I moved to Madison with doubt in my heart. Three and a half years ago, in early December, I flew out to Madison to start my first full-time job as a technical writer at a software company. On my second day of work, Madison experienced a full-on blizzard. Welcome to Wisconsin, I thought.
The entire experience was nerve-wracking. I feared that I’d fail at my job, that my writing skills wouldn’t be up to par or that technical writing would be horribly boring, that my new roommate and I wouldn’t get along. I feared not making friends.
In short, I was pretty sure the whole thing was a huge mistake. But the swift decline of the grace period on my loans and my desire to spend no more than six months post-college living with my parents compelled me to take the job. This was back in 2009, in the height (depth?) of the recession. As an English major, I felt pretty damn lucky to get the job I did, with the salary it offered and the benefits I received.
And despite my negativity, it all worked out just fine.
I soon discovered that my roommate and I were kindred spirits and that I was going to be successful at my job. I started to enjoy my new life. I began to appreciate Madison and its picturesque surrounding towns.
Over the years, things continued to surprise me and I surprised myself with how happy I felt. I discovered that mastering technical writing makes one a better all-around writer, and that working in the healthcare software industry gave me insight as the US began to think about how to reform our healthcare system.
And, oh yeah, I met S. And I adopted Moria.
My life here is comfortable. I have lovely friends; a sweet pup; and the most loving, forgiving, and inspiring partner I could want. It’s a good life. And we’re getting ready to say goodbye to that life.
In a few short weeks, S and I are packing up and heading east. Because as much as I like the Midwest and my life here, the cold truth is that many of my friends and most of my family live on the East Coast. Visiting them is a chore that requires annoying, expensive, time-consuming flights or a very long drive. And I hate driving.
I’ve been feeling the call to move closer to home for a while now. But when my sweet little nephew Theodore was born last February, well, I knew it was time.
But I didn’t want to move just anywhere or take just any job. I wanted a job that would keep me engaged and that would not feel like a step down from what I do now. Thanks to my still-existent student loans, it also had to have a decent salary. So I waited. I refused to do the resume spam thing, where you apply to every potentially relevant job you see and hope for the best. Instead, I applied to exactly two jobs. One, I discovered, was for a position that wasn’t actually available.
The other? Well. It was kinda-sorta the position of my dreams. And I got it.
Starting next month, I’ll be working at a national nonprofit that focuses on animals. I’ll be using my writing, editing, and project management skills to advocate for animals. Pinch me, please.
At the very beginning of June, S and I will be moving out to Maryland. It’s the perfect place for us – it’s where he’s from, and it’s much closer to Rhode Island for me. I can take a quick, direct Southwest flight home or make the 7-hour drive when I’ve got time to spare. It’ll be so much easier.
We’re not sure where exactly we’ll end up. Maryland’s cost of living is much higher than that of Wisconsin, so we’ll be staying with S’s mom until we find an affordable place of our own that’s close to work for me and close to a metro stop so we can get into DC easily. S will be pursuing freelance writing and radio journalism, so he wants to be close to the city.
It’s really scary. Just like the last time I moved, I’m nervous. What if the job and I aren’t a good fit? What if S can’t find enough work to pay the bills? What if we can’t find an affordable, decent place to live?
But it’s a good kind of nervous. An exciting kind. I can’t wait to start this new chapter of our lives and to finally bring my professional and personal passions together.
So in the next few weeks, pardon me if I’m a little quiet. I’m just busy packing and planning and wrapping up my time at my current job… and possibly hitting up all my favorite Madison eateries one last time. ;)