Around 1998-1999, I had a feeling that I needed a change. It wasn’t a “things will change” feeling, but rather a “things should change,” that my work was becoming progressively less fulfilling, that I had no real way of moving forward by staying there. Even so, I wanted to stay there; stagnant or not, Intermedia seemed to have the potential of a career job, and I was happy to have been there going on four years while so many friends and acquaintances were doing a frantic dot-com tango I expected could only end in collapse. (Mind you, I wasn’t expecting the kind of economic meltdown that did happen.) So I ended up staying there, until Intermedia was bought, and one of the opportunities I occasionally pursued came together shortly thereafter.
While getting out of Intermedia at that time proved a good idea (the company that bought them was WorldCom), the company I moved to had more than its share of problems; looking back at my journal during that time shows an amount of acerbic unhappiness that surprised me when I read it recently. At the start of 2002, I had the same kind of feeling, but this time it was definitely a things will change; I wrote in March that I’d started the year with the strong feeling that I’d finish it living somewhere else. And, of course, in the middle of that year I was laid off, and by the end of the year, I was living out here.
This is on my mind now because that feeling of impending change is back with me. In some ways it’s never left. Since I’ve been here, I’ve never felt completely settled. My life has continued to feel “transitional,” even though I’ve been in the same place for two and a half years. I’d expected, with no timetable, I’d get a stable job which would pay me enough to move out on my own if I wanted to.
Well, that could easily be another $500 in monthly expenses. This job could actually cover the money part, I think… but the stable part, not so much.
So what’s bringing on this feeling of impending change? In part, the project that I’m on at work is winding to a close, and I have to know whether they’ll be interested in keeping me for the planned second phase or for other projects. (When I was hired, the contract was described as being “two to nine months,” and I’ve been here over six.) There’s some change coming, although I don’t know what it’s going to entail.
I’m also not sure what my housemates might be thinking of doing. This is not to suggest that I’m expecting them to do anything like sell the house and move together to Alaska, but from the degree of restlessness both of them have evinced recently, it wouldn’t completely surprise me, either. (Well, okay, Alaska would.)
So between the possibility of a lack of income, and the more remote but greater than zero possibility of housemates looking another place to live themselves, I suspect I need to be ready to move. Not to plan on it, but to… y’know, contemplate contingencies. Think about where I’d go, both in the Bay Area and, if necessary, elsewhere. I like a lot of what I’ve seen around downtown San Jose, even though this boggles many friends when I say it. There’s some interesting places lurking around the East Bay, too. Of course, I liked Santa Fe when I visited there a few years ago, and I liked Portland a lot when I visited there just a few months ago. Moving there would be starting just about completely from scratch, but that doesn’t scare me as much now as it did three years ago.
You know, if I had about four times the savings that I have now (and a quarter the debt), I’d probably be more prosaic about this feeling, but as it is, it leaves me… prickly. The part of me that half-jokes about selling everything but the laptop, getting a used camper van and driving around the country is in ascendance these days. (Or another country. One might argue that there’s never been a better time to become an expatriate.)
I don’t have quite the same feeling that I did in 1999, and in 2002, but it’s close.
I hope this isn’t going to end up being a three-year cycle for me.