Very rarely do I write about writing. If I haven't posted anything here in a while, I figure that it's my blog, and I can write when and what I want to write. I find posts about why people haven't posted extremely boring, because I don't see any reason to make excuses about why you haven't written in a space you choose to write in or not. We are all busy. It happens. Move on.
But again, it's my blog, and I can write what I want to write, and so I will.
I haven't been able to write here for some time now, because I was too conflicted.
I took a job back in the Mitten because ending up back there, someday, seemed inevitable, and why not now? I have a little niece and nephew to play with, and another of one or the other on the way. My parents are still young and mostly healthy. I was dating someone there. I got a job there. I was working so many hours in Gone West that it seemed to make sense to move now.
But then I went home for Christmas. The dating situation evaporated. I realized that the only people I know in that town are my family. Family is great, but I can't build my entire social life on them unless I want them to continue to be the only people I know, which means no other friends and no dating prospects.
I moved to Gone West six years ago because I couldn't keep starting over and over and over the way my kind of international work required. I intended to stay in Gone West. Forever.
But then there were no jobs during the recession, and I moved to Universe City so that I could do the work I wanted to do. I didn't know anyone there. I started over.
Then I moved back to Gone West, even though many of my friends had moved away. I started over.
Moving back to the Mitten meant starting over again, for the third time in four years, the fourth time in six years, the - what, ninth? - time in 12 years.
I knew that I didn't want to go. I knew it through and through, but I convinced myself that it was my only real option, and so I got in my car and I went.
I left most of my belongings in Gone West, a security blanket telling me that I could come back. Just give it the summer, I told myself. Think of it like an internship.
But I kept finding reasons not to arrive. I spent six days on the road getting to the Mitten. I dallied with my sister in Mountain State. When I could have gone on to my parents' house, I stopped with friends in the Windy City. I stopped at an outlet mall just outside the state line.
And when I couldn't delay anymore, I sat in a parking lot one state over, unable to drive forward. "We'll find a way for you to go back right away," my sister promised me when I called her. "We'll find the money. Just go drop off some things at Mom and Dad's, spend the weekend with them, and we'll find a way for you to go back."
When I got to my parents' house, I sat out in the driveway, unable to go in. It wasn't until my mom came out and found me that I could get out of the car.
The only thing that made sense was to stay - I'd spent nearly all my savings (save retirement accounts) to get there.
But I couldn't stay. I couldn't start over again so soon.
It took me three days of driving (plus a day of weather delay in the Plains hanging out with some old Gone West friends) to get back to Gone West. I had to hold myself back from pushing on the accelerator harder and harder as I got close. (Admittedly, the speed limit is also lower here than in some other states *cough - Utah - cough*.)
I cried when I crossed the county line into Gone West's county, because I thought I'd lost all of this. I thought I had let it go. For something I value very deeply, yes, but lost it all the same.
I still don't know for sure if I made the right decision. I'm still crying about it as I write. I wanted to be near my family. I still want that. I want to spend holidays with them - not just the big ones, but Mother's and Fathers Days, and the Fourth of July, and everything in between. I can't do that from here.
I have no money, not even enough to pay a month of rent. I can't afford to eat, but I have to do it anyway. There are a lot of lentils and rice in my future.
I don't have a job here. Tomorrow is Monday, and I'm going to get up without a job, and I'm going to go look for one. I'm not a person who likes not having a job. I like purpose. I like structure to my days. In a way, I'm starting over again anyway.
Everything is uncertain, and I'm not sure what the ending will be. I'm trying to remind myself that, as terrifying as this is right now, it will be only a footnote, if that, in the story of my life. I'm trying to remind myself that I moved here without a job or a professional network in 2007.
I've learned some very important things. Among them is that I probably will end up back in the Mitten, but I have to be sure that I'm ready before I go, that I'm not just letting it happen. Another is (AGAIN - thought I'd learned this in 2007) that it isn't healthy to start over and over in too rapid a succession. Another is that you shouldn't move if it is even the slightest bit for a boy, especially the classic "I will put in no effort" sort of North American boy that makes all of us women crazy, especially if mostly you just felt like it was time for you to give up on all the qualities you really hoped your guy would have and settle for this one. Another is to save more money. Another is not to throw away all those clothes hangers or the drying rack (you'll regret it).
"This [moving back] is the most irresponsible thing I've ever done," I told my mom.
"If this is the most irresponsible thing you've ever done," she said, "you're doing pretty well."
Let's hope that turns out to be true.