15 May 2006
Cat, Bag, Out
Whew. I’ve been holding my breath and biting my tongue on this for so long, it’s really cramped my blogging style. Finally, today I can write about it. I’m up-heaving our lives!
During a long walk during the winter time, Carolyn and I took stock of our lives as we tend to do during long walks together. We found ourselves out in the cold, walking among the depressed (and depressing) houses of Altoona with our baby daughter strapped to us. We thought about where we were, and where we wanted to be. Carolyn was just coming off of her maternity leave and was back to teaching. Fortunately, she only had two courses in the spring, and as a professor got to be home more than most other full-time professionals, but it wasn’t enough. She wanted to be home full-time with Sam. While I enjoy being with my daughter (usually), I was missing the intellectual stimulation, camaraderie, and information streams (and income stream) that came with my former professional career. We fantasized about living somewhere with nice weather, with plentiful opportunities for Sam. We thought about my working full time in computers generally, not daring to think I could get back into games/entertainment. We thought about Carolyn getting to follow creative pursuits so long abandoned for career and child. Of these fantasies, a dream was spawned, and we were again taught one of our big lessons from life: Beware what you ask for, you may get it.
On a whim, I followed a link from a friend-of-a-friend’s blog that indicated that Linden Lab, the creator of Second Life was hiring. And, indeed, they still are. I sent my resume to the friend-of-a-friend to pass along as she saw fit. She did so, and I was contacted by someone else, again with only one degree of separation (we have a mutual colleague) and given a phone screen. I apparently passed it as I did a subsequent programming test, on-location interview, and followup phone call with the CEO. They offered, we haggled, I accepted. I can only write about this today because Carolyn tendered her resignation today. It’s now public.
We’re moving out to the San Francisco, CA area (likely Oakland, maybe Berkeley) so that I can be a senior web developer for Linden Lab. Carolyn will stay home and be Sam’s primary care provider, writing, reading, singing, studying and teaching (or none of those) as her heart desires. While it is certainly a more traditional family structure than we’ve had to date, we feel like it is the best configuration for our family for now. We’re excited by the opportunities that we think Sam (and the rest of us) will be afforded by being in the bay area. We’re excited by the weather. I’m excited by my future employer.
And we’re scared witless. (Did I misspell that? Should it have started with an ‘sh’?) We’re giving up some great things too. We love our house here. As I sit and type this, I can glance past my monitor over the neighbor’s roof to see the lush, rising green of Brush mountain. Our home here flows wonderfully, and we settled into it comfortably pervading every nook and cranny.
We love people here. I grew up in the South, and I feel like I have a handle on friendly. The people here, by and large, have been the friendliest, most helpful and thoughtful people I have run across. We’ve made some amazing friends in our short time here, and I’m going to miss them sorely.
We’re also giving up a proximity to all of our close family. Carolyn’s parents go from being a 4-hour drive away to a 6-hour flight, and while driving “America’s Dream Highway” is sometimes the kind of “dream” you wake up from in cold sweats, flying commercially these days is hardly a picnic either. My mom and her beau drive their RV lifestyle up and down the east coast, but haven’t trekked it across the continent yet. Likewise, our visits from Santa (my dad) will fall off given the time commitment involved in a drive (or train trip) across the country.
A number of our friends who dispersed from Charlottesville have made recent returns there, and we’ll be further from that ‘home’ than we’ve ever been before.
So, it’s a big step for us; A leap, in fact. But it’s one I’m glad we’re making. Had we decided to stay in Altoona, what “might have been” would have haunted me, maybe for the rest of my life. Sam’s too young to learn this lesson now, but I hope we’re doing right by her with this move. Not only by providing her the resources and opportunities in the Bay area, but by teaching by example that it’s OK to leave the safe and secure behind to follow your dreams.