My best friend is moving to Portland, OR.
Erk and I met our freshman year in college. After college, when I was in Peace Corps, we stayed in touch as best we could with letters, and managed to actually see each other a couple of times, once on a vacation to England and once in the US when I was home for Christmas during my third year. When we were both in grad school in different states, we talked every Sunday night on the phone.
Then, in 1999, we moved to Boston together. And here we have been ever since. Neither of us expected to stay here as long as we have, and both of us aspired to end up back in Portland, where I grew up and where we went to undergrad.
She's landed an amazing job. Great environment, great hours, great pay, great location. I am truly happy for her. She's worked hard for this.
But it's in Portland.
I have two main issues with this: (1) I am going to miss her something fierce, and (2) I am jealous as all get out.
As far as missing her is concerned, well, what can be done? I know we'll talk. She'll see my family a lot. And I have lots of other friends here to keep me company. But I'll still miss her and that won't be fun. She and I agree that it's harder to be left behind than it is to leave, and I'm finding it especially hard since I'm usually the one leaving. I'm not used to this role.
What makes staying behind especially hard for me right now is that Erk's departure brings into sharp focus an unsettled feeling I've had for some time now. I'm having a really hard time being satisfied with what I have in my life. It's easy for me to look at Erk's life and see two big things she has that I don't: a husband and a job she is really excited about in the city she wants to live in. My husband is dead and my job is pretty dead, too.
There are circumstances in my life that I can't change (e.g., John being dead) and then there are those that I can (e.g., my job). Perhaps oddly, I find it easier to make peace with the circumstances that are unpleasant, but beyond my control. If I can't control it, there's no sense in trying. While I may be sad or angry or who-knows-what-else because of it, all I can do is honor those emotions and take life as it comes.
It's those things that I can change that tie me up in knots. I could get a new job. I could move back to Oregon. But those are two decisions that would bring unknown and unforeseeable changes to my life. I can make pro and con lists and project and guess about what those changes would bring, but at the end of the day, I can't KNOW. I want to know. As much as it drives me crazy, my job has some perks (easy schedule, slow pace, close to daycare and home, flexible hours, reasonable pay). Boston has its selling points, too (I own a home, have loads of wonderful friends, an amazing daycare for Maddie and Riley, and a job in an industry that does not exist in Portland). I could gain more than I can imagine by making either one or both of those changes, but I could also lose a lot.
In the end, I'm not much of a risk-taker. I'm also busy and tired. But I'm also discontent, and I'm not sure how to fix that feeling without taking risks. I feel like I'm on the verge of a change, a big change, but I don't know what it is yet or how to make it happen. What I know for sure is that it is getting increasingly difficult for me to be at peace with what my life is right now, and Erk's move is exacerbating that feeling.