“just when I thought I was out…”

Okay, maybe I’m over-stating things a little. But…

Roughly 12 hours ago — 12! — a friend texted me “Haven’t seen anything on your imminent future. What’s up w/that? Do I need to prepare for any bombs to drop?”

I was nonchalant, saying something to the effect that we could move in “six to nine months, just like I’ve been saying for the past two years.”

I really have been believing that. Early last week, two corporations made some news public, news that reflects the reason that we didn’t move to Europe a year and a half ago. It’s news that sets a new timeline of sorts: sometime in the first half of 2014.

So my “six to nine months” expectation seems pretty reasonable. We have a sense of where we’ll head next–it will likely be back up north, though a little further north than I’d expected… where there are four distinct seasons with trees that change colors and with ground that sees snow… where houses have basements. I miss these things. I like the idea of them. So do the kids. So does my husband.

Six to nine months. That seems like an eternity. No need to succumb to my hyperactive desire to anticipate and scope out and predict and line everything up for our next move, all within days. I can take my time, live in the moment, stop and smell the roses, etc.

But “just when I thought I was out,” new pieces of information “pull me back in” to that frenetic, planning-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life-now-and-I-mean-now place.

This morning, as my husband was leaving for work, he casually mentioned that his boss said yesterday, “I haven’t heard anything new or specific about your trajectory, but if I’m asked, do you have a preference for when you want to move? Let me know…”

Now, my husband and I had already agreed that we’d move whenever it was best for the company to move us. It seemed (to me) silly at this point to say, “we want to move in Month X.” Silly, because over the last 18 months I have lost my trust in expected timelines and have ceded most control to circumstances. Somebody says “three months” and I multiply it by three to accommodate the current pattern of reality.

But this morning, learning that his boss asked him the question? It elevated things. It changed the pattern. Something turned on. No, not something. EVERYthing. My husband said words like “Thanksgiving,” and “Christmas” and “Spring Break,” as potential move dates that wouldn’t bother us. That’s three to six months, not six to nine months.

I was still in bed when my husband told me all this. I put my glasses on, grabbed my phone, and started researching academic calendars in the school district we’ll likely move to. (When I say “likely” I mean “maybe but who the heck really knows anymore.”) I determined when that potential future state of residence administers its standardized tests of third graders. And now, I’m re-subscribing to my little real estate alerts about homes for sale in cities X, Y, and Z. And soon, I imagine I’ll be online looking at houses, and communities, and commute times. I’ll start browsing online for clothes for cooler climates. Why? Why do I do this to myself? My husband just posed one question, on his way to work this morning. He’s not shifting into overdrive. Why am I?

It’s so stupid.

Or maybe it’s not. Is it really a good idea to try to be somebody I’m not — a relaxed, let’s-see-what-happens, everything-will-work-out type of person? I think, given the ups and downs of the past months with regard to where exactly we’ll be living, I’ve convinced myself that I need to be that person. I’ve convinced myself that if I had been that person, uncertainty would bother me less.

But why should I strive to be “unbothered?” This whole thing has been a little bothersome, after all. When your life’s short-term trajectory depends on the will and needs of a corporation that puts food on your table, and when that corporation demands so much time from your husband that he doesn’t have the time or energy to shift into planning overdrive, there’s no shame–in fact there’s great benefit–in being who I am.

A corporate wife who needs to relocate a family rather regularly, trailing her spouse? She needs to be a planner, a seer of contingencies. She needs to make changes to routine seem routine. She can’t leave that part of herself behind. It’s the way she needs to be.

“They pull me back in.” I never really left. In fact, I think I liked being there.

7 thoughts on ““just when I thought I was out…”

  1. You can probably count on chaos and confusion when relocation becomes a concrete reality. And it will be your job to handle it with poise, minimizing the disruption to your family and maximizing your husband’s chances of making it successful career-wise. If there is anyone up to those tasks, it is you!

  2. Like so much in life. You plan, plan, plan, but external events are unpredictable, both in terms of what they will be and when they will occur. We might face the “R” word someday, but it’s not on the horizon now.

    1. We’ve had it pretty good–my husband’s company has relocated us twice now out of the three times we’ve moved. Professional packers are key. I’ve also learned that it pays (in terms of time, move-related stress) to keep your home as if a stranger is about to walk in at any moment, looking to buy it. But I swear, our home is still cozy and lived-in! 😉

      1. Easy for me. I’m a neat freak. My wife teases me that we don’t have anything ever lying around.

        We spoke a little about relocation (really in the abstract) when we decided that I’d stay home. Truth is, I’d be afraid of it. I’d have no support network (not that I have a big one now, but at least I have one) and it would even harder to re-start a career if I wanted to do so. On the other hand, there could be huge benefits to my wife’s career, big promotions, all that.

      2. When we relocated to our current hometown, I left the support network I had (sister and her family, friends) as well as all of my professional network. Built a new network pretty quickly, thanks largely to social media as well as in-person contact at the public school and in our community as a volunteer. It surprised me — I almost feel more connected here than I did where I had a blood relative! (Almost, but not quite.)

  3. Thanks for that comment. It gives me hope that when/if we relocate, the transition will be less painful than I fear.

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