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.