The Terror of Uprooting Your Entire Life in Pursuit of a Dream

We had always planned to raise our children somewhere else. Somewhere in Oregon, at least 250 miles south of the Seattle area where we live now. But life doesn't always neatly adhere to the Gantt chart in your mind—careers and money and health insurance and responsibilities kept us firmly rooted, even after the summer of 2010 when my husband and I stood in the sunshine next to the Rogue River and swore we would do everything we could to make our dreams come true.

It took two years, but the day we've been waiting for is finally here. The path to a new career opened up, we got an offer on our house, a new home is waiting in Eugene. In a matter of weeks, we'll all be living in that Oregon town, just like we always wanted.

I should be filled to the brim with gratitude and joy, but my feelings are so confused right now. I'm happy, I'm excited, but oh ... I don't think I've ever been this freaked out in my life.


I've been talking a good game lately, reassuring my husband that he's made the right choice. I say, as scary as it is to leave behind a stable, lucrative career in pursuit of something brand new, the rewards will be worth it. I say I have always valued the happiness of his heart over the number in our bank account, and I always will. I say that the best things in life have nothing to do with money, and that no matter what, we'll be fine.

I say these things and I mean every word, but in the quiet moments in between the flurry of packing and phone calls and plotting and decision-making, I worry.

Life has been so copacetic in the last couple years: our kids are past the stressful, exhausting baby years; I traded in my soul-sucking office job for an enjoyable and relatively stress-free work-from-home gig; our financial situation has improved. The kids are thriving in their schools; we have well-worn routines that revolve around the gym, swimming lessons, karate lessons, and grocery store runs. Everyone's health is good. No one is troubled.

Things have been comfortable, you know? I am, I suppose, worried about being uncomfortable. Not just in the short term—although god knows I am dreading the logistics of the move, and the fact that I'll be on my own with the boys for several weeks while we wait for our rental to open up—but I'm worried about the great unknown of the coming months. What if, after the dust settles, we're not as happy as we thought we'd be? What if the fact that things are going to be different means that nothing will be the same?

When I feel bogged down by fear, I remind myself that the most rewarding things in life don't come easy. I think of everything we'll be gaining: an exciting new job, proximity to family, not having to drive seven hours down I-5 to get to the place we've always called home. I think of risk and hope and the lessons we want to teach our children. Listen to your heart, we will tell them. We did.

I think of these things, and then I lie awake at night, staring at the ceiling and forming silent words in my head. Please let it be okay. Please let it be okay.

Have you ever made an enormous lifestyle change that affected your children? How did you deal with the inevitable stress and worry?

Image via Linda Sharps

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