Sunday, April 12, 2009

Change I Can Believe In

FoxyJ decided a few months ago that she's just not that into her PhD program. She enjoys the classes and does very well in them, but she just doesn't care about getting a PhD that much and a PhD program is the kind of thing you have to care about if you're going to commit all the time and effort required. More than anything, I think she's felt that at this point in her life she wants to focus on being a mom more than on being a student. As she worked through her feelings about school, I was resistant to the idea of her dropping out, mostly for stupid reasons, but also because I worried that she was giving up on something that mattered to her out of a sense of Mormony obligation to be a stay-at-home mom. She assured me this was not the case and I promised that I would support her in whatever she chose to do.

The growing certainty of Foxy leaving the PhD program meant we would need another source of income (she has a nice stipend), so a couple months ago I started looking for full-time employment. At a point where I had already been struggling with depression, this process proved enormously stressful. In the first place, the current economic climate is a horrible one to be looking for a job in--I've applied for several jobs, most of which I was more than qualified for, and not gotten a single interview. In the second place, I really enjoy my current job and am hesitant to give it up. It's only part-time but it pays very well, it allows me a lot of time at home with my family, and it requires very little creative energy, which is a big deal to me because writing is very important to me and I like having as much creative energy as possible for the few hours a week I have time to write. In the third place, the thought of moving to a new city for the third time in three years was a sickening thought. I'm tired of starting over from scratch.

Feeling overwhelmed by all of this, a couple weeks ago I asked Foxy if she wouldn't consider staying in school for just one more year so that we could remain in our current comfortable (for me) situation long enough at least to see what comes of the novel I'm currently revising in hopes of publishing and establishing something like a writing career. She didn't like this idea and I realized a couple days later that it's not fair to ask her to do something she doesn't want to for the sake of saving me from doing something I don't want to. And then I found a solution that makes both of us happy: Utah.

Neither Foxy or I am crazy about Utah as a place to live, but we have a lot of family and friends there and, having lived there for about ten years of each of our lives, it's familiar and comfortable. We'd been talking for a while about how we missed being close to family and maybe we'd be willing to live in Utah again to make that happen. Also, it's much cheaper to live in Utah than in California, which means I can keep my current job and either Foxy or I will just need to find something part-time to supplement that income--she's hoping to teach at UVU. There aren't a lot of full-time prospects in Utah right now because everyone has a hiring freeze, but sooner or later something will come up, perhaps at the library I worked at for three years and would love to go back to, and we'll settle into something more permanent. Above all, the thought of moving back to Utah doesn't make me want to curl into a ball and hide. As an added bonus, our daughter, who is tired of being jerked around and would have otherwise hated the idea of moving yet again, is excited about being closer to her cousins.

So to our Utah friends and family: We're excited to see you in June.

To our California friends: Sorry. We love you. We'll visit.

16 comments:

Edgy said...

Upon reaching the end of paragraph three, I clapped my hands and bounced up and down in my chair. It makes me feel so childish. But, then, I don't really care.

So, are you talking beginning or end of June? Do you want to join my Boys Only Book Club? (It's a response to one guy's wife's two book clubs that won't let him participate because of his dangling participle.) If so, in June we're reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Yes, June was my choice. But it rocks. I'm enjoying it so much more than The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which is May's selection.

Mr. Fob said...

We're not sure on a date yet but we're thinking mid-June. The book club sounds like fun--I think I will join.

Julie said...

Hurray!! But to be fair, you should not live in Utah county, you'd be too far from us. Plus there are more way crazy mormon people down there than up here.

Edgy said...

Julie's right. You would be utterly miserable in Utah County. You probably want to live downtown so you can continue to ride your bikes to the weekly farmers market.

Rebecca said...

As weird as Utah can be, I think it's a pretty nice place to live. The weather is generally nice, the people are generally nice, and the mountains are beautiful (you totally thought I was going to say the mountains are generally nice, didn't you? Don't assume you know me, Mr. Fob). Plus, if you live in the Provo/Orem area, everything is DESERTED on Sunday, which I like - I used to do all my shopping, go to the movies, go to brunch/lunch, run errands, all without crowds. Ahhh, I miss that.

This move gets 3.5 stars from me (the -.5 star is just because, well, it IS Utah...).

santorio said...

my wife really struggled with this. she had always seen herself going for a phd after her masters, but then two things happened: kids with the realization that she didn't want to leave them in daycare, and my professional training taking us to locations without easy access to phd programs she was interested in. by the time we settled in seattle with UW around the corner, she was 45 (she was 30 when we married), and she just couldn't get herself back in the student mode. and she's an cultural snob. she looks down not only on UW (her masters is from harvard) but on seattle arts (we lived in nyc for several years). the trouble is that the regret continues. she took the road more travelled by and can't keep herself from looking back. a tragic irony: a liberal, feminist, agnostic mormon, making the decision to be a stay at home mom.

Mr. Fob said...

Julie: But some of those crazy Mormon people are my family. We love them for their craziness. We'll visit you frequently. So frequently, in fact, that you'll be glad to have an hour's commute between us.

Edgy: If we were deciding based on what kind of city we want to live in, we'd be all over SLC. But then we probably wouldn't be in Utah in the first place. Eventually we'll settle down wherever I get a good job, but for now we'll be looking for a place in Orem.

Rebecca: I totally agree with your assessment. I give us 3.5 stars too. Please forgive me for making assumptions about you.

Santorio: That's what I was worried about with Foxy, but I think really the PhD is the thing she felt like she SHOULD do and being a mom is what she wants. At least for now. She thinks she might get an MLIS eventually so she can return to her first love, libraries.

Th. said...

.

We will weep copious tears.

Mr. Fob said...

We'll weep with you. Let's have a weepfest.

Kristeee said...

Orem isn't the most happening or forward-thinking place, but it's nice enough. :) There are, however, really a lot of houses for sale here right now. There are at least 5 within walking distance of our house. Are you looking to buy or rent?

green mormon architect said...

HOORAY! That is very exciting. And I know how you feel about moving so much - it is a huge pain.

Edgy - I had a group of guys committed to start a guys-only book club in Portland and then we ended up moving to Utah. If you are taking volunteers and are open to another 'friend of ben' I would be interested in joining as well. :)

Mr. Fob said...

Kristeee: I actually like Orem quite a bit. We'll be renting for now, until I get a full-time job. Hopefully that'll happen soon enough that the market will still be good for buying.

GMA: Yeah, I'm pretty excited about it too.

Edgy: I recommend GMA for inclusion in your book group. In fact, I was going to even if he hadn't asked.

Melyngoch said...

Why does no one ever think "Where shall we move in order to make our lives happy?" and come up with the answer "Indiana!"

Mr. Fob said...

Do I really need to answer that? Okay, I will: Yes, surely moving to Indiana right now would bring us a pure ecstasy like no one before has known, but then in a couple years you'd be done with school and move somewhere else, and we'd have nothing. Nothing. We're just trying to think of the long term here.

Melyngoch said...

"a couple years"

That's the most optimistic thing I've heard in months.

Mr. Fob said...

Sorry, I was just exaggerating for effect.