Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Your Thoughts Please

I've shared before here and here about wanting to move out of LA one day. B and I had decided after our trip North that Sonoma area would be our "dream escape from LA." We took a trip up there this summer to scout out the area and decided we were 1-3 years out from being able to relocate, if all went well.

I had settled in to wait it out with Los Angeles. I continued to have a love-hate relationship with the gorgeously plain hipsters on Abbot Kinney. Chose to ignore the traffic that makes my baby scream on a daily basis. Vowed to spend more time communing with whatever nature I could find and visiting the waves that are less than a mile from my house.

But sometimes, when you have made your peace, Opportunity sneaks up and kicks you in the head.

Amongst our many visitors and fieldtrips from daily life, we spent a weekend in San Diego. We commented on how much "calmer" it was, how much more "real" people looked, and marveled at the fact that the beaches are so much more beautiful. And then we headed home and settled back into LA. Until someone jumped on Craigslist and pointed out the difference rental prices between LA and San Diego. And then someone else pointed out that B could just as well run his company from down south and then commute up when necessary. And then BOOM it hit me that this would be an escape out of going back to work.

We daydreamed a little. Spent some time on Craigslist. Daydreamed some more. Discussed with our family that was visited. And slowly, the dream about escaping Los Angeles was becoming a plan. And my excitement began to blend into anxiety as I realized, holy shit, is this happening?

And so people, here we are, only a few weeks later, looking at the very real possibility of relocating in less than 2 months. So real that we have already gone to look at houses down there. Let me explain the reasons why we are NOT crazy before I share the reasons why I am freaking out.

1) The lease is up on our current house in March.

2) I am scheduled to go back to work in March.

3) We would have to start paying our Nanny in March.

4) My sister (my best friend and B's employee) said she would be happy and excited to relocate with us.

5) My sister's boyfriend lost his job right after we started considering this idea and said his friend could find him a job in San Diego.

6) We found a perfect home with extra bedrooms, a back yard and a pool. A home that is a mansion by LA standards.

7) The house is north of SD a little ways and so the commute for B (and my sister) would only be 1.5 hours when he needed to drive up.

You might be wondering...wait, you said you wanted to move to Sonoma? So what are you doing going South? Oh well, at this point, I just want to be somewhere different. Plus, we are looking at it as a practice run to see if B's business can handle him being out of LA, but in San Diego he wouldn't be too far away to still commute easily. Sooo here we are. Within the span of two weeks we have possibly (most likely) made the decision to uproot everything and move.

So what are the downfalls? This is something we've been wanting for awhile. Our quality of life will change considerably in terms of our home and pace of life. My husband and sister will both be working from a home office at our house and so will be closer to Owen. AND I have a way out of having to go back to work, giving me more time home with Owen before I start looking for a new job. Seems like there are no downfalls, right?

Well here is where I need you all to jump in and talk me out of freaking out. Even though I have been dreading going back to work and even though I haven't been very happy with my current job, I DO love my career of being a psychologist and it is a very important part of my identity. My plan if we move is not to quick entirely, but just to "take a break" and then start looking for part-time work to ease back into it. Sounds good. And yet....

And yet I feel like a stereotype. When I left for maternity leave, everyone was teasing me that I "wouldn't come back" or that I would become a "stay at home mom" and I assured all of them that I would come back because I loved being a psychologist. They all looked at me with knowing eyes and said ok, we'll believe when we see it. And now? I will have to go back to work to wrap things up and listen to their "I told you so" chorus.

But ok, no big deal. It's not about what they think. It's about what I want, right? Well ok, then if I look long and hard at what I want, I realize that dual sides of my personality are battling once again. I want to stay home and watch my son change (yesterday he rolled over and giggled for the first time, all in one day!) and be this calm, relaxed, happy person that I've been for the past two months. But, at the same time, it terrifies me to quit working, even for a short time. Because, will I fall behind? Will I get hired again? Am I letting down my current job? Am I letting down myself? Am I letting down our future by not bringing in my income? And mostly, most important of all, will I resent my new role? Because, I love staying home. But I could see that I would begin to chafe against it and feel the need to go back to work.

Argh, I am just rambling here. Basically, my mind is spinning at the fact that we are going to walk away from the life we are currently living - a life that is very good, stable, and happy - for the possibility of a different, better life. And in doing so, I am going to shift my identity - for a little while - into something new. The part of me that loves changing is charging forward into this new life. But my logical side is holding back and wondering if I am making a irresponsible decision.

Whew. Advice? Thoughts? Have you ever made a huge decision in the hopes of a better life? Do you tend to lean more towards logic or emotion when you make your decisions? Am I making a mistake in my career to chase a dream? Any input is appreciated.


  1. "May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears." - Nelson Mandela

    I just came across that quote the other day and reading this post, it popped into my head.

    I would say this, don't make any decisions based on what anybody else thinks. Sure there may be a chorus of "I told you so's," who cares. They did tell you so. They were right. Move on.

    It sounds like there are some really, really GREAT reasons to move to San Diego. It sounds like the only reason not to move to San Diego is fear. Don't let fear bully your into doing something that could be amazing.

    As far as your job is concerned, making this step does not predetermine any future choices about your professional life. If you want to find something else again, you most probably will. If you want to try out being a SAHM, and you are lucky enough to have that opportunity, then do it. Give it a try. If you end up wanting to return to work in some capacity, know that you will probably be able to do that. It might not happen on exactly the timetable you want, or in exactly the way you want, but it will happen. I do know a lot of women who have had a hard time returning to the work force after being out for a long time, but I'm talking years and years. And even with it being hard, few of them regretted the time at home. And they all eventually found something. So do what you want to do. You are SO SO LUCKY that you have choices. So many women don't. So make those choices with hope in your heart, not fear.

    Also, California burritos!!!! Enough said.

    Good luck!

  2. Oh thank you thank you! Such good advice about not basing my decision out of fear (love the Nelson Mamdela quote). I know that I am lucky to have this decision to make. Especially because it wasn't an option before and now it is falling into my lap. And I think, once I can get past the fear, I will appreciate how lucky I am.

  3. I used to love my job back east and it was SO hard for me to leave and move to the prairies with my husband, even though I knew it made the most sense. I used to read a little book of Paulo Coelho quotes everyday to help me be sure I was making the right decision. It really helped.

    I know you are like me in that we love adventure and new beginnings. I really wouldn't worry about never returning to work or losing your identity as a Psychologist. As you know, Canadians take a year off work and then go back. I'm sure by then I will be totally ready to be back in the workforce and I will be happy to have been able to spend time with baby girl.

    I'm sure things will fall into place for you. This is exciting news!

  4. I am a huge fan of trusting your gut over your rational brain. I read this article a while back that really had a huge impact on me, and I think it totally applies here:

    My husband and I left LA for Austin 5 years ago, and it was the best decision we ever made. Our lives are leaps and bound better and less stressful in pretty much every way, except I'm far from my family.

    Sounds like San Diego is a great move for you guys, I'm so excited for you! And remember that nothing is forever. If you don't like staying home, you can get a new job. Good luck, woman!

  5. This line struck me: "I will have to go back to work to wrap things up and listen to their "I told you so" chorus."

    Sounds like some of what you are feeling now is based on the reaction you may get from other people. If this is the path that is best for your family, don't worry about what other people may think! I'm excited for this opportunity for you and I think that treating it as a trial run is a great perspective. How wonderful that B's work is flexible enough for you to try this and that you have a career that allows you to practice anywhere! This is a very exciting time for you all and I can't wait to hear more!

  6. Do it! If in a few months you decide that you no longer want to be a SAHM then you can go searching for a job....but you never know until you try and who wouldn't want more time with their kid?? Plus San Diego is awesome!

  7. Esperanza's comment is great. Your coworkers did tell you so, and that's totally fine. If you let that factor into your decision, then you'd be returning to work in part to spite them, and that's just silly. It sounds like you know what the best decision for your family and happiness is, and you just need the reassurance that it's okay. I say go for it! I've never regretted a well-thought-out decision that I made based on happiness, even when it wound up not being the final path for me.

  8. I second Non Sequitur it!! It can be a little tricky to deal with the "I told you so's" but oh so worth it!!

  9. I will echo what everyone else said, and also add that I never saw myself as a stay-at-home mom, but that's what I am now, as I decided to take a year off from work... except now I find myself freelancing a few hours a week as well. It sounds like an amazing opportunity, and your career will always be there for you. If you want to go back to work at some point, you absolutely will find a way to do it, even if it's not in a way you imagine it to be now.

    Also, I lived in Carlsbad for a few years before moving back east, so let me know if you want to chat about that. :)

  10. Sounds like a no-brainer to me! (I guess that's easy for me to say all the way over here with no consequences whatsoever, ha). But I would take the opportunity to move. A slower pace, a bigger space, more time with your son... I mean, come on. Who cares about the "I told you so" people. If it was feasible for me to not go back to work (or delay it for awhile), I totally would. You're right, you'll never get this time back, so enjoy it! Plus, you're renting. You can always move back if you really, really hate it (that's what I told a friend while trying to convince her to take a dream job opportunity in Boston and five years later, she's still there. Just saying).

  11. Do it!!! This sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime.

    You will go back to work. But you will never get back the extra time with your boy if you go back to work now.

  12. I say.....DO IT!!!! This is an opportunity of a life time and I have learned very quickly within this past week that sometimes things happen for a reason! I agree you will never get this time again and who cares about what people say! Enjoy it :)


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