I moved frequently as a young child.  Until I was 10, I never lived anywhere more than about 18 months; one place as little as two weeks (where I was born), totaling seven states (multiple cities in several) and one other country.   Then, we settled and stayed in the same town until I graduated from highschool.  I went to college about as far away as I could from my hometown.  After college graduation, I moved to the big city, where mr. jolt had moved a year earlier. 

I remember vividly my first days in the city.  I was one of the fortunate few of my graduating class that had a job (it was the early 90s), but I had a few weeks before it started.  The city was completely overwhelming to me, having spent all my formative years in small towns, outer suburbs, or or rural areas.  And it took forever to feel connected, to feel like I had any stake in the city and what happened to it.  Twelve years later, when I felt like I owned the city, when I knew my immediate neighborhood inside out, we moved several hours away.

Once again, it took a lot of time to feel connected.  I now feel like I have a decent circle of friends – people I do girl’s night out with, couples we have over for dinner, families we do playdates with.  But I still find it hard to become invested in the local community, other than the school that the boys go to.

A large part of this is that I have no idea how long we’ll be here.  As an academic,  mr. jolt would like to be at a larger university, to be part of a larger academic community.  While this is a great area to raise kids in, and we wouldn’t be unhappy if we were here until the kids went to college, we would be putting some career aspirations aside to do so (my ‘dream job’ isn’t available here).

It makes it hard on a lot of little levels – do I paint the house to cover the thousands of scrapes, dents, etc. made by the boys?  Or do I wait until just before we put the house on the market?  Do I bother replacing the hideous drapes left in the front of the house by the previous owners, or not bother?  Do I gun it at work with the idea of leaping up the ladder in some of our sister organizations? (there’s nowhere to go where I am unless somebody moves or dies)  Or do I work hard enough to do well, do a B+ effort because I won’t be here long enough to move up?  Should we move into a better school district, or do we not bother because we may not be here in a year or two?

All of this combines to form a sense of rootlessness, of disconnectedness.   I don’t deal well with uncertainty, generally speaking.  And yet, I’ve become used to a sense of underlying uncertainty that infects all my decisions.  There is no predictability in the lateral academic market — you never know when an opportunity at a school one is interested in will open up.  And even if you hear of an opportunity, it may be a place that one has absolutely no intention of moving to (this has happened once or twice to mr. jolt already).

Anyway, I have been constantly gnawing at this issue, like a baby on a teething ring, and I still haven’t figured out any solutions.  Every few months, mr. jolt will hear of a rumor here, rumor there of possible opportunities and we evaluate – do we have any interest in moving wherever it is?  Should he pursue it?  So far, none of the opportunities has been worth chasing.  None of the locales would make it worth uprooting.  In part, we both would like the next move to be IT, at least until the boys go to college, but more and more, I think that is an unrealistic expectation.  Recently, mr. jolt heard of a possibility that is not, on its face, out of the question.  We’re having dinner together Saturday night to belatedly celebrate our dating anniversary and the question of whether to explore the option will be heavily discussed.