May 10, 2013

To Old Beginnings

New Beginnings. That’s what January 23rd felt like. I turned on my work computer for the first time in a year and had 3,240 unread emails. I selectively read 43 of them, and the rest I hit DELETE. I had been assigned to a new product on a new team, and with my new work-from-home arrangement, my commute time was a whopping 15 seconds.

We were back in Colorado after 6 years and living with Steve’s parents in Monument. A lot of people have asked us how the living arrangement has been working out. Honestly, it’s been great. We realize we’ve fulfilled every cliché joke about 30-somethings living with their parents, but from our perspective, it was an incredible opportunity. 

We co-habitated just fine while Steve looked for a new job that could take us anywhere in the state. And of course we arrived in the dead of winter – having forgotten our ice scrapers and snow brushes in our storage unit in San Diego. Things felt new and promising.

A lot can happen in 4 months.

After a little bit of a slow start, my job kicked into high gear. It all started with work trips to Anaheim, Scottsdale, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Diego – where we were wonderfully reunited with many of our friends.

And because I work from home, I had the flexibility to work from the Nauman's house in Breckenridge for 3 weeks…

…and Ohio for 2 weeks, where we met our new niece for the first time, celebrated my Mom’s birthday, hunted Easter eggs, and watched our nephew score his first touchdown.

We also spent many days and nights catching up with friends in Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs.

When I do the math, I actually only slept at home 54 out of 116 nights since I arrived in Colorado. In hindsight, being so accustomed to jetting around on a whim probably led to plans that were little over zealous. Because who could have guessed that the perfect storm of mayhem was about to roll in…

Amid 6 straight weeks of me traveling, Steve’s parents put his childhood home on the market. That meant lots of purging, cleaning and showing the house during the few days that we were actually at home. 

At the same time we also remodeled a rental property in Colorado Springs, and my parents came out to Breckenridge for a week-long vacation.

Meanwhile, Steve was diligently plugging away at his job search. He exhausted every opportunity with every angle he knew how, but in the end, there was just no traction in Colorado. Those fools. They let good talent pass them by while his former employer snatched him up. He just couldn’t wait around forever, and a contract was available at his old company. Sooooo….WE’RE MOVING TO SAN DIEGO!

On one hand, we’re amazed that neither one of us had to interview for our jobs after taking a year sabbatical. On the other hand, we’re a little disappointed that Steve didn’t even get to try out his new suit.

Steve definitely feels a sense of relief…and a nagging, stress-induced eye twitch has finally subsided. But this is also bittersweet, as we really wanted to make Colorado work. Don’t get me wrong, there were days when we questioned if Colorado was the right place for us to make a final stop – cleaning snow off our cars, the smell of burning brakes along I-70, pine beetle destruction in the mountains, annoying turbulence in the Denver airspace, an even more annoying airport, and the realization of how freaking hard it is to run at 7,000 feet.

But as the days passed by, we had become ever more committed to Colorado – we’re closer to family, we love the mountains, the sports teams have fans that actually fill up a stadium, and the cost of living is so much more attainable.

So now, when we tell people we’re moving to San Diego, they immediately pick up on our mediocre level of excitement. Isn’t that terrible? San Diego is so ridiculously amazing, and there were moments over the past 4 months when I was convincing myself that San Diego was where I wanted to move. And now I’d be lying if I said we weren’t a bit saddened.

In some ways we were totally ill prepared for this next phase of our life, and it completely caught us off guard. After being nomadic for over a year, we put so much pressure on ourselves to rebuild our life in the perfect place. We had put all sorts of effort and planning into our Colorado relocation, but then when we finally got here, there were days when we thought we had made a mistake. To say there’s been a lot of indecision floating around our household would be an understatement.

In the simplest terms, we are just two people trying to figure out where to settle after being unsettled for so long. Our feelings changed (and continue to change) on a weekly or daily basis. We want to be where we’ll be most happy. But how do we define happy now? It is what we know would have made the old Steve and Katie happy? Because maybe those things aren’t as important to us anymore. Or is it what we can only guess will make the future Steve and Katie happy? We’re trying (rather unsuccessfully at the moment) to reconcile those feelings.

Sometimes I try to tell myself that after the past year, the more chaotic life is, the more normal it should feel. That’s a lie. I don’t want my life to feel chaotic. I want it to be simple. That’s what I promised myself when we returned from our trip.

These past 4 months have been a roller-coaster of emotions and plans. We’re certainly not where we thought we’d be. But having just come off a year on the road, we’re probably about as flexible and laid back as we’ve ever been. Thank goodness for those experiences, because the amount of change the past 4 months has served us would be enough to drive a person crazy.

So we’re off to San Diego! Wish us luck! Here’s to old beginnings…