I moved around a lot growing up. When I tell people that, they ask if my dad was in the military and I say, “No, just lucky.” We moved many times and then stayed put for a while that let me stay in the same place in middle school and high school. Then my parents moved again. Then I went to college and grad school, which included 5 different apartments in 7 years. Then there was my move outside of Houston, my move to Atlanta, 2 other apartments in Atlanta, and I’m now on my 3rd apartment in Boston. I’ve moved a lot. I’ve always thought of myself at being pretty good at moving.
We’re moving next month, something I figured would happen eventually but was not expecting to happen this soon. To answer the basic questions: we’ll be in North Carolina. I am staying at my job but switching to remote. My ex has a job offer there, and if we leave the area we have to both agree to it. Financially, this is a very big step forward to me, both due to lower cost of living, and parts of our divorce agreement that will kick in and mean I have less financial obligations each month. It seems like a place where we can stay long term. So that’s the story.
There are lots of things I’m looking forward to. I will actually be in a solid financial position for the first time since I’ve been single. (Technically things were never really that solid financially for me in my adult life, even when we had easier times while married, those periods were short and spent paying down debt.) I’ve been working for that a long time and I kind of can’t believe it’s actually happening. I’m not sure what people actually do when they have some money. I’ll be enjoying the new world of not accumulating debt, building savings, starting college funds, and actually maybe even taking a vacation.
And Boston keeps giving me reasons to be happy to go. No more Boston winters! The crazy drivers, the traffic, the lack of central air, the high cost of living.
But as this starts to become more of a reality and less of a theoretical idea, I am not feeling a lot of excitement or positivity. For all my ideas of myself as someone who’s good at moving, now that I’m an adult with two kids and everything that goes with that, I am exhausted by the physical logistics of moving. I haven’t even finished unpacking from my last move, which I guess is a plus? But I still haven’t forgotten the work and exhaustion that came with the last move only a few months ago. And another round of apartment hunting feels like it’s happening way too soon as well.
Mostly, though, I drive around Boston, I take the T, I feel like things are familiar. I realize that I have done a lot in my 6 years. I have gotten to know the city really well, and not just the neighborhoods I live in. I am realizing how long it will take until I feel comfortable again the way I do now.
I remember the first year in Boston, before cell phones gave driving directions, how lost and frustrated and alone I felt all the time. It will be easier now because I have a job and I don’t have a cranky toddler and I have a bunch of places on the internet full of friends. But I seem to be missing that excitement and adrenaline I would feel in a new city.
Part of this is surely the complexity of having to move two households, which means more communication with my ex. Moving for someone else’s job and not mine (this is the 3rd city in a row where I am going for another person’s career) sucks, and even if my career will be in better shape this time, there’s the lack of autonomy that hurts. Then there’s the concerns about how things will go for the kids in new schools. There’s the loneliness of working at home full-time. Oh, and let’s not forget that our new state passed a law that’s hostile to the LGBT community while the state I live in now just passed a bill protecting gender identity in public accommodations and has officially instituted sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes for years. I don’t mind so much going from one political climate to another, that’s not unusual for me, but moving to a place that is actively trying to legislate against my sexual orientation is new. And as a single and dating person, it will definitely have an impact on my life.
There is a lot to do. The thought of all the work ahead makes me tired. Leaving friends makes me sad. And I’m not yet feeling very peppy about all of it, even though I feel like this is a good decision for us. It has been a long summer, I’ve been tired for a lot of it, and I’m hoping the general fatigue will pass, I’ll start getting ready, and everything will come together.
I didn’t really mean for this to be such a melancholy post. But as I’m processing all of this, that is where I’m at today in particular. I know there will be days ahead where things are fun and exciting. And at the very least I get a private road trip down the east coast, which I am oddly looking forward to.
I’ve got about 6 weeks left to enjoy all the things I love about Boston (including at least one apple-picking trip) and get a chance to say goodbye. So much has happened to me here, it feels like I may be leaving a few chapters of my life behind. I think it may even be the final page of this divorce chapter. There’s been a lot of struggle and a lot of accomplishment, but it has started to feel this year that things are taking on a new character. My life feels more my own than it ever has. And this may be the final piece that makes things really start taking off. I hope it is.