Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fantasy Island

Where to run to?  This is the stuff of fantasy and sort of fun to think about.  There were 47 states in play when the idea first hatched.  We could go any where really, at least on paper.  California was out of contention immediately not because it's not an awesome place; it's just a little too awesome.  No one can realistically afford to live there if they aren't rich and famous, and I am decidedly not rich and famous.  Texas is not in play - it's a big state, granted.  But, I've seen a lot of it over time and lived here long enough.  Just not happening.  And Kansas was not on the table.  To anyone reading this in Kansas, I would love for you to leave a comment about your state and why you love it.  But, let me just say, it's not for us.  But, let's face it, I was contemplating a major shake up of our lives, but just how major did I want to make it?  Wasn't it safer to go with what you at least know a little bit about?  That put Montana and Pennsylvania as the two primary fighters in the ring.  Still, it was sort of fun to think about living in Alaska (not because I necessarily want to see Russia from my house or have the Palins as neighbors, mind you, but polar bears and caribou seem like mighty fine neighbors to me) or Seattle maybe.  I have to confess, Coeur d' Alene was not on the short list.  Living somewhere I can't spell without looking it up is probably not the best plan!

But, in the end, it's our future, so the reality is serious business. The reality of the times we live in was smoldering outside my little fantasy bubble, waiting to pop it.  The economy hasn't exactly bounced right back, has it?  There are something like five people out of work for every open position in the United States.  I heard an estimate today that it'll be 2015 before we can realistically expect unemployment levels to get back to 2007 levels.   Yet, in Austin, the economy is holding its own.  I actually have a job.  So did my husband until he walked away from it.  Why in the world would anyone in their right mind leave here right now?  I could say a lot of things in response that would be hollow rationalizations, kind of like the ones I concocted to convince myself that I was smart to move here in the first place.  I am smart enough to see them for what they are.  I'm old enough not to really feel I have to spew them out.  If we decide to move, then we decide to move.  If I say to you that I do not want to live in the shadow of my the last decade, then that is how I feel.  Doesn't make it right.  Doesn't make it wrong.  Makes it how I feel.  Period.  Marissa feels the way she does.  And Greg?  Well, he's still just sort of lost.

Yet, on a daily basis, I question my own sanity.  I look out at my favorite deer as she gazes in our window intently, trying to catch my attention so I'll drop whatever I'm doing and come feed her (and I do too, she's completely got me wrapped around her delicate little hoof), and I wonder how I can ever leave her.  I play my nightly game with Chappy and wonder how much I will regret leaving the pool behind.  And then I drive to work the next morning and listen to the dire predictions about the economy again, and know I am not thinking straight.

But, I don't ever question my resolve.  As I went out to feed Red the Deer tonight, I thought, "Well, this certainly is a gilded cage I live in.  How soon can I break free from here?"  I find it extremely hard to put into words.  I don't know if other people who have undergone a major loss feel the same way.  As we know, the family across the street toughed it out.  But, did they ever question whether they could or should?  Maybe because I already had a case of Yankee Wanderlust, there is no doubt in my mind this is a move I feel we need to make to set us on the road to recovery.

A couple of things happened after Mother died that pushed the idea forward.  One day, I was speaking to one of the attorneys we work with.  I've known him for a lot of years so we speak fairly informally with one another.  He's a Pittsburgh native - as a matter of fact, he went to high school with Jim Haslett (non-Steeler fans:  he was a Steeler assistant coach and head coach of the Saints for a few years) - and knows I'm a fan, so as he was trying to illustrate a point to me by saying, "For instance, if you wanted to move to Pittsburgh and said, 'How can I move to Pittsburgh?' it's not likely to happen.  But if you say, 'I am going to move there' you will probably find a way to do it."  Well, that was an interestingly timed comment, I thought to myself...

Right about that time, I opened up my home page and was greeted with a headline listing the ten cities that have lost the most jobs during the last year.  Missoula was on it.  About the middle of the pack actually.  How many cities are there in the United States?  Way more than ten, that's for sure.  To make a list like that means it's really bad there.  It made my heart sink to see the city I've long thought as the place I wanted to work toward on a list basically telling me I certainly wouldn't be working if I got there.

So, on the evening of Greg's birthday, when he asked me where I wanted to go, I said, "Pittsburgh."  And he agreed to it.

And so we've done what my attorney friend said.  We've made the decision.  Now we're trying to figure out how to act on it.


No comments:

Post a Comment