I’ve come to a point in my life where I don’t know if things will ever not be “crazy”.
I think once true adulthood is reached – where you’re living on your own, either going to school and working, working full time, or taking care of a family, or a combination of those things (I hope you liked my oversimplified definition of adulthood…) – life is a non-stop “crazy” rollercoaster. There are lulls where things mellow out and you fall into a routine, but unexpected things will always pop up out of nowhere and knock you off your feet for a bit.
In college, I used to think I had it rough, and had too much to do, but in retrospect, that couldn’t be further from the truth. As a graduate student at WSU, I worked as a graduate assistant 20 hours per week, and had lecture just twice a week. Granted, they were three-hour evening lectures, and with a hangover (or occasionally being dropped off for class by a friend while slightly inebriated), it was often difficult to maintain focus when talking about some management theory or marketing practice at 9pm on a “Thirsty Thursday”. Nonetheless, I made it through successfully, with high grades to boot.
Through all that, in retrospect, I had a ton of free time. I was broke – and probably should have gotten a second job to keep me away from partying and the “magic dragon” a little more – but I always had enough money for rent, bills, food, and booze.
Today, things couldn’t be more different.
I’ve now got a good job at WSU, and I make a lot more than I did as a graduate assistant, but it seems that I still struggle to make ends meet with rising expenses. I also seem to have less time than ever before when I factor in my job, writing, trying to get outdoors on the weekends, other community involvement, taking care of our puppy, and of course, spending time with the lovely Miss Amber.
I couldn’t even imagine how much crazier things would be if Amber and I had kids. Serious sacrifices would have to be made, and I’m glad that at this point in our lives Amber and I, as career-driven people, are on the same page in the sense that we don’t currently want to make those sacrifices just yet. So, no plans for kids in the near future.
Through all this, and being raised in a progress-driven society, I want to take that next step. I want more from life, and more from the work I put into my life, and I want to be able to do things and live a certain lifestyle that I currently cannot. That’s not to say I’m not appreciative of the things in my life that I do have, it just means I want to take that next step, and continue progressing.
This desire for progress causes me to keep my eyes open for other opportunities, and while I am not going to get into the details, Amber and I recently nearly made a huge change in our lives. An opportunity arose where a decision needed to be made, and the result of that decision would have either kept us here on the Palouse, or we would have been packing our bags for Bellingham, Washington.
In the end, after lots of deliberation, we decided we wanted to stay on the Palouse. Both of us have good things going where we currently are, and there was no desperation involved in “needing” to move to be able to survive and pay the bills. The opportunity was a good one, and I turned down a lot of money to stay here, but in the long run, I think it was the right decision.
Over the last few days I’ve reflected on the events of the past few weeks, and the insane, stress-inducing, anxiety-filled days and nights of not knowing what was going to happen, and where I might be living a month from now. In that process, there were a few major takeaways I gleaned from it all. Here they are:
It’s nice to know you’re wanted
Even if you’re happy where you are, it’s nice to know that others find value in the work you’ve done, and the person you are. Where I currently am, I know I’m highly valued, but these people work with me day in and day out, and have a first-hand look at my work ethic, so there’s little question in their mind of what to expect from me. Others can only go off of what others say about me, what my resume says, and how I try to sell myself. So, ultimately, it’s good to know that others recognize my value elsewhere, and it bodes well for the future.
The grass isn’t always greener
We’ve all heard this saying before, and while it’s a major cliché, it also bears a lot of truth. In the case of this opportunity, we visited Bellingham and both really liked the experience. As outdoorsy people with a great love for the mountains, it was certainly a great fit for us geographically, being surrounded by forest covered mountains, Mt. Baker, and the rest of the North Cascades. The money being offered was also very good, much more than I’ve ever made before. All that made for a very difficult decision, but in the end, after considering everything thoroughly, it wasn’t a good fit for our personal happiness, and I have little doubt in my mind that I made the right decision in declining the opportunity.
You shouldn’t make big decisions alone
This one was huge. As a single man two years ago I may have made a different decision, and I wouldn’t have had as many things to consider when it came to moving across the state. However, with Amber in my life, there was a lot more to consider, and I relied on her a lot through the decision-making process. It was a decision that would affect both of our lives, and while Amber was very open to the idea of experiencing something new – after growing up on the Palouse – she also has a ton of her own connections she had to consider, particularly with her job, which she loves dearly. We had a lot of stress-filled nights and conversations, and a few minor arguments, but in the end all the talking and freaking-out led us to a good place, and a mutual decision to stay put for the foreseeable future.
You can’t predict the future
No matter what decisions you make in your life, particularly the big ones, there’s no way to know exactly what the outcomes will be, and if they turn out to be the right decision or not. It’s very easy to get fixated on the future, and constantly worry about the future. But ultimately, there will always be major unknowns in our lives, and it doesn’t help us at all to dwell on the unknowns. The important thing to do is look at what’s in front of you, keep the future in the back of your mind as a consideration, and do our best to consider all the factors and make our best educated guess as to what the right decision will be. In this case, I think we made the right decision, but again, there’s no way to know for sure if moving would have been better, and ultimately, it won’t do any good to dwell on that. So for now, my focus is on the Palouse, and I won’t be worrying about Bellingham and what “could have been”.
With all that being said, Amber and I are happy to be staying on the Palouse, on the doorstep of the Rocky Mountains, and will take this opportunity to soak in more of what the Inland Northwest has to offer. While I am drawn strongly to the striking beauty of the Cascades, the vast wilderness of the Rockies still does, and always will, have my heart.
On this snow-covered February day in Moscow, I look forward to another breathtaking spring on the Palouse, and I hope all of you have a wonderful second-half of the week.
P.S. – Happy Valentine’s Day to the beautiful Miss Amber Sage! I love you!