I’m back in California now… back in the bay area, a region of the country that I have grown to love. I don’t feel completely reconnected yet, but truthfully I don’t think I’d necessarily feel connected no matter where I was. Part of the things that connect us to an area are missing for me at the moment, and it’s simply a matter of time and effort before I manage to get those things back in my life.
One of the big things that connect us to some place, that makes us feel as if we’re at home and we belong, is a job. Unfortunately, I still don’t have one of those, but I’ve only been back for two weeks or so. I’ve been looking diligently, and have sent out quite a few resumes already. I’ve even managed to have an interview already, something that eluded me for the longest time.
The interview I had was for a company that I’ve always admired. My best friend helped get my resume onto the right desk, in front of the right set of eyeballs, and I took it from there. In actuality, I’m sure I did well in the interview. It was conducted over the phone, so I missed out on the all-important body language and eye contact, but by the end it was less of an interview and more like two friends chatting on the phone. I felt like I connected with the other person and that I had reached through the phone and made an impression. He mentioned that he would be moving forward on the process and sending my resume up to the next guy in the hiring chain. so that’s always a good sign.
After careful consideration, though, I had to email the guy and tell him that I couldn’t in good conscience move forward on the process. Now, for someone who has been out of a job for as long as I have, that’s a pretty difficult thing to do, but I do not regret doing it, nor do I think I made the wrong decision. The job required up to 60% travel time, being on the road both domestically and internationally. The job itself was as a technical instructor, something I would love to do and a job I think I could excel at. However, I have reached a point in my life where I do not relish the thought of half my life being spent in hotels and airports in strange cities. I also have a dog and a cat that wouldn’t react well to traveling that much or being left alone. I absolutely refuse to kennel my dog for half his life, so leaving him behind isn’t an option.
I know some people would say “oh, it’s a dog, it’s not that important and if he gets in the way you need to get rid of him” but those people aren’t dog people. Those people aren’t animal lovers and those people don’t understand nor do they comprehend the commitment you make when you bring an animal into your life. They aren’t just part of your life when it’s convenient. I have never understood people that take a dog to the pound or sell it because “oh, well, we moved and our new place doesn’t allow dogs” or “oh it just wasn’t convenient anymore.”
There is, of course, much more to my decision than just my dog. Part of what I missed about being home is my connection to the community, my feeling of being plugged in and a part of the local scene. I have been to every state in the Union throughout my life, I have been to about a dozen foreign countries, and I have never felt connected and plugged in no matter where I went… until I moved to the bay area. This is the first place I’ve ever felt roots, the first place I’ve ever felt like I truly belonged and I want to keep that in my life. Being on the road, bouncing between Detroit and Toledo and Boston and Denver in an infinite loop of travel takes you completely away from that, prevents you from sinking roots and doesn’t really give you time to settle.
I’m 38 years old now, which admittedly isn’t old but I’m sure not 22 anymore either. I’ve grown to appreciate the comforts of sleeping in my own bed every night, of knowing where everything is around me and drawing comfort from routine. I spent a couple of years as an over-the-road longhaul truckdriver and I am not interested in being a gypsy anymore. I also eventually want a stable committed relationship, and being constantly on the road isn’t exactly confidence-building when it comes time to convince a woman that you’ll be there whenever and wherever she needs you. Lord knows I have enough other baggage to bring to the table when I finally am ready for that commitment, the last thing I need is to add being away from home half my life to the mix. Any sane woman would run away from me waving her arms in the air and screaming if I were to bring all that to the table.
I eventually will find what I want and need. I have to have confidence in that. In the interim, I’m just going to enjoy being back home, in the only place I’ve ever felt like I truly belonged.