The Itch

I’ve been walking around in kind of a haze. It’s been like this for about a week and a half now. I got back from San Francisco and was thrust back in to my everyday life. Back to being a dad. Back to being a husband. Back to being a worker. Not that any of that is bad, mind you. As I’ve said before, I love my kids, my wife, and my job. It’s just that a week away from it was a very nice (and needed) breather.

This has happened to me before, though. Back in the 2004/2005 timeframe, I was beginning to see the end of my time at GTRI (Georgia Tech Research Institute) and was actively looking for another position. It just so happened that, around the same time, Jayme started to make some good friends in Chicago. We made a couple of trips up there and I immediately fell in like with the city. I started to look for positions in and around the city. We even sat down and looked for neighborhoods we’d want to live in if I were to get some interest in my job hunt.

Luckily, as it turns out, nothing ever came of that and about 6 months later, I was offered my current position at Romanoff. It certainly scared my family, though. Especially my mother. Caroline was born in late 2004 and couldn’t have been more than a year old when all of this was going on. Now that my mother had her first grandchild, she was not happy with the thought of us moving to Chicago, where she would only be able to see her sparingly (in all probability, only on holidays). I think this scared her more than anything. After all, her family (with the exception of her brother) had never lived outside a 200-mile radius of where they were born in Columbus.

Thinking back to that time now, certain questions keep rolling around in my mind. Why did we go to those lengths? Did we actually think we were going to move there? What if I had gotten a job offer from someone there? Would I have taken it? Would I really move 750 miles away from anything I’d ever known? I was 24 years old at the time. Nothing had me anchored (securely, at least) to Atlanta. Jayme was still writing her dissertation, so she didn’t have a job here. We could go anywhere we wanted. Start a life (and family) in Chicago and be perfectly happy.

I think a lot of what I was feeling back then relates to what I’m feeling right now. It’s the “What if?” possibility.
What if we could move out to the west coast? It’s not like this notion is foreign to Jayme and I at all. I mean, we did live in France for about a year. We’ve visited the west coast more than once and even have several friends out there. The weather is (obviously) beautiful. The cultural norms seem to fit us a bit better. Who/what says we have to live in the southeast? Why can’t we be those transplants that everyone talks about?

I certainly realize that a lot of this comes from the somewhat rose-colored outlook I had (and still have) when I came back from San Francisco. I spent 7 days where I did not have to deal with the true realities of life. I was by myself, experiencing the city with no constraints or responsibilities. I’m certainly not naive to the fact that if this were to become a real possibility that A LOT of questions would have to be answered. Let’s face it. My life is very different from what it was in 2005. I have a job which I’m happy in. Jayme has a job that she’s happy with. Both of my kids are school age now. The areas of my life, of our life, would have to be considered with much more care.

And yet, that possibility is still a very powerful drug. It’s the challenge of trying something new and exciting. It’s learning to live again in a new place with new people in new surroundings. It’s rekindling the adventurous nature we experienced (what seems like now) so long ago when we explored Europe from our home base in Paris. Just thinking about now has my heart beating a little faster, my nerves a little on edge. Rightly or wrongly, that kind of anticipation, that kind of wonder, doesn’t happen too often anymore. I miss it.

Like I said, it feels like I’m in a haze…


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