“Bad news. The landlord pulled out, we are not getting the apartment.”
When I got this text message from my husband I felt the sense of disappointment wash over me. I had been so sure that this apartment was meant for us. We wanted to downsize and save money for our big move back to the US in a few years and this apartment fit that plan perfectly. Sigh. “Maybe we need to have a radical rethink on everything,” I messaged back.
Radical rethink. My husband took these two words literally and before we knew it we quit our jobs in London and planned our relocation to the Pacific Northwest. All we had was a very modest amount of savings and the kind of faith that makes you persevere through the challenges that inadvertently show up when you decide to completely uproot your life before you even thought you were ready to do so. We were in our early 50s and financially it was a huge risk but we knew: without risk you cannot create the life you want. And we wanted that life to be in the Pacific Northwest.
When we told our families and friends that we were moving back to the US, no-one was very surprised. Since my husband and I got married in 2005 we moved every single year, from England to Massachusetts to Washington State back to Massachusetts to Germany to the UK. And a few local moves in between. I got a green card and eventually my U.S. citizenship. My American cat got a European pet passport and my car traveled across the U.S. twice and then to Europe and back again via the Panama Canal.
It seems that this is what I do; I’ve moved more than thirty times in as many years and after all these decades of traveling and moving around my gypsy soul still gets excited at the thought of new beginnings and all the possibilities they bring.
So when you ask me “what is next?” this answer is usually this: change. A move, a new job, a different furniture configuration, a new creative project. Perhaps this is how I survive the hard times in life, like the recent unexpected passing of my mom, I move on by redefining my environment and creating new opportunities that sometimes merely serve as a distraction but never fail to lead me to fresh opportunities down the road less traveled.
Last month we reached our one year anniversary in our new home here in the Pacific Northwest and the familiar itch to move is making itself known again.
We want to stay in our beloved town but how about exchanging our condo for a house with a small garden so I can grow some vegetables? I don’t have much of a green thumb but surely I can learn that, right? And hey, why don’t we build a house, something we’ve been talking about for a long time! I will admit, we get quite excited about these ideas and we could probably pull it off if we really wanted to.
However. Lately I have noticed something else mixing in with the excitement: a longing for stability and grounding that makes me want to stay right where we are. We currently own a lovely and spacious condo with a nice balcony and lots of light from our big windows and south-west exposure. After one year everything is dialed in and organized, all the pictures are on the walls and we are very comfortable. Our condo is also affordable and we could potentially pay it off in the next 6-7 years which I know would give both of us a lot of peace of mind. And I will admit, that peace of mind looks very appealing to me right now.
And so I said to my husband “Let’s just stay.” No change.
And so that’s ‘our next’ for now: no move and enjoying what we have here and now. Oh, what novel concept! But it feels good and right. Until, of course, we change our mind 🙂
About the Author: Kerstin Martin
Originally from Germany she now lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her American husband and fluffy grey cat.