August 28, 2012

The Shift

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"I have dreamt in my life,
dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
they have gone through and through me, like wine through water,
and altered the color of my mind.
And this is one: I'm going to tell it -
but take care not to smile at any part of it."
— Emily Brontë

Most changes in the dreams of our hearts sneak up on us. They bloom softly and quietly until we gradually become aware of them- at least, that's how it's always been for me.

But Seattle was different.

I'm not sure if it was the moment we stepped back onto the plane bound for Illinois, the moment I hugged my family goodbye, or the jaunt down the steep sidewalk to Pike Place, but there it was- the snap of realization. Suddenly, something inside me shifted so palpably, so overwhelmingly.

My first thought was, "This could be home."

For a girl who has always been consumed with love for my hometown- the university here, the cornfields, the epitome of Midwestern life- this shocked even me. I hate change. I resist it with every twist and turn in our lives even if that change might be better for us. But I looked out at the sailboats skimming along Puget Sound in the low dusk sun, and found myself thinking that, even in this Illinois heart of mine, the water was not only beautiful...but it could settle into my soul as deep as the crops, grain elevators, and country roads. I pictured raising Millie near shorelines. I imagined the uptick in people we'd pass on the street, the taller buildings that would dwarf us, and the seagulls circling low around us. And for the first time in my life, I thought, "I want that." It wasn't the feeling you get at the end of a vacation, where you dread going back to the ordinary. It was a genuine desire, a whispered promise from the city that said, "You could be here. This could be your water, your skyline, your Market and coffee." It was the first time in my almost 28 years that a place had stirred up something so real.

Of course, moving across the country- to any city on any coast- requires a job set in place, a good deal of money, and an agreement between Sky and I. Those three things are can be hard to come by. And then came the second thought, perhaps more obvious for those in military circles. "Sky should go active duty."

Every time I have mulled over what active duty would mean for our family, I would come to two conclusions. 1- That it would be a smart move for us financially, and we should probably consider it for at least a short contract. 2- That my heart couldn't handle the changes, the move, the pulling away from everything I know. And now, I find myself feeling that I could handle it- welcome it, even. I think about how the change could be not something to dread, but an adventure, and a new start for us.

The clincher? Sky doesn't want to be active duty. At least, not now. And I can't tell him to take a job when it would be his job, not mine...least of all, a job that could require him to go to war. He's even said to me before, "I think you just want to do it so you are in a place where you have more in common with people," since there is absolutely no military support in this community. He thinks the military blogs I've read have filled my head full of dreamlike ideas. But he hasn't read your blogs, or any of the hardships all of you in active duty face. Would it be easy? Absolutely not. This life isn't easy either, though. And I'm finding myself being pulled to new things.

There isn't a good way to resolve this post other that to simply say it's how I feel and what I've been wondering about a lot in those quiet moments late at night, when the moon is overhead and Millie is curled up with her stuffed animals. I think about the tide. I think about visiting the Seattle Public Library with her. I think about a date night with Sky, walking along the water's edge, having him buy me a $5 bouquet from the Market.

Something about Seattle simply grabbed my heart, and hasn't-and won't- let go.

21 kind comments from you:

Poekitten said...

There's just something about Seattle, about the PNW, that just grabs you. I love, love, love living here. It's still surprises me, a New Englander who thought that is where I'd stay, even with all the traveling i've done. My roots are there. And yet, they've been transplanted. I've asked The Man to not take me back to New England and we are both thankful that he has found a job that allows us to stay here. This place is where I and my family belong.

keri said...

My husband was stationed in Seattle (CG) many years ago. I regret that we didnt stay longer. There's something about the city and the people....

Chantal said...

Now remember, it isn't guaranteed that he would be stationed there. You could be stuck somewhere not so exciting, like back woods Louisiana! But it's a good dream to have. We want to be stationed out there too.

Kaylee said...

Dreams are good. And dreaming is good. I don't really have any advice or anything profound to say (and I don't think that's what you necessarily want), but just want to say that I dream too. And it's a good and beautiful thing. And I hope that someday, Seattle may be part of your life. And also, it's pretty cool how it grabbed ahold of your heart - definitely makes me want to visit!

Deanna said...

My best friend just moved to Seattle because of her husband's job change, and she absolutely loves it. The price of living is so much more expensive even than it is in Vermont (which unusually high already), but you have plenty of time to figure out the finances and the logistics of it all. They found out that they were moving in February and then were there in April- moves happen so fast. Keep your dream, plan accordingly, and just wait for the timing to fall into place. Because I think it will- someday. You are smart and daring and creative- you'll figure it all out when the timing is right. Meanwhile, enjoy being near your family. (-; I would give anything to be back close to mine- also in the Midwest...

Marcella{The Life of a Military Family} said...

People complain about all the rain in the PNW, but I just let them go on.
Nothing beats the Northwest in my opinion!
Glad you enjoyed your time in Seattle!

greaterexp said...

I'll always have a fondness for corn and bean fields, always be an Illini fan, enjoy the lush green (when there is no drought), and always love the old-fashioned Midwest values. But the mountains and ocean have a magnetic pull that become part of my being, too. Somehow, after seeing an area so different from where I grew up and lived most of my life, when I see the Midwest now, it seems so very flat in my vision and feelings. Isn't it strange how something can pull us so strongly long after we thought we were glued in place?

Jamie said...

Thank you for joining our hop! Big decisions. Keep talking them through together. You guys will come to the right decision.

Fran said...

There really is something about the PNW, we're going to try with all of our might to stay here, at the very least for another 3 years - we love it so much.

Jane said...

I so see you as Seattle people. When I think of bloggers, I usually clump people together in my mind by geographical location and in my mind, you're already a Washingtonian. lol I have no idea why, but I have always since I very first started following your blog thought of you as a PNWer. Kind of funny especially considering the name of your blog!

Erika . . . with a K said...

Seattle is still very fresh - perhaps your feelings will fade in time? (Or perhaps the longing will always nag a part of you.) Going active duty is not the only way to move to Seattle. People up and move all the time. Yes it takes time, planning, money and mostly courage. I upped and moved from SC to WY and spent a few years in WY - where fate must have brought me to meet my husband. We moved to MD for better job options and it made sense at the time. We own a house and have planted roots. However we both long to move back to WY more than anything. It is where our hearts are. Where we both belong. Where we hope one day we will end up.... it is our home. So I guess what Im trying to say - I know exactly how you feel.

Michelle said...

I know exactly what you're saying. Exactly. There are two places on earth that have pulled at me like that. A firm tug on your heart that you won't ever be able to shake. I know it's cliche, but if it's meant to be, it will! I have to remember that some days. As much as I love Ohio & the Midwest, I can see myself elsewhere. If you move to Seattle I'm moving with you :)

Michelle said...

P.S. I totally got that Don Draper vibe from Sky before I even saw what you wrote! LOVE.

Also, about Seattle. I've never been there, but I've always thought of it was my dream city kind of. I'm not sure why. The rain, the coffee, the water. All of my favorite things right there. So I'm being serious when I say I'm moving with you.

jax from the harmon squad said...

Isn't it funny how certain places tug at our heart strings? I'm from Virginia and we're stationed at Ft. Bliss (in the middle of the desert) and while I'm fine here, I really miss the woods of the east. Like, watching the Hunger Games recently made me SO homesick for the east. I hope your dream of living in Seattle comes true, there's nothing quite so sweet as making a dream a reality! And if going active duty is the path to that dream we will welcome you with open arms! Plus, you'd be able to handle it no problem. (I think half the battle is recognizing that it is going to be difficult, but there is still plenty of happiness to be had despite the hard things) (Oh, and seeing your pictures makes me nostalgic for our trip there last fall. There really is something magical about that place)

The New Normal said...

Oh, our minds think so much alike! Seattle settled in my heart as well last year when we were there before deployment. It was peaceful and felt like my kind of place. Being on the base there was a whole new experience and I started to dream about it too. I've always thought my husband should go active duty. He loves it and he is good at it, why not make it his full-time career? The idea of moving, seeing new places, and being near people with a common bond is so appealing to me. And while it seems like a good idea from where I stand right now, I also do know there are many hardships of active duty that I have no idea about. But like Sky, my husband does not really want to go active. He has his family business and feels obligated to stay. I would never push him to do it if he didn't want to, yet my heart wishes it would be an option for us and our future. It's something that I think and pray about often - guidance for the right path to follow and peace for where we are! And it's always good to dream!

____j said...

It's never easy, but definitely an adventure.

the whyte house said...

oh, washington! we visited seattle last summer and while i'm not a big fan of being in such a huge city, i did fall quite in love with whidbey island. as for moving & going active, i know exactly how you feel! i feel the exact same way. i've never liked change and never wanted to move, but something in me just snapped this year. maybe we're growing up? :) i'm getting my first taste of a deployment and most of the time it really isn't bad, even though my husband's unit is states away, along with the wives/families of it. even with him being deployed now, i want him to go active. however, it's also something that he wants to do. i just did a post this week, talking the emotions of deployment. even though it's not always a great time had by all, it's something i could do several times over if i had to.
http://www.whytehousephoto.com/from-this-side-of-deployment/

MrsMike said...

We were so excited for the move to Fort Lewis and living so close to Seattle - but 4 years later we HATED it. It rains, CONSTANTLY. It really really does. Beautiful area, but always wet. And the people were not nice at all. I am the kind of girl that starts up a convo with the person in front of me or behind me in the check out line, but you can't do that in that area! They curse at you or glare you down. And the crime rate - YIKES! When my son was 3 weeks old a SWAT team raided our development. And that was not the first or the last time I saw big things going on that were crime related.
We are now in Fort Bliss, TX - and LOVE it here. It is safe, and dry, and the people are SO friendly. We are thrilled to be here until his active duty enlistment is over. Then we will be moving HOME to PA!

ginanorma said...

it's so good and healthy to think of all the possibilities this life holds Erika, don't stop!!!

I'm so "dumb" what is active duty, .........toldja, dumb.

Holly Robertson said...

This makes me so home sick. Maybe one day we'll both live there. Just gotta find a job there first. Or at the very least we can vacation together. I want to go whale sighting with you.

beka said...

ah goodness.
that place sounded heavenly.
i love the idea of being in the PNW....would love to road-trip there or something in the future.
sigh...

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