I’ve been absent from Jack&Peaches for a few months because of some life changes. Since being laid off from my job, I’ve had to remodel my life and figure out what to do next.
Two weeks ago I had no idea what I was going to do once my lease is up in July. Today, I might finally have a real plan for the next phase of my life. Starting today, when people ask me, “Sarah, so what are you going to do when your lease is up? Are you working or what?” I just might be able to tell them real plans that include where I’m moving to and what I’ll be doing in August.
At this very moment, I’m enrolled in online classes at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to start my Masters in Library and Information Science in September. This sounds simple and straightforward, but I have the option to be an on-campus student which would mean moving to Milwaukee by August.
I’d be moving to a place where I know zero people already living there. I’d be saying goodbye to friendships I made in Iowa and quite possibly saying goodbye to a relationship with someone special that I have been hoping will work out but it just might not.
Moving to Milwaukee wouldn’t just be “Sarah’s in Grad School”. It quite possibly could be me flipping my life around from what I’ve known and starting over. I’m not scared because I’d be moving to a new city. I’m scared because all of the change makes me feel like I’m not going to be myself anymore. When I picture how my life could become by August, it’s a life that I don’t recognize and it feels like it could belong to someone else and not me. But it would be my life and it would be me going to school and eating at new places and walking downtown and going to the beach and all of that change that will turn me into an updated model of myself– Sarah 2.0. It scares me.
I know people my age move to new states and go to grad school and start new jobs in new cities where they don’t know anyone and say goodbye to old relationships all the time, but I’ve never really had to. I did move to Iowa to start a new job and said goodbye to my college friends, but I knew someone here already so when I moved, I wasn’t alone. This time I would be moving to Milwaukee and only have myself to rely on.
I see two paths when I try and decide what I should do. I’m living Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” in real time and it’s a nightmare.
To my left, I can take the plunge and move to Milwaukee. I start over and I become a new person; someone who is a stranger to me right now but will become someone I know better than ever by next year. This path offers me the chance of real personal growth as a young adult and a young woman and no doubt will be full of hard personal sacrifices.
To my right, I can stay enrolled in my online courses. Since I don’t have a job now I can quite literally move anywhere I want to which means I could stick with what makes me feel comfortable and safe. I could move back home to the UP or I could move out to California and live with my Dad. This path offers me some control over what I feel comfortable with and would allow me to keep living within my safety net. It would offer me some chance of personal growth, but not much and personal sacrifices would only have to be made if I really wanted them to be made.
So what do I do? On the one hand, I’m terrified of taking the plunge because when I envision my future in Milwaukee I can’t even see myself in the picture. On the other, I’ve always stayed within my comfort zone. I’ve always had a plan that just helped me to casually float into the next stage of my life whenever it became time to do that. I floated from high school into college and the transition was fairly easy because my college was ten minutes from my Mom’s house. I floated from college into the working world when I moved to Iowa because I moved in with my [ex] boyfriend and I had someone here I trusted. Finally, I floated into a new apartment with new roommates in Iowa City when that [ex] boyfriend moved to New York and I decided to stay behind.
I’ve always just safely floated through everything. I’ve never cannonballed into the metaphorical pool of life while yelling, “WHY THE FUCK NOT? JUST GO FOR IT! WOOOO!” Instead, I’ve only pencil dived off the low diving board and swam up safely to the surface.