You know that old Yiddish expression that translated means “Man plans, God laughs?”
Well God ha ha ha’d at us big time. I mean, really, really big.
A few years ago, my husband and I decided to downsize from our family home, where we had raised our children and lived for 24 years, to a cozy little beach house where we could hear the surf rolling in at night and walk 3 blocks to dinner at a variety of restaurants (with, I have to say, a high percentage of them being Mediterranean food). We settled in and assumed that, unless something happened, we would be in that house for a long time.
It felt good to be living in that house. Our son lives only 3 blocks away, and our daughter is only a 45 minute drive up the freeway, assuming there’s no traffic (but there’s always traffic). My mother and her husband are not too far, though far enough that we have to plan. And our friends – friends we’ve had for 20 plus years, friends we love, who know us probably too well and who we know in much the same way – they mostly all live within 5 miles of that sweet little beach house. So we were happy, content, and fully enjoying life in our empty nest.
Except my husband’s job was making him crazy. Like, making me worried, making him crazy. On a trip to France last July, he could barely sleep, he was so worried about what was going on at work. And then, a week after we got home, something happened.
And so, for 5 months, my husband and I lived together in our cozy little beach house, while he worked 10 hours a day to find a new position. Some days I stayed out of his way as much as possible, writing and working and searching Zillow every time he had another interview in another city.
Indianapolis! Dallas! Columbus, Ohio! New Britain, Connecticut! Corona, California! Even Schofield, Wisconsin – which, no offense to anyone who lives around there, was just never, ever going to happen. Too remote and way too cold.
I am certain that you could not find someone more driven to find a new job than my husband was. His tenacity, his patience, his commitment – well, I may sound a little braggy, but I was impressed. Very, very impressed. And even though we were both anxious and stressed out and worried, and even terrified, we were ok. The two of us, we were fine. In fact, we were better than fine – we were in it together, and we were stronger that way.
I cheered him on as he flew across the country to places where I had no desire to live for interviews for jobs that sounded promising. I waited anxiously for the distinctive ring of his cell phone, waiting for news – good or bad – so we could either stay enthused or move on. I stayed positive, and so did he – except when we didn’t. Which, fortunately, was rarely at the same time. Somehow we managed to boost each other up at our lowest moments when we had no idea what the future would bring. I suggested retirement and a condo in Palm Springs, but he was adamantly and defiantly opposed to that.
“I’m not ready to retire!” he said, again and again. And after a while, I realized it would most certainly be the worst thing for him. He is a man who needs to do things. He needs a place to go and a goal to meet. And truly, those are some of the best things about him. So the condo in the desert was out.
And then he found a job. Not just a job though, but the right job, with the right opportunities, a job that made him excited about working, and ready for the huge challenges that go along with the position. And 5 months to the day that something happened, something better happened, and a contract was signed and we were ready for a new adventure.
The only catch: the job is in Washington State.
Away from the beach, the house, the family, the friends, the sound of the ocean and the many Mediterranean restaurants. Away from the plans that God laughed at and tossed into the air like so much confetti and sparkles. Away from everything we knew to start all over in a place we are not familiar with where it rains – a lot – and we don’t quite know how we will walk our dog in the wet weather and how will we make friends and we don’t know how to get anywhere yet and what will happen next…but we are ready.
We kept the cozy house at the beach. It’s still ours, and I can go there whenever I want. Because even if “Man plans and God laughs,” the house will be there. That was my only request – aside from not moving to Schofield, Wisconsin.
Update: We returned to Long Beach a few months after moving to Seattle. It was not a good fit in any way. We are so happy!