It has been a long and mostly non-stop six weeks.
Sell a house, buy a house, move a house and now…finally, somehow, travel. Travel to the new house. So here I am writing in a hotel room somewhere in Portland while the kids are downstairs swimming in the indoor pool. (I’d be there too but hotel policy dictates I remain in the room with the dog…)
I was struck during the drive as the kids played games and goofed off in the backseat. When I asked L how far he thought the trip was before we left, he said “Not this far.” That was in Central California. After a long day of driving, I gave him the miles we covered and he already knew the hours. He then mentally tallied the actual trip distance and was surprised it was so far. And it is. So, very, far.
Far from the home and life we knew . Far from the people we know. Fascinating how everyone over the last weeks has been so supportive and many mystified by this sudden move. I haven’t even had a chance to sit back and observe it. Only enough time to just ‘do it’.
So, one day more and we get keys.
I am sitting here, having my morning coffee and thinking about a day one week from today. On that day, we will pack a large truck and we will depart our home community of Flagstaff. It’s been a pretty good transition so far. Not too stressful, not too overly worrisome. The real estate end of it has gone well enough, with C handling all those details like a champ. We’ve sold out house and bought another one in record time and very agreeably so. Sure, there are bumps, paperwork gets misplaced, items have to be rushed here and there, but overall our not-so-slow departure from Flagstaff has been filled with well-wishing, quiet catch up with long terms friends and many, many good-by-beers. (Note to self: lay off carbs…)
So, in one week we drive away. To a new adventure, to a new job, new school and new lifestyle. Its maybe the third biggest thing I’ve done in my life? Not sure and somehow, maybe it’s being the age I am (43) but it just doesn’t seem so huge and dramatic as I may have thought it would be. Surely, the worst of it was the tail end of the job and the horrible train-wreck that was. The stress and unknown ‘limbo’ of that exit was not fun and it has made me realize, I simply don’t have another one of those in me. At least not right now.
Interestingly this experience has made me a bit intorspective and perhaps sentimental about my previous experiences working with people who really *cared* about their jobs; who made their work a part of their lives without letting it rule their lives. Sure that is a fine balance, and not an easy one to achieve, but even to TRY to make your work about something with purpose and to take a passionate and thoughtful approach to it is enviable and commendable. It is when I have found myself working with people who do it to be ‘important’, to be ‘powerful’ or to make money that I end up losing sight of what matters in my own approach to work. Perhaps I am too malleable to those sorts of influences, or perhaps not malleable enough? Either way, these past couple months have really given me pause to appreciate those in my work-life who have pushed forward for the right reasons in the face of challenges and succeeded by their own definitions. In the immortal words of Alanis Morissette , “You live, you learn”.
I saw this graphic on Facebook today. While funny, I returned to it a couple of times because it reminded me of what the last 1.5 years have been like at my recent job. I won’t mention names, or even locations, but the constant dishonesty and struggle to do right in the face unethical behavior made me feel constantly beat-up and even worse I arrived at a place where I was continually was second guessing myself.
It’s been less than two weeks of rest and packing and I feel 100% sure I have made the right choice in resigning that job. Simply put, those folks at that place were not my tribe, not people with the same intention that I have for life, for community and for myself. So for the first time since I was 12, I have no job, but I do have one starting October 1 in downtown Seattle. Again, I won’t name the employer, or write about it here. Instead I’ll share the process of moving and unwinding what is 24 years in my (not quite originally) home town.
I moved to this town in 1991 to go to university to become a school teacher. I have been a school teacher, a business owner, healthcare admin and an active member of this community ever since (with a small hiatus running about 1995-1997). I’ve loved living here; the skiing, the people, the safety and the community bring an amazing quality of life. We’ve never locked our bikes out front, never been robbed, never been vandalized and have never felt anything less than safe. Given that I am a fifth generation Arizona native, and my kids are sixth, the move to another city, another state and another region is pretty big for me. I am not sure what else to say. It is big.
So, the start-up stuff, the community activity and all the local engagement is going to be wound down. All to make room for a big move; a house to sell, a house to pack, a house to buy, a house to unpack…all logistics to be handled day to day. Right now I am not too worried, but instead much more excited about the change, the new life and the new work.
I’ve decided to do a couple new things this week.
I enjoy trying new things. That’s a pretty trite thing to say, but it is true. As an autodidact, I consistently feel compelled to learn new things. From orbital physics to machine learning, I am always exploring new thinking and the way these new data points fit within the schema of my own brain. But, whatever.
Here’s what I’ve decided to do:
1. Start journaling again. It’s been a long time and I miss it. I recently came across my writing from ages ago (thanks unforgetting mind of the internet!) and while it was somewhat embarrassing and cringe-worthy, I found it revelatory to read about myself form a time in my life where I was a totally different person than I am now. More on that later, I am sure.
2. Participate in a Start-Up Foundations course hosted by our local business accelerator. I joined a start-up about six months ago. Being a part of startup has been iincredibly challenging process mainly because it is so far from my standard role in business where I develop new products and solutions within existing business and organizations. At first I really did think that my skills would translate 1:1. Nope. It is just not the case, the startup world is much more dynamic and it is a whole lot further from “business development” and starting a small business than I would have known, and honestly, further than I might have wanted it to be. So here I am. Bringing learning to my enthusiasm for our project.
So- hopefully this blog can help bring together my thoughts on life, healthcare as an industry (I wont talk about my employer, ever), startups, tinkering and whatever else.