“Hi, I’m Justina. I’m a stay-at-home-mom but I WAS a teacher, back when I liked my life…not that I don’t like my daughter, I love my daughter and love spending time with her, but I also like my family, and I’ve been robbed of time with them by living out in Washington. Hey, want to see my paper chain countdown that I’m making? I’ve been keeping track of the days of our two year contract and when it ends and we can start applying to jobs in Wisconsin again. I’d love to hang out with you, but let’s not get too attached mmkay? You’ll never measure up to my friends in Wisconsin, and I want to leave this dreadful place ASAP.”
…ok so I’m not really that dramatic in real life, but you get the point. It’s just kind of a bummer that my attitude is so stinky. At what point in a person’s life do the people/places/factors that make up who they are shift? At what point will I give myself permission to be happy where I am? Will I always feel like I’m at a crossroads? Will I ever learn to make friends?
When we originally moved to Washington, we lived in a smaller town called Wenatchee. Every night when I took the dog out, I would look up in the starry sky at the Big Dipper. Wenatchee is nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains and is a really beautiful place and one of those rare towns where you can see all the stars in the sky at night. Anyway, I would look up in the sky and think, the world’s not THAT big because I can still see all the same stars that my family can see, half the country away from me.
Now that we’ve moved to a much bigger city in Washington, I can’t see the stars very well at night anymore. My husband works a different job here than before, and is much busier. If I thought his previous 8 hours a day working (and my eight hours of being home with our daughter) was a lot before, now it’s more like 10-12 hours minimum. Moving “home” seems like a distant dream…somedays it feels achievable and in our near future, and other days not so much.
I have done a really fantastic job at seeing the past as better than it was. I have put “home” on an incredibly high pedestal. We left for a good reason (needing better jobs) and I hope that when we return it’s for a good reason too (getting even better jobs than what we have now). The present’s not that bad, in fact it’s kind of good. And the future…I don’t know what that will bring, and that’s ok.
What makes up who I am anyways? A combination of my roots in Wisconsin, my present in Washington, and the fact that the future has promises of being magical and amazing, and is a mystery. I have no idea what the future holds for my family, and that’s ok. The people I know in Wisconsin are awesome, and I have learned to cherish them even more now that I don’t get to see them daily. I will never again take being in close proximity to family or friends for granted. I am made up of a combination of my life experiences, and frankly, before moving to Washington, I had never really done anything that hard. I am made of freaking steel, man! I know that now. I didn’t before. Even if that’s all that I’ve learned here, it was worth it.
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