Decisions, Decisions.

I made my decision about what to do with my life.  Finally.  After this, I will quit talking about it.  Promise.

I told myself the other night that once Caroline was in bed, I was going to sit down on my couch and figure out what I was doing once and for all.  I’ve been going around in circles for months and nothing is going to change, I’m not going to have any sudden epiphanies… I needed to just sit down and reason it out and decide.

So I did.

I’m not joining the Army.  I’m not moving to DC with Tyler, where he’s accepted a postdoctoral position.  I’m not staying here in my apartment, either.  I’m going to look around New England for jobs, try to stay within a reasonable distance of my family and friends so that I don’t lose my support system, and I’m going to move wherever I find a job that I am happy with.  And because my program director was kind enough to offer, I’m going to stay in my residency until the end of the summer to take the pressure off of immediately finding a new job (and apartment, and preschool).

It is somewhat disappointing to let the Army thing go, but more of a relief, really.  I don’t want a legal battle with Tyler, which he threatens on and off, I don’t want to be incredibly far away from my family and friends, I don’t want to risk being sent away from my daughter to serve in a war that my hippie self will undoubtedly not believe in… I don’t want to be away from her at all, really.  I guess the truth is that as the reality of the situation approaches, and sets in, that career choice is not worth the sacrifice to me.  I will still be a dentist no matter what I do.  And if the idea of nine weeks away from her for training makes me want to cry, then I can’t even imagine up to a year or more of deployment…

Whenever I am faced with a decision in my life, I think I am often drawn to do the crazy thing.  The thing that most people are afraid to do, or wouldn’t choose.  I take a lot of pride in it, for some perverse reason.  I’m afraid that this is one of those things that I would do simply for the reason that it is different, and that I would regret it (and its effect on my daughter), and I’d still have years stretching out ahead of me with an unbreakable commitment to the military…

I made list after list and thought about pros and cons and all kinds of logical things.  And it helped me make the decision, I’ll admit.  But what I couldn’t get out of my head was this:

I had picked Caroline up from Tyler’s place on Sunday afternoon after she had spent the weekend there.  I was giving her a bath that night, and from out of nowhere she looked at me and said, “At night time at Daddy’s house, when it starts getting dark, I sit on the rug and I think about Mama.”

I can’t risk leaving her.  I just can’t.  Not for my career.  Not for anything.  She would be traumatized and I would be miserable.

Maybe I’m finally growing up.  (Just kidding.  That’ll never happen.)

I do need a change, though, so I’m going to move somewhere else in New England.  Honestly, if Tyler were moving permanently to DC, I would probably pick up and move there too, just so she could have as full of a relationship with her father as possible.  But even he admits that he is most likely going to bounce from postdoc to postdoc for years on end, so I am going to put off relocating with him until he’s settled down, and then I’ll see where I’m at in my life and reevaluate the situation.

It feels good to have a plan, and one that I am happy with.  I came within mere inches of doing the crazy thing, but I am turning my back on it and walking away.  It sounds a little anticlimactic from the outside, maybe… but I think it’s the perfect solution, and I couldn’t be more at peace with the whole thing.

I get to have my new start, and I don’t have to leave my baby.  I don’t know why it took me so long to get here, but I’m glad that I did, in the end.

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  1. by Caroline

    On April 20, 2012 at 8:17 am

    You must be so relieved to have made a decision and formulated a plan. I am so impressed at the way you have balanced your career dreams with your daughter’s needs.

  2. by WENDY

    On April 20, 2012 at 9:38 am

    SO SO SO SO glad to hear you made THIS decision!!! I would get anxious whenever you wrote about leaving your daughter. I felt for her and for you! My ‘baby’ is 3 1/2 and by Sunday at 3 p.m. on visitation weekends with her Dad, I miss her HORRIBLY. She’s my pal, my sunshine, my water, my life…….great decision!!!!!!!!

  3. by Lori

    On April 20, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Julia, I know you have been struggling with making a decision for some time. Maybe you had to explore all your options so you could feel like there are possibilities out there rather than feel trapped and that there is only one path for you to follow. You are already a dentist and a professional. No one can take that away from you. And, because of that, you will always have options. Also, you don’t have to stay at your first job as a dentist for the rest of your life. You can always change jobs or move somewhere else. It’s still possible to do crazy things and enjoy life. I’m sure you will have plenty of opportunities. Enjoy your time with Caroline!

  4. by me

    On April 22, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    I haven’t been on here in a while and actually thought you had already joined the Army. Thought you were nuts but didn’t want to say so. lol. Anyway, so glad to see you’ve made this decision and that you are at peace with it. I think you and Caroline will be much happier. Best of luck finding a great job that will make you happy somewhere in New England.

  5. by SingleMama

    On April 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Glad you made your decision! I live close to my family, and I could not imagine moving away from them. They help me so much!

  6. by Hannah

    On April 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Gee golly Caro’s spoken thoughts during her bath time made me tear a little.

    I commented on your blog earlier when you initially wrote about joining the Army. I was the one with the fiance who was formerly in the military, called you a “jump the gunner”. Now I I’m going to call you “the crazy thing to do-er”. Just kidding. I’m super glad and relieved that you really evaluated the weight of the decision.

    Work is work. When you are in the military you really aren’t free, they dictate what you do for X amount of years, where you go, etc., etc. Shoot you can’t even take a day off or call in sick!

    At the end of the day it always comes down to the people we love.

    Also you’re a freggin’ dentist, a health professional! No doubt in my mind you will be doing bigger and better things in the near future.

  7. by Jen

    On May 1, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Can you consider moving to Delaware? The cost of living is cheaper and well I have extra room!!!

  8. by thekidd

    On May 7, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    I am so thankful that you thought this through and decided not to join. You made an adult decision! Everything will work out. The Lord looks after the birds in the trees and he looks after us too.