I caught the tail end of the science fair at the kid’s school last night. I wasn’t in the mood to go out in the rain on a Friday evening, but I’m glad I did because I ran into a friend who was there supporting his son’s project.
We began talking about work because that’s what men talk about. But the conversation quickly diverted to other topics I’m seldom prepared to discuss outside of technology. Yet that’s why I intentionally seek out this person because our discussions are never boring, and he pushes me in directions that are occasionally uncomfortable. And it’s on those edges of discomfort where I tend to learn the most.
At one point in our conversation I explained how I don’t like to stay in the same area for more than a few years. In less than a year we moved from Seattle to Ogden to St. George and back to Seattle where we’ve stayed put for the past five years.
That’s when my friend said, “I know the feeling. Yet everything is working here right now.”
I left the science fair with my son. He held my hand as we walked across the now dark parking lot. I felt as though I was dragging him and turned to give him a “let’s get moving” tug, when I noticed he’d tilted his head towards the sky and was attempting to catch raindrops with his tongue.
As I drove home I thought about his words: everything is working here now. I was not expecting to hear them. They certainly couldn’t apply to me.
Or could they?
One reason I have a difficult time believing this is the area where we’re supposed to be is because so little thought and research was given to our initial decision to move here. When people ask how we ended up in Auburn I tell them I worked in Seattle at the time we were looking for a home, and liked the idea of being able to commute into town by train.
That’s it. The job in Seattle and easy commute lasted two years.
It’s easy to be swayed by real estate agents preaching the value of school scores, crime statistics and all sorts of various metrics used to help support your decision to live in one neighborhood versus another. There have been times when I thought, “If I could live in (whatever city) I’d be happy.”
We’ve lived in enough cities to know that’s seldom true.
I wish our backyard and driveway were not built on an incline. I wish our neighborhood were home to more families, and I don’t love living on a hill where frequent late-night helicopter drills are performed.
But I love the twisty road that winds up the hill to our home and how my car devours it in 3rd gear. I like living at the end of a cul-de-sac where my children can safely create art with sidewalk chalk, and where I can play basketball without interruption from passing cars.
What I enjoy most about the area are the friendships I’ve made. From the friend who brings us BBQ and fresh cinnamon rolls to the neighbor who wakes me at 5:45 am to play basketball. Or the neighbor who filled up our van today after borrowing and driving it less than five miles when his car broke down leaving his wife stranded.
And, of course, the friend I met up with last night who is a middle school principal. Despite our contrasting backgrounds, we’ve become good friends. He’s introduced me to a number of books and movies along with some music that I’ve enjoyed. Given my background in technology, I assumed we had little in common. I’m glad I turned out to be wrong.
I doubt I’ll ever feel entirely settled. The idea of remaining in one area working at the same job does not sound appealing to me in the least. But right now, it feels like the right decision to embrace a modicum of stability and familiarity. I imagine that will benefit not only me but my children as well.
Given that my job runs out in less than two months, I expect to feel anything but secure. As strange as it feels to write these words, I do feel secure, although I can’t explain why. But I believe it has something to do with the the neighbors, friends and family who’ve provided words of encouragement over the last couple of difficult months.
Maybe not everything, but a lot is working right now.
And that could be enough keep us around. Raindrops and all.