Sarah Hoyt had a great post about emerging from a cocoon and being a different person than you were at 7 or 18 or last night. That got me thinking about changes in my past and changes coming up in my future.
Right now, the Center of My Being and I are figuring out when we are going to move back west of the Rockies. We want to be closer to family; his parents are aging, all but one of his siblings and closest cousins are in California, my cousins are up and down the West Coast. It makes a lot of sense to move back. It is also an absolutely crazy idea. I have tenure; an impossible-to-fire-me job. Why the hell would I think about giving that up for the insecurity of adjuncting, or working in the “real world”, or, as I will be doing, writing full time?
There are many reasons for doing something that appears to be quite crazy on the surface. For one, I can’t expect him to remain 3,000 miles from his family when he put up with my parents in close proximity for as long as he did. Secondly, I made a promise when we first left California, that after tenure, the next major move we made would be because he found the cool job. Finally, I’ve come to realize over the last two to three years what my father was talking about when he fussed that tenure was a trap of sorts. I scoffed at the time and said, how can having a guaranteed job be a trap??
Well, I found out. You get to the point where you will put up with innumerable indignities because you KNOW you can’t leave this job…you have tenure! You fight the EXACT SAME battles again and again and again. A really ugly version of “Groundhog Day.” The same colleagues react the same way to the same battles…it really never changes.
I had a sabbatical last spring (OK, so tenure has some really great bonuses…sabbaticals are one of them). As I settled in to do research (the reason for the sabbatical), I realized that this just did not make me happy or interested or anything. I started teaching myself German (you have to totally check out Gabriel Wyner’s site fluent-forever.com…no, I don’t get paid for endorsing it, it’s simply that good) and had a blast and now I’m coversationally fluent. I also read my first ever self-help-figure-yourself-out book. Rather eye-opening. Then, I added an opening line for a book to a FB comment string…then I started writing…Now, 11 months later, I’m about to finish my first ever work of fiction. I have plans for two more in this series; I’m building another world for another series; I have outlines for at least three short stories. I’m having a blast AND with indie publishing, I can do this. This makes me very, very excited and happy.
So, we’re leaving. Not sure exactly where to yet, but west of the Rockies or thereabouts. And, I’m going to become a recovering Academic. And, I’m really very happy about it.