“Hope is the positive feeling that results from a person’s belief that he or she controls a situation and can thus be successful in achieving important goals. Hopelessness or despair is the opposite: the sense that one isn’t in control and that extremely important goals are thus likely to be unattainable.” – Jeffery L. Butler, Positive Academic Leadership
I was tired of living in a state of despair. I was tired of feeling like everything was out of my control, that my goals were essentially unattainable. On a long-delayed date night with my husband, I finally blurted out, “let’s do it. Let’s move to the city.” We had long toyed with the idea, but this seemed like a best time. Our daughter was bored out of her mind at school, and at age seven, it was entirely unacceptable. We had no choice for schools where we lived. Our son was about to start kindergarten, so a move now would make the most sense. But we, as a family, needed a change.
The plan, secretly at this point, was to work on expanding my freelance work over the summer to almost match my current salary and then pick up a few courses (shudder) to make up the difference. It wasn’t a far-fetched idea. I would also look for a job, but ultimately, I thought I could freelance at least for the year while continuing to look for a job, here or elsewhere. I was tired of being only part of myself. I was tired of being out of control. So I took control back.
It felt good to have hope again. Even if at this point my husband and I were the only ones who knew of our plan, it felt good to make plans again, plans that relied only on our own will and drive to get it done. I had planned to move over the summer, but the idea was that we would be moving because I had gotten a new job and we were moving because of that. Instead, we were moving because it was what was best for our family. This was a goal we could achieve, a goal we could make work, a goal that would benefit us.
But first, we still had to get through the rest of the winter semester. The weather did get nicer, which also helped. But the grading started coming in in waves. The budget rumors on campus wouldn’t stop. For a little while longer, I still needed to divide myself into two different beings, keeping the best parts of me still at bay, just for a little while longer.
And then, near the end of the month, we suddenly and unexpectedly sold our house (let’s just say news, no matter how thin a rumor, travels fast in a small town). What was a theory quickly became a reality as we had to be out by June 1. All of our “extra” energy was now directed towards finding a new place to live and packing and purging and moving. We were getting what we wanted, and it was unbelievably fast-moving.
And so we embraced it.