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Begin Again

I really wanted things to stay the same. The good parts, at least. The part where I impulsively bought tickets to Athens at midnight and paddle boarded when I felt like it and orcas swam up next to me and gave me a high five as I cruised across the Sound.

Just kidding. The orcas never gave me a high five.

But, I 100% would keep that part of my life nonetheless.

I've worked really hard to not idealize "my old life" over the last 2 years. I try to parse out what I enjoyed and balance that against if given the chance I wouldn't actually go back. We left for good reasons. Solid reasons that everyone concedes was "a smart move". Still, the good parts of that season haunt me.

Scott and I struck out on our own to a new part of the country with two small kids in tow and we made a really cool life for ourselves out of nothing. We didn't have friends or connections when we moved to Washington. It was just us, the money we saved and the job that let Scott live wherever he wanted. Our life there wasn't perfect, but we earned it. The ideal and the not-ideal. So, naturally letting go of it has been a special grief.

It felt a little like "out of the frying pan and into the fire" when we moved to Arizona amid a BONKERS housing market. I really struggled with feeling like we were unprofessional dorks who didn't have their life together when we moved into my parent's mother-in-law quarters. (They were lovely about it, by the way. Never once made us feel bad.)

It is empowering to say: "Welp, that isn't gonna work. I am not paying $500,000k OVER the asking price to live in Phoenix. Hard pass."

Tempered with: "Then where DO we go? The parents have a place for us? Yeah. Let's go there."

And then just a complete wipe of any power when the market REFUSES to cool and now you care about things like Canadian lumber tariffs and steel from Russia and China's lockdown policy... because now you are living the politics that were once relegated to a dry nightly BBC report and Forbes articles.

In short: The world shut down, and now you can't do shit even though you are responsible and saved and you are super used to wise choices resulting in you getting your way.

At some point in the last two years of "trying to move forward," I realized that we are just in the thick of life. This isn't a "pause" or a "reset". It is a continuum of this beautiful and disgusting world. And there is nothing I can do to try and create a fresh start. And the biggest mistake I can make right now is to try and recreate my old life.

I was listening to my Calm app the other day- because THIS IS WHERE I AM AT NOW- and the "Daily Wisdom Talk" was a fancy Harvard-Professor-Atlantic-Contributor named Arthur Brooks. Anyway, Mr. Fancyman was talking about how difficult situations are really the time for the best opportunities. He said that he was fishing once as a kid in the ocean in the PNW and wasn't catching anything- he said that a grizzled old mariner came up to him and said he needed to wait until there was a "falling tide". That the bait fish and plankton got stirred up when the water was going out and the big game fish "go crazy" and that "the biggest mistake you can make is to not put your line in the water". He goes on to explain that the best opportunities in life are often during times of change and chaos.

You know what? I've tried to fight change enough times in my 37 years on this earth, to no avail, that maybe this guy is on to something.

Insulating my life from change is a fool's errand. My previous attempts never amounted to anything but stress and impulse buys of marble paper towel holders at Marshall's to soothe my frazzled soul. Then why do I keep doing this?

So, I started looking at this season of chaos and change as an opportunity and not as something that "happened to us".

Honestly, when you really think about it, making your life into a series of endings and beginnings is really inefficient. It really is seasons and tides and a sort of continuum of predictability and novelty. The worst thing we can do is fight it.

We don't have to enjoy it. Of course, grieving is healthy. So is celebrating. Too much of any of it is where it goes sideways.

The world went to shit and there is nothing I can do about it.

Scott was unexpectedly laid off and there is nothing I can do about it.

Scott was denied unemployment and there is nothing I can do about it.

We have an opportunity to save and put ourselves in a strong financial position.

An opportunity that we never would have gotten if it wasn't for the layoff.

We have an opportunity for our kids to be near their grandparents and get a fantastic education.

An opportunity that we never would have gotten if it wasn't for the layoff.

We are in the thick of the chaos. We have no idea the outcome. The best thing we can do is put our line in the water and hope for the best.

Which is what we did 6 years ago.

It is what we are doing today. The only thing that has changed is our mentality.


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