On Taking a Knee

Originally written November 27, 2011.


I don’t know where to start, really. If I start at the beginning, I start with everything we tried for, were turned down for and were unwilling to take.

D might say the beginning was deciding to go to law school instead of pursuing something else. I might say the beginning was taking a job that, I realized too late, wasn’t a great fit for me.

However, it is D who has shouldered the most disappointment in the last year. To his credit, he has taken every one of these instances with dignity.

In between the disappointments, there has been hoping, wishing and a boat load of expectations. There has been new experiences, floating apart and coming together.

Most significantly, there has been a retooling of attitudes and recalibrating of personal and family goals. For me, there has been learning to say yes instead of no, and acknowledging the things that are good not just for the present us, but the us we want to be.

So, yeah. I initially shut the door — slammed it shut, really — on the idea of this move. The first conversation lasted a couple of minutes. I got that choked up, elephant-standing-on-chest feeling that I always do when it comes to something big.

But I slept on it. Did some research. Realized how much we’d get to see our families (and that I was excited about that) and what it could mean to become a part of a small yet innovative community.

And, as it turned out, D seemed genuinely interested in the job — which at this point in our professional lives, is really tantamount to none.

As the interview process began, I found myself getting excited about the possibilities — we both did. I had to continually put my hopes in check and I was so superstitious that I didn’t tell anyone.

In the interim, we discussed what would happen if the job didn’t pan out. I rewrote my resume and hired someone to redesign my portfolio. We’d stay in DC until something better came up. We’d get a dog because we have f’ing wanted one forever. We’d consider moving to a bigger space possibly outside the city so that we were settled by the time we wanted to start a family.

The suburban scenario didn’t fit our picture of ideal, but frankly, it felt like it was time to work with whatever we had to construct the happiest, most fulfilling lives we could.

While we were on vacation, D got his offer. He had beat out four other candidates and the runner up was “devastated” not to land the position. It was his 32nd birthday and were on a rooftop in Barcelona saying, “Holy shit. We’re moving to Omaha.

You might not have expected that reaction after all the hoping. And we were born and raised in the Midwest, afterall. And we can tell by the reactions of east coasters that moving back to the Midwest does not appear sexy or risky — it appears like we are taking a knee.

But DC is home for us. It’s where we’ve had successful careers and built great friendships. As our friend Tim said the other night, “I totally get it. Between Colorado and DC, you’ve had the opportunities and advantages of a bigger city and living in a small Midwestern city isn’t familiar anymore.”

So in the moments of sheer oh-shit-I-quit-my-job-and-we’re-leaving panic, that is what I think most about. How life would be if we stayed. And how fun it will be to do something new with D. You don’t have to be married to him to know he’s a great partner.

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