Letting Go, and Going

So, I’m moving to Alaska. From New Jersey. In two months.

We will be living near here!

I’d love to tell you this trek from the country’s most densely populated state to its least was the result of a carefully created plan; that it is a decision based on thoughtful long-term deliberation.

That would be a lie.

In fact, moving to Alaska wasn’t even on our radar 12 days ago, when my husband Jon headed off to a conference in Pittsburgh. It blipped onto our screens when he came home electrified with a totally unexpected job offer and a few days to decide.

My first reaction? Hell no.

Not that I didn’t want to go — we’d been to Alaska for vacation earlier this summer and had spent hours during our hikes there wishing we could just stay. We’d even conjured up several totally impractical plans (mostly dependent on winning the lottery) that would let us live there. This job offer was a literal dream come true.

And yet…

Anxiety rose up, whispering in my ear that this kind of gamble was for 20-somethings. Not for longtime grown ups who have worked hard and built so much to lose. A house (and a weekend place), a history, friends, and jobs we love. We have a wonderful life, the fear said, why risk it? Maybe I’ve seen too many operas, but I worried — was it greedy to want even more when you already have so much? Is it tempting fate?

But the more we talked and looked and thought, the more it started to seem like spitting in fate’s face to say no: We’d wished for this, and here it was. Of course it’s terrifying — because adventures, at some point or another, always are — but it’s also a chance to take an utterly unexpected path and experience things we’ve never dreamed of for ourselves.

Finally, Jon asked a simple question: How would we think about this offer in five years if Jon turned it down?

And the answer every time was the same. We’d feel tremendous regret.

So we’re going for it. Risking a lot that we love to experience something big, beautiful and real. I’m sure we will struggle, and it’s possible that things won’t turn out quite like we’ve dreamed them.

But man, will we have a story to tell.

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