When I woke up this morning, my first thought had nothing to do with being excited to start a new job. It's a great job, it's an exciting opportunity, and I feel so very lucky to have been chosen for the position. In the midst of the biggest recession to ever hit California, I was one of the lucky few to have been lifted from the middle of the implosion, and dropped ever so delicately in this place called Texas. I landed well. For those of you who don't know, there is this little place right in the middle of Texasland called Austin. It's a fun, funky, cool, weird, and hip little town where the jobs are plenty and I can buy a house for the price of a modest California condo.
As I pulled the covers back over my head, my thoughts had nothing to do with how lucky I was. Instead, I closed my eyes and wished for California. I wished for my family. I wished for my postage stamp size front yard and my house that looks identical to my neighbors. I wished for my all consuming, stress-filled job, working for a dysfunctional company that got swallowed up whole amid foreclosures and short-sales.
How did I get here? I vaguely remember the interview, the offer, and the discussions with my husband. Were we really "those" people? The ones who actually picked up and moved halfway across country for the simple life? I don't know anyone in California that didn't think about it every once in awhile. Entertaining the fantasy for a quick minute. My friend Rachel had Oregon on her mind. She used to tell me that she and her husband would lay in bed at night and talk about just saying to hell with it all and moving away to start fresh. We would laugh and say "maybe someday".
I never really thought we would go through with it. When my dad found out that I was moving an hour's drive away to San Diego when I got married - we didn't know if he would show up to the wedding. All of the pictures I have with him from that day show his very evident displeasure. It's been eleven years and I still think he secretly holds a grudge against my husband for "taking his grandkids away". It never occurred to me that the perfect storm was brewing in my life and I would need to tell him we would be moving his grandkids 22 hours away.
The one thing that is still very clear, is the moment I emailed my acceptance of the job offer. I held my breath, I closed my eyes, and I pressed the send button. From that moment on, I didn't have time to think, or feel, or worry. Just do. I had less than 30 days to move a family of five to Texas. I had to tell a 16 year old girl she would not be finishing her Junior year in California. I had to tell a 7 year old that she would have to say good-bye to her brand new best friend. I would have to figure out a way to explain to my two year old that mommy would be traveling for awhile. Most importantly - I had to spend every free moment in my husband's arms to try to make up for the weeks we would be spending apart.
Today, the first day of my brand new job, all of the feelings I have been too busy to deal with came rushing at me all at once. How did I get here? What if I hate it? What if my new boss is worse than my old boss? What if they hate me? What if the distance puts a strain on my marriage? What if I fail?
In that moment, the tears began to fall. The air felt as though it was sucked from the room as I tried to catch my breath. I cried until I was too tired to cry any longer. I cried until I felt numb.
Then finally, I did the only thing I knew how to do - I put on my best suit and perfect make-up, flashed my best smile, and told every single person I met today how happy I was to finally be in the beautiful city of Austin. Maybe if I say it enough, it will be true.