Thursday, July 12, 2012

Am I on the brink of becoming stagnant, or is this what being happily settled feels like?

When I was  in college it was as if change was all the rage.  Those four years felt like they lasted a decade and I would embrace change every chance I got.

The last big changes in my life happened in 2005.  In January, I moved to Brooklyn all by myself, and by July, Alex and I were in love and moving in together.  Living with a boyfriend for the first time was a huge change.  The sort of change that made me realize that going back on it would be a really big deal.

Luckily, I never had to worry about us.  The confidence I felt that we were going to be together forever is still here seven years and four apartments together later.

They say in New York, you're always looking for a job, a boyfriend, or an apartment (or at least that's what they say in Sex in the City, and I just felt VERY Carrie-esque typing that line out on my laptop) and I've had all three for a long time now.  Yes, the apartments have changed, but not the city.  And lately, I'm not sure what it is.  Maybe it has to do with turning 30, or the fact that I'm on summer vacation and have a lot of time on my hands that often leads me to reading Craigslist like a crazy person.  Or maybe it's just the fact that I can't remember doing the same thing and living in the same place for seven years in a row since I was a kid, but I can't stop wondering if it is time for something to change.  Am I on the brink of becoming stagnant, or is this what being happily settled feels like? How do you know?

Both Alex and I recently saw job postings in different places that seemed intriguing.  Actually, scratch that, I found both of the job listings because of that time on my hands thing I talked about earlier. One was for a children's public librarian position in a small town in Hudson Valley, New York.  I even found the perfect house for us to live in, literally blocks away from the library.  (I can't believe I'm telling you this, it's really showing just how deep into thinking about this I go).  That kind of change would allow Alex to stay where he is and commute into the city, although the commute seems pretty long compared to subway commuting, but I've heard that a lot of people do it.

The other job listing was for a public radio position in Interlochen, Michigan.  A beautiful town that we've both been to that is centered around a lake and world renowned arts center.

We haven't applied to either of these jobs or told anyone that we even know they exist.  Parents and co-workers who have become close friends and read this blog, I know what you're thinking right now, something like: "Whaaaaaaaaa?"  I know, that's what I'm thinking too.

It's like during the day, I fantasize about small town living, and trees and grass and space and affordable housing, and then at night I think, but we'd be so lonely and all our friends are here and what if it ends up being a bad idea? Then what?

And that is the cycle I am in right now.  Has anyone else gone through this before?  What ended up happening?  Did you change, or stay where you are?  Was the change the right decision?  I think it can be nice to have something to dream about while you aren't there yet, but that dreaming can also get in the way of enjoying the present.  Would love to hear your thoughts on this readers! And thanks, as always, for listening.


  1. It sounds like you have reached the perfect plateau in your life to introduce a child into. Just saying :)

  2. hey lady! I very much understand what you're saying. In the past few years I've moved quite a bit from DC to Alabama to Alaska and I have to say that each of these changes was initially met with lots of trepidation and concern but I wouldn't change a thing. With each big move I've met such great friends and been able to explore new places with Max (the husband!). It can be a challenge but one that I think can ultimately be well worthwhile and push you a bit while learning something new about yourself. I'm guessing that may sound a bit hokey but it's very much true. So if you guys are up for it consider taking the leap, New York will still be there if you ever want to go back.

    1. Thanks Swicks! That's pretty good advice. What a variety of places you've lived in too!

  3. Oh my, on being settled. I had no stability in my life until E came along and now here we are having lived in the same place for over four years and knowing we'll be here a few more, most likely. As you know we are now throwing a kiddo into the mix so that should stir things up, but I do think a lot of the feeling settled stuff just comes with getting older. It can be such a good thing, but also a bit unsettling if your used to constant changes (as I was). But I feel you on job and home searching. I'm still dreaming of the day we could escape to upstate new york, find a little land, and where I could go back to volunteering or working at Farm Sanctuary. You are not alone in your dreaming, of that I am sure. I only wish I had something wise to say about it all.

  4. We moved out the "the country" last month. I've lived in cities all my life, and it will take getting used to, but it is something I've dreamed about all my life. Having a quieter place, slower pace. I do have two kids, so my husband and I had been talking about making the move for a long time. We had been living in a small condo on a busy street in a busy city and it just seemed all wrong. Even though it was where I grew up, I just couldn't see raising my kids there. So, here we are! My husband works from home out of an office in the basement. When he needs to go to a meeting, he drives back to Boston, which is about two hours from where we are now. He doesn't mind. We have a nice little house with a yard. Living the dream ;)

  5. I am in a similar cycle. I am currently living in London with a man (and a dog, but she is pretty flexible with career plans, etc). I am American, and although I haven't lived in the states since I was 8 years old, I am feeling something calling me back there.
    It is a super difficult thing to think about though because firstly, I live with a man who is British, and has a career here, and secondly, I moved around a lot in my childhood, and don't really have a "home town" to move back to, so it would be a matter of picking somewhere to live out of the whole big country.

    At the moment the plan is to stay here for the next couple of years, and look into moving back to the states once a few kids have arrived? (Seeing as giving birth is free here)
    But yeah, it's a lot to think about...

  6. Oh, that's really hard. Is Alex up for a change as much as you might be? If you do end up having kids, would that mean them growing up further away from their relatives? My husband's job may have an opening in Portland, Oregon soon and as much as I'd love to move out of California I cannot imagine moving my kids away from their grandparents, cousins, etc. Since you don't have kids yet, or may decide not to have them, it may be a perfect time to try something new. Why not just apply for the jobs and see what happens?

  7. This is me on a daily basis. We live in Seattle, have great jobs, a house, and our family is here. Yet, I somehow can't stop obsessing over how I want to move to North Carolina and start completely fresh (with the hubs and son of course). I heard something about how turning 30 has something to do with your saturn return or saturn rising (?) and how it makes one super anty for change or want to go in a completely different direction. I'm not super astrological but thought it was interesting. :)

  8. Oh yeah. Absolutely. I just finished up at my steady job, am preggo with number 2, and preparing to move to San Francisco (from Tallahassee, FL). Let me tell you, in the two and a half years since i first become a (very unexpected) mother, i have been living by survival: taking jobs, using my masters degree, and stalking craigslist in cities that were anywhere but where i was. I totally relate to you in this post. Glad to read it

  9. I think the best thing to do would be to evaluate whether you want to do new things just because you feel like a change should be happening, or whether you are bored of what you are doing now. As somebody has already said, since you don't have any little ones running around just yet, perhaps it would be a good time to go for it if you really want to :)

  10. Hey sarah... I wanted to personally invite you to participate in The Womanifesto Challenge link-up... I'm sure you're busy but I sure would love to read yours:)


  11. Could we BE anymore the same person?!