For as long as I remember, the next step in my life has been fairly straight forward. High school, undergrad, med school, residency. There was an expected and predictable next step. I'm not saying that the next step was easy or stress free, because it never was, but it was at least predictable.
Now, not so much.
The obvious next step after residency is to find a job. Because Hubster is still in dental school, I was able to get a temporary, locum tenens type job with the hospital I did residency at. It worked well, allowed me to have a more flexible schedule, remain in a system that I was familiar with, and get some more experience.
I've really enjoyed my job for the last year and a half.
But now that Hubster's dental school graduation in on the horizon, it's time to start making permanent plans.
We know we'll most likely be moving, that we'll sell our home, move somewhere else, put the kids in different schools. Knowing that has added an element of unrest to our lives, because we don't know where we'll be going.
For the last six years, I've been able to live with the feeling of permanence. Maybe somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that things weren't permanent. That we wouldn't live in our little house or in this particular neighborhood forever. After all, the house definitely wasn't our dream house. We weren't sure we wanted to live in Iowa for the rest of our lives. We don't have any family in the area. But I was able to ignore that possibility and for the first time in my life, actually feel settled.
I moved many, many times as a child. After Hubster and I got married, we continued to move multiple times, from one miserable apartment to the next. When asked where I grew up or where I'm from, I give a couple states, not a city or an address.
When we moved to Iowa, we bought our first home. A place we could paint walls and hang pictures and mark our children's height on the door frame. I have fallen completely in love with our little house, with its big yard and all its 1970s building standards. I have lived on our quiet street for longer than I have ever lived at one place prior. I have finally felt allowed to put down roots, which I did with abandonment, becoming more attached to our home, our neighborhood, our city, and state each day.
Now, suddenly but not unexpectedly, all that stability is up in the air. We don't know where we are going to land come next summer.
I've applied for jobs on the West Coast, in Montana and Utah, seriously looked into jobs at other Midwest locations. I've interviewed several places. Hubster has looked and enquired about jobs right along with me.
I'm determined that the next move will be the last move. I promised myself long ago that I was going to offer my children more stability than I had. When someone asked them where they grew up, they would have an answer. I wanted them to have a childhood home, to actually be from somewhere, to put down roots without constant fear of being yanked out of the familiar.
Already, the prospect of moving and leaving behind what we have built for our family is difficult. Bug, comfortably settled in middle school with his close group of friends is struggling with the impending changes. Even Monkey, who was initially excited about something new, is now more and more reticent about moving.
Even I'm not handling the possibility well. Frequently, we'll be out for family walks and I'll be taking in the tree line streets and familiarity, and just stop and cry out, "I just can't move!"
So there's a lot of pressure to make sure the move is worth it. It would be wonderful to move closer to family. It's not been easy being hundreds of miles away from our families. But we are weighing that benefit against the cost of taking our children away from what they know.
And Hubster and I really both need jobs in the same area, which is not as easy as one could wish. Both job markets for anesthesiologists and dentists are tight with limited options.
I know that we'll figure things out, that we'll make what we feel is the best decision for everyone (even if Bug continues to insist that we are only doing this to make him miserable.)
But until we make that decision, I'm up in the air, unsettled, distractable, stressed, and slightly unhappy.
This prolonged process of uprooting oneself, slowly pulling each tendril free, is painful.