Six weeks later, we left our dreamy island home for someplace far across the country. We bought a giant, gas-guzzling truck, which made us a two-car family again for the first time in three years (though I promised myself I would keep to our walking ways, something that was, I discovered, much easier said than done in our new town). Besides buying a second car, we realized that our new town required adjustments to our lifestyle in other ways, especially when it came to eating (really not eating) locally and keeping Nora home due to a distinct lack of good preschool options.
In April, for the first time in three years, I had a negative experience nursing in public, and the negatives of our new town were increasingly starting to add up, though at that point I thought that the restaurant was going to make up for the negatives of our location. In July, things were still riding high when we bought our first house. But there was also the constant underlying theme of Chris not being home — when I look back through my blog posts from this year what is always there is Chris’ job taking him away sometimes more than 100 hours per week from our family, always with the promise that it would “get better” and it never really did except for fleeting moments here and there.
In September, I started working with a group of parents to write an application for a charter school. I was so excited to start my second project (the first being La Leche League) to help make my new community better. At the end of October, Chris spent five days in a cabin in the Big Horns cooking for his employers and their bigwig friends (including Dick Cheney), then he came home and cooked a wonderful Diwali feast for us. Later that night, everything turned upside-down and started spiraling until we realized that the path we had been on in 2013 was not headed in the direction that we wanted to go, and so Chris quit his job. Not a week later, he accepted another (much better job) four hours south in the Cheyenne area, we decided to sell the house we were thrilled to buy just five months prior, and we sold the truck that was nothing more than a symbol of how astray from our values we had gone this year.
Last week we decided not to stay in Wyoming, but instead to move to a town in northern Colorado which is much more suited to our family values. (Chris has kindly offered to commute to allow us to live in Colorado instead of Wyoming.) We were down there on Sunday and Monday looking at our rental options and I never thought I would say this — as I gear up for my third move in a year — but I am actually incredibly excited about it.
Last year, my New Year’s resolutions were simple:
- Be a great mom to two(!) kids
- Think positive and keep finding joy, even amid a sea of change and unknowns
- Build a home in our new community
This year, I think I will echo those same resolutions with the addition of one more:
Prioritize family and relationships over money and things, and reestablish our family values.
We will be making some financial sacrifices in the next year, but we will have Chris home more than we have ever had him home, and we are going to renew our efforts to eliminate our student debt and one remaining car loan. We will be working on getting our family back to the values that we lived on Nantucket and that we lost with our move to Gillette and Chris’ job at Jordans. I hope that in 2014 alternate modes of transportation (walking and biking) will again enter my daily life, as well as local food, a regular yoga practice, and time outdoors.
What a year this has been. I can’t say I’m not happy that it is over.