After a far-too-long hiatus from Healthy Yuppies during which I was busy, well, moving upward, I’m back with tons of yuppie topics to write about.
In April, my husband John accepted a Ph.D. fellowship at the University of Minnesota. In August, we bought our first home in downtown Minneapolis and moved across the country from Florida. I initially transferred to my company’s Minnesota headquarters, but in November accepted a new job offer downtown.
Graduate school, relocation, job hunting, career moves, relationship give-and-take and downtown living – I feel like a Yuppie microcosm this year! I have all sorts of in-depth thoughts from our adventures, but in the true spirit of the pending New Year I’ll begin with my top 5 lessons learned in 2012:
1. Good decisions aren’t always easy. I thought for sure once I knew where I’d be for the next 5 years, buying a condo to invest our money would be easy. And once I’d received a job at a company I wanted to work for, getting started would be a cinch. But alas, my condo purchase was a painfully long and drawn-out process with a lot of wrong turns, and my new job has had its ups and downs like any other. Maybe this is the time in life when you learn that every little step of the way takes sense and sensibility in an even-keeled balance. Nothing is a Cinderella-slipper fit that just feels perfect right away – there’s always a decision to be made, a checklist to follow and an adjustment period.
2. Isolation and dependence can strengthen your relationship. So many people were concerned when we announced our move – rightly so. Not only were we moving across the country to a place where we didn’t know a soul, but in today’s gender-equal society, I was a girl following a guy seemingly without regard to my independent dreams. But I don’t think anyone knew just how closely John and I had worked to make all of this happen. John didn’t apply to a school that wasn’t in a northern big city because he knew that’s where I wanted to be. I helped him with grad school applications, he helped me figure out my next career move. And in the end, being far away from friends and family, while it has its downsides, has definitely brought us closer together as we figure out who we want to be on our own and rely on each other to make it happen. Sometimes finding happiness means teamwork, not independence.
3. Life is about the big picture, not the individual pixel. This is a decision I had to make this year among all of our happenings: Was I going to focus on the perfection of every little decision, or how the big picture turns out? I had never been to Minnesota and came from a culture that made fun of the Midwest ruthlessly. As a writer, I never saw myself working for an HR department in a bank. But the big picture I had in my head for myself was this: An exciting city life where I could walk to work downtown, experience culture, observe all kinds of people and get some snow in the winter. In the end, a little realistic compromise, a focus on that big-picture dream and a lot of luck landed me just that. I live a walkable downtown life in the coldest big city in the U.S., I work at a large corporation downtown, and on my way to and from work I pass dozens of interesting restaurants, buildings, attractions and types of people that expand my mind a little bit every day.
4. You don’t always know what’s best for you, but the Universe does. I’m the kind of yuppie that had my life planned out far ahead of me, and like most of us, it hasn’t worked out as planned. In college, I swore I wouldn’t consider marriage ’til I was 30. I got married at 22 – yes 22! – and I’m thankful that I did every single day. Then John and I planned on moving to the northeast, but we got stuck in Florida after a long hard out-of-state job search. Even when he decided to go to grad school, he didn’t get into any of his Boston school choices despite a stellar GRE score and academic history. University of Minnesota it was, and they didn’t have the robotics track he wanted to pursue. Low and behold, we land in Minneapolis to a downtown life we wouldn’t have been able to afford in Boston, a much friendlier job market for me, and (this is the real kicker) our first week here John was invited to join a brand new Ph.D. track – yes, in robotics. Thanks Universe! I promise to stop doubting you and go with the flow. Or at least try.
5. There’s always something to look forward to. Once our cross-country move was over and I’d secured a new downtown job, I had a moment similar to post-holiday depression: Now what? It’s the curse of the yuppie to never be satisfied with today and always be looking toward tomorrow. But after a few months of adjustment I found I’d already created new goals for myself, both immediate (read more, make friends in Minneapolis, network within my company) and down the road (move to Europe, write a novel). There’s always more to look forward to, and the best part is, the more goals you reach the bigger the next ones become.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year yuppies!