In thinking about a potential move, the only real hang-up I could foresee was my job. Other than travel stories, I haven't shared much about my work on the blog (hello, relative anonymity). I'm a contractor for a non-profit. I telecommute (i.e. work from home) about 95% of the time and essentially I can do my job anywhere there's Internet and a good airport. But, since I do advocacy work, it is helpful for me to be in DC--to go to meetings, briefings, and the occasional visit with a member of Congress. So, while not essential and not part of my contract, being in DC, at least some of the time, is a good thing for me professionally, both for right now and for future work opportunities. (Although I'm really wondering if I want to stay in this rat race for the long-run anyway.)
You can imagine my relief, then, when I brought this up with my supervisor and she said, "As a contractor, I can't tell you where you can do your work. It's illegal! That and the most important part of your job is not the work you do on the Hill but the grassroots work you're doing in the field." Shew, ok! Not a barrier.Plus DC is just an hour's flight from Charlotte. Then she said, "Forgive me, I'm taking off my professional hat now and putting on the friend hat, but I do worry that you may be trying to run away from problems that are rooted in the internal, not the external."
Let me say that my supervisor/boss is like another mother to me. She's someone I've known for years, and I feel incredibly thankful to work with her now. She's wise, grounded, and an incredible listener. She knows all about my life, SCL, and my general feelings of unhappiness. And if there's anyone in DC whose perspective I would want, it's hers.
"I agree with you," I admitted. I know that I have a shit-ton of work to do on myself. Happiness and satisfaction come from within, and if I want to experience them, I will have to do that hard work no matter where I end up living. But my feeling is that changing some of the external things and improving my quality of life that way may actually facilitate doing that internal work. Right now I feel like my attempts to do the internal work are actually being hindered by the external things in my life here.
If you'll indulge me, here are a few of the external things Charlotte would offer.
- Lower cost of living
- Slower pace of life
- Better weather (NC springs are the best)
- Within driving distance of my entire immediate family
- Within driving distance of my best friend
- Hub for other alums from my college
- Distance from SCL (I mean, c'mon. It's tough living 3 blocks away from each other sometimes.)
- Good friends and mentors in the area
What I truly want in this situation is to feel like I have a choice in the matter.If I decide to stay in DC, it will be because I chose to. And if I decide to move, it will be a decision I am making for myself. Knowing I have a choice is incredibly liberating. Now I've got a lot of discerning, thinking, and journaling to do. But I believe in time I'll have my answer.