Man, this year!
This time last year, Alex found out he was accepted into 2 excellent MBA programs and in the 365 days since, it’s been a ride. Perfectly happy with our life in Denver and really excited about my then new-ish job and it’s potential, I was not jazzed to think about what 2015 would bring for me, personally, or our little family.
After much deliberation and consideration, I decided in April to tell my company that I was moving to Pittsburgh with Alex. In my heart, I always knew it was the right decision but I dragged my feet, knowing that moving away from Denver would likely mean a stunt in my career growth. It’s been hard to reconcile two very different, seemingly mutually exclusive things: if I moved to Pittsburgh, I’d be limiting my career and sacrificing growth; if I stayed in Denver, I would be sacrificing my relationship with my husband. I felt like I was between a giant rock and an un-budging hard place and couldn’t ignore the weight of the decision.
Fortunately, my company allowed me to stay on as a remote employee and I moved to Pittsburgh in August. We spent 2.5 really great weeks on the road as a last hurrah of our dual income/same schedule life before landing in Western PA. We camped at the Grand Canyon, stayed a few nights in Vegas, swung back through Colorado to pick up Philly and ventured east, seeing friends and family along the way. (More here.)
The first weeks and months in Pittsburgh were rough, emotionally. I’d ‘lost’ everything I knew and loved in Denver and was in a new city, working remotely, with a husband who was already in the thick of his MBA program and had very little free time. I felt sad and sorry for myself a lot in those early days.
Adjusting to the ‘remote employee’ life has taken some time but I’ve finally found a cadence that works for me for right now. I’ve found friends and am learning how to get around in Pittsburgh with less reliance on Google Maps. I cry a lot less tears these days than when we first arrived – so that’s a plus! But many days, I miss our ‘old life’ in Denver: the city, the community, our friends, our routine.
This past week, I was back in Denver for work and it was especially wonderful as Tuesday brought a snow storm that dumped nearly a foot of snow before the system moved out (PA has been too warm this winter – it’s 65* today!). I spent a week working in the office, staying in an AirBnB in my old neighborhood, eating at my favorite restaurants and feeling so happy to be back. We had a company-wide meeting to discuss 2015 and where we’re going in 2016 – all exciting things! – and celebrated our incredible growth with a really fun holiday party.
In my year end review, I earned a promotion and I’m not ashamed to admit I found myself wiping tears – happy tears, this time! After a hard year, emotionally, and questioning how working remotely would affect my career, it felt really great to know that I’m not ‘out of sight, out of mind.’
To cap off a great week, I spent Saturday flying down the mountain with my girlfriends at Keystone. It was such a blast to be with the friends I’ve missed, catching up and laughing the whole day.
I boarded my flight home on Sunday with a full heart. The week in Denver was one of the best I had in 2015 and was a great way to close out this year of change. I’m excited to spend the next 2 weeks with my husband, family and friends and celebrate the holidays; I’m even more inspired to welcome 2016 and hit the ground running.
I have big goals for making life in Pittsburgh feel more like my own; it’s hard to not feel like 2 years in grad school mean living in limbo while we bide our time before the next adventure. I’ve let myself feel that way for these first 4 months and it’s not helpful or accurate. There is a lot I can do to thrive in PA while we’re here. Gotta bloom where you’re planted, right?
So in 2016, I have no doubts there will be a lot less tears in store and I can’t wait to get started.