Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thoughts on Moving *Again*

I'm just back from accompanying my husband on a job interview. While his potential colleagues interviewed him, the chancellor's wife took me on a tour of the town and grilled me. I enjoy Philadelphia. I'm not eager to move. I told her that.  She told me she didn't want to move either, but like me, her husband makes more money than she does, so he gets to decide living arrangements.  It's a macro/micro thing.  He picks the city. I pick the house (within reason.) This may be a holdover for our generation -- maybe younger folks don't make employment decisions based  on salary.  But the one time I tried to get my husband to move for my career, it nearly destroyed our marriage. The chancellor's wife knows I'll come with him, if they choose to offer my husband the job, and he chooses to accept it.

What does it mean to give up that kind of control over my life?  I'm no Ruth, "whither thou goest,  I will go."  I did not say that to my husband before we married. Hey, I said things like "I'm hot for your bod!" and "I love having your perspective on my ideas. You help me see things in an interesting way," and "Thanks for walking out of that movie with me. It was boring."  I did not even know at that point who would make more money, or what that would mean for our relationship.  I don't think that earning more money means you get to decide where we live. But it's a case of "pick your battles."

I didn't want to leave Berkeley. But I loved Denver.  I cried when we left Denver, but much of what I am, I owe to the opportunities I encountered in Tampa.  I would not have chosen these moves. So, I cannot claim to be all knowing about what this new city might hold and if it would be more or less enjoyable than Philly.

The city where we interviewed is almost the opposite of Philadelphia. Yes, it has familiar features like high unemployment and a high crime rate. But it has separate houses, instead of row houses. The local art museum has local art -- not internationally famous art. There are no lines in front of the pictures. I didn't have to wait my turn to see them. In Philly, alternative medicine is still disconnected from mainstream medicine.  There, the Hmong immigrant shamans work with the hospital staff so their clients can receive both spiritual and physical healing. Here bike lanes are painted on the streets and often used for car and truck parking. There, bike lanes are part of a wide sidewalk, separated from the streets by a row of grass. Here, there's an expert for everything.  There, most of the niches haven't been thought of yet.

I used to think at our age, we were settled. We would grow old and die in our current abode. But even though we have an old-style, male-dominated, money=power marriage, we live in a new world were geezers can be pioneers.  I still don't want to move.

1 comment:

  1. This is a rough one . . . !