I probably shouldn’t try to write this, because I probably won’t finish it. But, foolishly, here I go anyway.
Sarah has had enough. Enough with her current job, enough with having Lyme, enough with living in her childhood bedroom, and, like all of us, enough with the pandemic. In her mind, she is stuck in neutral, and she would like to pop her life into drive. I don’t blame her. She’s been very responsible during this pandemic, avoiding travel, parties, and even smaller social interactions. She has worried that she would either bring the virus to the patients she works with at the eye doctor or she’d bring the virus from work to her friends.
She had applied to a lot of schools to become a physician assistant, but hasn’t gotten any acceptances. It has been a discouraging experience. Likewise, living with Lyme for this past year has been both painful and frustrating. She has headaches, muscle aches, and numbness, and those symptoms come and go, switch locations, and vary in severity. She’s never missed work, but she has had days where it has been really hard push through. She’s had a variety of different treatments prescribed, and none have worked thus far. Now she sees a doctor in NYC, who has seemed very knowledgeable, but to this point, she hasn’t seen much of a change. It is, as one might imagine, affecting her spirit and her mental health.
So, when she applied for a new job on Thursday, and got immediate calls the next morning, when she was able to schedule two interviews for that evening, and when she then got two job offers within an hour, she was feeling pretty pumped for the first time in a long time.
But there was a hitch.
The job offers were for jobs in Oregon. That’s a mere 3000 miles from where we live. On top of that, the job she really liked starts on April 5, and, oh by the way, they need an answer on Monday.
This wouldn’t allow Sarah much chance to give fair notice to the doctor she works for. It also would mean she needs to get her car across the country. It also would mean that she probably needs to find a new doctor. She’s not sure how common Lyme is on the West Coast. We know it’s not just a Connecticut thing, but are there specialists there? She’s only been seeing this current doctor for three months. She’s worried that if she turns down the jobs, there won’t be other offers. The job market is not exactly terrific right now. She worries that turning it down will mean she’s just sentenced herself to a longer time in her current situation.
Selfishly, I don’t really want her going all the way across the country. Neither does my wife. We’re concerned about her health, both physical and emotional. I’m not so sure she’ll like being so far from her friends, most of whom are local or in New York or Washington.
I’m reminded of the foolish decisions I’ve made, some of which I’ve regretted, and others that turned out much better than I had expected. As a 15-year-old in my last summer at camp, I turned down a week-long canoe trip in Canada’s La Verendrye Preserve because I had a bad hunch about the person I was going to be stuck in a canoe with. I skipped the trip. Those who went still talk about it. That was a regrettable move.
When I was six-months out of college, I made a decision to move back to my college town without a job lined up. I gave up a boring job in Washington so that I could be nearer to my girlfriend, who wouldn’t graduate for another 6 months. It was a risky move, though my destination was more like 300 miles away and to a place I knew well, not Oregon. It was also not during a pandemic, and I was in good health. Even so, it may not have seemed like a wise move to my parents, but then again, I’m still married to that girl. I don’t regret that seemingly rash decision.
More recently, as I wrote this week, my family made an emotional decision (as opposed to a rational one) to get a puppy last March. It was neither sensible nor practical, but it turned out to save our year.
It’s hard to counsel a child without injecting your own biases. The truth is, I don’t know what she should do. My heart says that I don’t want to lose my daughter to the West Coast. I don’t want her to be isolated. I don’t want her to be by herself when she’s sick. On the other hand, some of my experiences say that taking a risk is what young people need to do.
I started this post saying, “I probably shouldn’t try to write this, because I probably won’t finish it. ”
“But, foolishly, here I go anyway.”
Post Script: This evening Sarah informed me that she didn’t plan to take the job. She may be a bit more sensible than her father.