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22 days to move 500 miles

Around this time two months ago I had my first interview for a new position.

Around this time one month ago I was packing up to move.

And now? I’m 500 miles away from the place I called home for 11 years. Welcome to New Hampshire. Live free or die! (No pressure.)

In a matter of two months almost everything in my life changed and I would be lying if I said it wasn’t nerve-wracking.

63366David and I have been talking about packing up and leaving Virginia since we met. At times we would consider the possibilities of buying a house, settling in, and staying in Virginia for the next 5-10 years. It would mean staying in Virginia longer than we wanted but the stability and the familiarity were appealing.

As our professional lives evolved (see: multiple layoffs) and we hopped from one rental to another before moving in with family (see: broke) it became clear that staying in Virginia was just not an option.

A friend asked me before we left what I would miss about living in the area and I couldn’t say our friends and family. I didn’t have anything to stay. The traffic, the cost of living, the live-to-work mentality, the huge population, the suburban sprawl, these aren’t things I will miss. I didn’t have anything to say except the people. We have an amazing network of people we love and that’s what I knew I would (and do) miss.

Obviously, the longer we’re here the more we have the opportunity to compare this place to where we lived previously. I’ll be honest and say that there are things we realize about the city we’re renting in that make it clear we won’t be this city permanently but we’re also having fun getting to know the surrounding cities. And we’re happier here. It’s not perfect and I never expected it to be. But it fits.

moving-dayI think something shifted for me around my birthday last year. The excitement over the wedding was long gone, my name last name was back to what I wanted, I had changed jobs multiple times due to layoffs, and I celebrated my birthday by shaving my head to fund research for cures to childhood cancers.

There was so much tumult in my life and I spent the morning of my birthday trying to do something to help children struggling with much bigger things than I was. Then I rolled around DC with a shaved head. I kayaked and went out for pizza with my husband and our friend, and later went out for my favorite cuisine (Mexican – real or fake) with family. All day I just felt so simply good and refreshed.

I can’t even count how many times since my birthday I thought “This isn’t where I belong.” If you’ve never felt that feeling – and I don’t mean in a group of people but in your life or in your day – then it’s kind of hard to explain. It’s this feeling in the pit of your stomach telling you something needs to change.

I was ready to go.

So I did.

The interview process for my current job took place entirely via phone and Skype (and writing prompts via email) which was fantastically convenient. When the job offer came I accepted without hesitation. The job was right, I got along well with the team, the offer was great, and I knew I was accepting a job with an intentionally-recognized company. I was excited to move to New England. I was ready and I said “yes.” David and I drove up amidst a snow storm for a whirlwind weekend of apartment hunting in a city that doesn’t offer much in the way of dog-friendly housing. We applied for an apartment and found out we got the place on our drive back up.

newhampshire-stampThere was just over three weeks between the offer and the day we moved. It was barely any time at all although the stress of it made it feel like the move would never come. It’s been almost a month since our move and the time has flown by. We’ve settled in, unpacked most of the boxes, found local hangouts we like, and started trying to find new friends.

This move brought me and David ten steps closer to the life we want. We see each other more, we relax more, we experience more, and we explore more. We’re doing more with our lives and we’re happier here. We miss the hell out of our family and friends (your invitations to visit never expire!) but other than that, it’s pretty easy to see we made the right move.

I lived in Upstate New York for 16 years before my dad moved the family to Virginia. I was so angry with my parents for moving. I didn’t want to leave everything and everyone I knew.

And now, 11 years after that first move I actively chose to leave everything and almost everyone I know again. But this time I’m not angry.

I’m excited.

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