Was I Loco to Relocate?

via Daily Prompt: Relocate

The year that I decided to relocate (2003) was, for me, the Year of the Butterfly Effect. Looking back on that year, it was as if a tiny butterfly had landed squarely in the middle of my life (in the middle of a parking lot, actually) and triggered a life-altering sequence of events. I didn’t notice the butterfly at the time. Butterflies are like that. You don’t always see them, except out of the corner of your eye.

My butterfly was actually a tiny change in water temperature.

It was a frigid February morning in upstate New York, one of many I’d had to endure that winter. I was standing perfectly still on a sheet of thin ice in a parking lot, about to open my car door. The next thing I knew, I was lying flat on my back. My head had bounced a little as I landed. The ice under my boots must have started to melt just as I moved to open my car door. As I struggled to my feet, I heard myself declare, “That’s it, I’m moving.”

The early 2000s had been difficult. First there was 9/11. Then my ten-year destructive relationship had ended (again). Someone had tried to sue me. (They lost the case but I’d had to pay a lawyer). My roof was leaking. My fence had been blown down by high winds. A person I’d confided in (whined to?) suddenly had become less supportive. And to top it all off, it had been a record-breakingly cold winter.

I needed a change — some sunshine, a better-paying job, a fresh start. I thought moving to a warmer climate might solve everything. Hitting my head on a solid sheet of ice was just the incentive I needed to get moving.

I thought about where I might want to live. I was open to pretty much any warm state in the continental U.S. except Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, and all of the midwest. Not too picky, huh?

In March, I went to the library and borrowed videos on Florida, Arizona, and Virginia. After deciding that Florida was too flat, I applied on line for jobs in Arizona and Virginia. In April, I interviewed in both places and received two good offers: one in Arizona and one in Virginia. I couldn’t decide between the two. Virginia was lovely, and closer to most of my immediate family, but my brother lived in Arizona. He called me one morning and asked, “Why don’t you move out here where you’ll already know someone?” It was the gentle nudge of a butterfly wing. I decided to take the job in Arizona.

In May, I put my house on the market and discovered that the roof wasn’t the only thing leaking — there also was a leaking oil tank buried under my front yard. I’d had no idea it was there, but I gladly paid for removal and cleanup. I had to make other repairs to my house as well. Somehow, I managed to sell the house quickly, said goodbye to my family, and drove myself, my dog, and my cat 2,000 miles across the country. I started my new job, and my new life, in July, 2003.

In many ways I’m happier now, but being far away from family all these years has been tough. I often ask myself if my decision to move, made under the duress of a few bad years, was the right one. But perhaps there’s no such thing as a right or wrong decision, only good or bad outcomes, which often are beyond our control. We can’t predict the factors that will affect the outcomes. Only later can we say “Oh, that caused that to happen, which caused that, which caused that … etc.”Ā  Being in the moment, we can only try to do our best with the limited information that we have — and hope it all turns out alright.

So, was I loco to relocate? Not at all. Looking back, I know I needed that change, and I needed it badly. It wasn’t just the Butterfly Effect at work. I was thinking things through and agonizing over what to do. It was me. I was the butterfly. But I won’t lie. I still feel the pangs of remorse from time to time, and I think about moving back there. So what’s stopping me? Those long, dark winters, for one …

Instead of relocating, maybe I should just become a snow bird, with residences in two states. Lots of people out here in Tucson (the land of the loco weed) do just that, because it’s getting too hot here in the summers. It’s something to consider. Guess I’ll have to start writing that best-selling novel if I want that to happen.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep my eyes open for butterflies, especially monarchs. They’re good at finding their way home.

11 thoughts on “Was I Loco to Relocate?

  1. In 1987, I felt like I was shot out of a cannon when moving from Long Island to Honolulu. That worked out well. In 2001 that cannon fired again, and I ended up in New Mexico. Again, that has worked out well. But being a Bonati at heart, I too overthink these things. Coulda taken a job in NYS with the Geological Survey water resources people but moved to Paradise. Coulda stayed at the U of Hawaii with a promotion and tenure but moved to New Mexico.

    Dang those butterflies….and watch out for those cannons unless you make a soft landing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes “being in-between” and doing the whole “moving forward while looking back” we stop to reminisce and wonder “what would have been if?” Not having “a choose your own adventure” analysis where we can go back and restore to an earlier time and keep our data and compare it against other decisions and those decisions outcomes. I’d imagine it being more complex and too difficult to document. Also, I’d imagine if we had this much “power” we’d always be “time jumping” and analyzing rather than living in the moment, where actually all the ‘peace’ is. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such a lovely comment. Wishing you a lot of great experiences enjoying the new climatic balance of your current journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, Lori! Thanks for visiting my blog. Wow, you’ve had a busy life! Being a school psychologist must have been fascinating. I hear you about being far from family. My husband comes from the East Coast, and we now live in California, so I don’t see much of his folks. Some might joke that I’m blessed, but grandparents are important and my two sons don’t get to see my husband’s parents nearly enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi…I also made that decision to up sticks and move…I love being warm and in the main, it has worked for me and opened so many doors…I get a hankering sometimes to go back but it is freezing over there at the moment and it doesn’t rise too much even in the so-called summer months so I guess I am staying put. Happy New Year šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love your story and your courage Lori. I love Arizona, we live in cold Toronto and have been wintering there for the past 4 years, although this year we’ll be going to Mexico for a change. But that butterfly has me longing to live in most beautiful Arizona. I’ve been there in hot August and would take the heat any day! šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My husband and I bought our first home an hour north of Sydney by the beach thinking we’d make a good profit and have more of a nest egg to buy into the Sydney market. I since became ill and thoughts of being able to buy in Sydney went up in smoke. However, as time’s gone by and more Sydney people have moved in here and Sydney;s become more overcrowded and huge blocks of units are multiplying like rabbits, we’ve chosen to stay put. It is much more peaceful and relaxed here and we have a strong sense of community, which I love. I don’t know if our kids are any safer here but I do feel they can be kids. I love living near the beach too, even if I don’t get there all the time but I know it’s there and I usually see ocean glimpses driving around.
    xx Rowena

    Like

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