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Relocating: One year later

November 30, 2014

We’ve been in northern California a year now.

I don’t know how much I talked about details on the blog, but I was not excited about our decision to move from where we were (southern California) to here (northern California).  I tried to put on a brave face, and I was crazy happy that we stayed in this beautiful state.  But I did not want to leave.

I was happy.  We’d made it a home.  I had a job I loved, where I was valued, with reasonable hours, and I could see how having a family would work.  Our apartment was small but awesome, right by the beach path, right by restaurants, right by the ocean.  I had a running buddy next door.

Things were good, except the pesky fact that T had finished school and was now working part time out of town.  That was not good.

I read The Life Of Pi  around that time this quote resonated:  “Why do people move? What makes them uproot and leave everything they’ve known for a great unknown beyond the horizon? Why climb this Mount Everest of formalities that makes you feel like a beggar? Why enter this jungle of foreignness where everything is new, strange and difficult?  The Answer is the same the world over: people move in the hope of a better life”

Simply put, I couldn’t have possibly hoped for a better life.

We moved not explicitly for money, but moving definitely gave T a more prestigious job than our other options.  I challenged it at the time, asking if he’d truly be happier at one place versus another.  One of his current coworkers, trying to recruit him, said “Yeah, but you can’t just base your decisions on having a happy life in an apartment by the beach!”  “Why not?”  I said (maybe just in my head).

We’ve been here almost a year, and I can say that I’m not as happy, not yet.  I hope this comes as matter-of-fact and not complaining.  I own the decision.  I own my own happiness.  I’m not unhappy, by any means.  I’m just still creating this new life.

There are a lot of things that I love.  I didn’t expect to enjoy living in a house as much as I do.  That was never a priority for me in the past, but knowing that this is (sort of) ours and we’re staying here is surprisingly wonderful.  Being closer to nature, getting a bit more seasons (but not real winter)… it’s all good.


I would like to end the post with “but I know it was the right decision,” because that is how posts like this are supposed to end.  We’ve talked about it quite a bit, and we don’t know if it was the right decision.  We don’t get to know how all of the alternate choices would have played out, so it is impossible to say.  Really, it doesn’t matter if it was the most optimal choice or not.  I do know two things:  It is the choice we made, and it was a good choice.

Some people adapt more quickly than others, and I think I’m slow with change.  How long has it taken you to adapt to  big life changes?  And do you think it gets harder as you get older?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. November 30, 2014 6:52 pm

    I hear you and can definitely relate. I am absolutely terrible at adapting to big life changes. I am slow at making big decisions. We talk sometimes about moving to his hometown or mine and what that would look like, but I often doubt we would ever leave this place where we’ve made a home. Perhaps if one of us found a dream job somewhere else.

    Did you accept the new job offer? 🙂

    • November 30, 2014 7:30 pm

      No – although it is likely just a matter of not yet rather than much of a debate.

      How about you – where are you at in your job transition?

      • November 30, 2014 8:45 pm

        Makes sense! I like thinking on those things even if you end up going with your initial decision.

        I accepted an offer!!!!! I’m pretty excited about it. This job just hasn’t been a good fit since a reorg and even though I’m sad about leaving the company, it really feels like time. I’m also pretty excited about the new job. I should have more of a routine and more personal space at work, though I will have a longer commute. My boyfriend and I are going to New Zealand for 3 weeks after Christmas (also very exciting!!!) and then I’ll start the new job after then 🙂 I’m still sorting out when I’m leaving my current job, hopefully soon though.

  2. November 30, 2014 8:01 pm

    “I would like to end the post with “but I know it was the right decision,” because that is how posts like this are supposed to end”

    I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago that I also really wanted to end with the same sort of phrase. But I couldn’t. I may not be able to for a while (or maybe, ever). But what’s done is done.

    I’m actually quite quick with big changes (like moving house or job) but I’ve never moved city as an adult or anything that enormous.

    • November 30, 2014 8:39 pm

      Right, it really doesn’t matter if it was the best choice. It is the choice, and in a lot of cases, there is no going back anyway. I think we made a good choice, and no need to agonize further!

  3. December 1, 2014 1:30 am

    For my move up here I was in the same headspace as you are for about three years. I do NOT do change well! But I was open to the idea of building the new life and just had to let it sink in at whatever pace it took. Doesn’t mean you’re complaining, IMO, just that you’re still settling into it. Some people know right away if a change is for them, or if some changes are, while others take longer.

    • December 2, 2014 11:55 am

      Here is to hoping it doesn’t take me another 2 years! But it totally could.

  4. December 1, 2014 3:44 am

    I am always satisfied with my choices if I made the best decision I could, given all the information that was available to me at the time. I’ve known people in a similar situation to yours who didn’t make the change, and there were consequences: for example, a partner with a long period of unemployment or underemployment, and the resulting frustration which could have made your time at the beach apartment unhappy.

  5. December 2, 2014 10:20 am

    Northern CA is a better place to raise kids than SoCal. Just sayin’.

    I love both, though. If it weren’t for kids, I might have decided to quit my academic job for a think-tank in Los Angeles. Right now I’d rather live either LA or the SF bay area than where I’m living now, but I love my job. So, trade-offs.

    Anyhow, if this change doesn’t work out, if he doesn’t get tenure, etc., you can move back. Life is impossible to optimize because there really are too many trade-offs. Very few things strictly dominate in all areas. You’re almost always going to like some parts of where you are more than where you could be and vice versa. If we move from here, there will be things we miss because no matter where or when we move, there are always things we miss, even if we prefer where we are now to where we were.

    And, of all the places I’ve lived, I may like Northern CA the best, and SoCal second best, but there are a lot of things I miss about the midwest, and even the east coast (which I mostly didn’t like). But I’m glad I’ve had these varied experiences and I hope someday to hit other parts of the country I haven’t experienced. (I ❤ sabbaticals.) With every new situation there's things to learn and ways to grow.

    • December 11, 2014 8:51 am

      Yeah, that’s true. But the LA south bay (redondo beach, etc.) could have worked. not that it made a lot of sense to live there for T’s job.

      What could you possibly like about the east coast? Haha, just kidding. Sort of.

      At an objective level, I do like northern CA better, but I haven’t created the same life here yet.


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