a lot of pressure on J.  I know there was always pressure, but I think it's part of the bargain when he's the one leading the charge.  I've got a different kind of pressure, one that isn't as valued or supported, as evidenced by the lack of blogs about trailing/traveling spouses.

I shouldn't be writing this blog-- I should be polishing my resume and writing a cover letter.  I have always been my worst enemy**.

*Somewhat hilariously (not at all) put on by the non-profit I had worked with and resigned from.  But I just got an email saying I'd gotten in but they didn't have a venue, so there wouldn't be a show.  Great.
**I'm not actually having a bad day.  It's just a real thinky day.


  1. I understand all the awkwardness around living like you're going to move soon. All the time. For years. Having done just that over the last three years, I have often had a devil of a time committing to things, and people and projects that seem even remotely long term (because, hey,
    we *might* leave and then what?)

    I'm convinced that your cautious approach is not bad at all. Actually, I've found that most reasonable people understand the awkwardness (irrespective of how they perceive it). I've often got the feeling (from talking to people) that you're (one is) definitely less likely to be seen as a flake for staying out of things that you (one) would be if you had to drop out of things half-way. And I say this as a person who has had to give up volunteer positions mid-way into the project. To be in those shoes is way more uncomfortable. (And burns more bridges, I think).

    That said, here's to you and possibilities! Good luck, a.b.


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