Six weeks ago, I was living in
with a full-time research job, a live-in girlfriend, and a consulting business that helped me pay the bills. Today, I find myself living in Delaware with my mother, consulting for an indefinite period of time with my former employer (and by indefinite, I mean that it could end at any moment), separated from my girlfriend of 16 months, and looking for employment and/or consulting work in the D.C. area. Coral Gables, Florida
I know I have a lot to be grateful for: my mother is still able to live relatively independently at age 69, I am still working at this moment when so many others (including my girlfriend) are not, my family members still have jobs, and I have friends and family that love me. Still, I can’t help but feel like I woke up one morning and found myself in a completely different life. So what happened?
In July, I found myself in the middle of a confluence of events. The lease on my rental house had expired and my landlord wanted me to continue to pay the same amount of rent on the property as when I moved in, despite the fact that the local housing market had lost over 30% of its value in the past 18 months. The rent on comparable houses had dropped by $400 per month and there were at least 20 empty houses waiting for tenants on my street. My employer had lost all but one contract and he was borrowing money on a semi-regular basis to make payroll. I was informed that layoffs were eminent. In addition, I was the lone remaining full-time researcher at the organization and I was trying to do the work of two people. Needless to say I was constantly running behind on projects and deadlines. Each day I felt like I was falling further and further down a well. Finally, my mother had developed some new medical and financial issues that needed closer attention.
Initially, I began looking for new housing options in
South Florida, both short-term housing and regular leases. However, I was immediately forced to face the facts that a) short-term housing was even more expensive than what I was currently paying for rent, b) I did not want to sign a new lease when I wasn’t sure if I would have a job in a couple of months, c) if I did still have a job, my work hours might be cut to the point that I would not be able to afford the new place, and d) while I could stay with friends in Miami for a short period of time, my fourteen year-old Siamese cat was a deal breaker. I reluctantly consulted with my friends and my two brothers for advice and began to examine other options.
I had been ready to leave
since October 2005, when the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma left me injured and unceremoniously dumped by my then-girlfriend. However, the past four years had been filled with one major medical issue after another coupled with instability in my living arrangements and my personal life. The time had just never seemed right to make the move out of Florida . Florida
But in the midst of this current turmoil, I sensed an opportunity to not only escape a negative housing and employment situation but also to embrace change, assist my mother with some issues, and return to my mid-Atlantic roots. So here I am again living in
Delaware (temporarily, I hope) after sixteen years of life in Orlando, Baltimore, Laurel (MD), and South Florida. I am not sure exactly why I ended up back here at this point in time, contemplating my future. Perhaps it is simply to help my mother, perhaps it is to give me some time and space to make some life-changing decisions, perhaps I am here paying off some form of karmic debt, or perhaps I am supposed to be getting some much-needed rest.
I’m not exactly happy to be here, but each day as I feel and see the creep of fall dancing ever closer to me for the first time in ten years; I feel a strange kind of peace deep inside. Peace that comes from knowing that despite my many questions about my career, my relationship, and my future, right now I feel that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I am poised on the brink of a whole new path, a new beginning, a new life and I am waiting to embrace it with open arms.
And in early Fall 2009 that is the view from here…