JB is struggling to try and keep his business alive. His beard is shot through with grey, his eyes are perpetually worried. The FDA has buried them in red tape and clumsy, expensive bureaucracy; the market is tough; it takes money to make money; shit happens.

It is a scary and tough time for him, and for us. We worry about paying the bills, about keeping our health insurance. We think about the future and how the reality of dreams is that they’re filled with realities. I think about how money and stability is a trap, I think about what comforts I’m willing to give up and what risks I’m willing to take and I don’t know what the answer is.

I think, well, if the worst happens . . . what if we just picked up and left? What if instead of JB looking for something else with the right salary, what if we just sold our house and moved to Oregon where we have always talked about living? What if what we really want is a slower-paced life in a rural setting and we’ll never get there if we stay on the treadmill where we are now? What if that’s where we want to raise our kids and it used to seem like we had forever to think about it but my god, our kids are growing so fast and soon enough not making a change is a choice in and of itself? What if we gambled it all on the hope that everything would work out? What if we just broke right the fuck out of the trap?

But, of course, what if it didn’t work out? What if we couldn’t find jobs, what if we ran out of money, what if we lost coverage for my stupid asshole $2500/month medication, what if we didn’t have a house? What if the trap isn’t a trap at all, what if it’s the whole point?

I know we already have the most important things we need. But as for everything else—what’s best for them, what’s best for all of us—I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.

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jacqueline
jacqueline
12 years ago

I think that it is awful – to have to make choices based around health insurance of all things. As much as I think the US is a wonderful place – stuff like this makes me angry.

I am sorry you are in this situation. :(

Erin
12 years ago

I can really relate to this post. There was a point last year when I thought, “If this is the American dream, I’m not so sure it’s all it’s cracked up to be”.

My advice: make a decision before your kids start elementary school. My son is just finishing second grade and I feel like we can’t move out of the neighborhood because I can’t deal with having him have to start all over making friends. (Granted, that has to do with me moving a ton as a kid and I remember how hard it was to start over each time.)

Decide what you both really want and then go for it if it’s a change. I have no doubt you’d land on your feet and a life made by choice is much more powerful than a life staying in a comfort zone. (Especially when the comfort zone isn’t all that comfortable any more.)

That’s my two sense (not that you asked).

kathleen
kathleen
12 years ago

i can’t imagine how hard and confusing and stressful these decisions are, but i do know, not just believe, but know that the only way things work out is if you gamble hope. i want to whisper in your ear: go for it.

Liz
Liz
12 years ago

We talk about this All The Time.
On the one hand … yes, god, yes to raise my kids in a less stressful place. But on the other … what if I miss this, all of this? The opportunity, the proximity to … to, I don’t know, all that there is being offered. The choices, I guess. What if taking those away is harmful?

I don’t think it would be. But I don’t know. I just wonder if I’m not so conditioned to being on the treadmill that I might go crazy if I hopped off.

g~
g~
12 years ago

I think it’s kind of normal to reach our stage in life and look around and think, “Wow, what the hell are we waiting for? Our lives have already STARTED while we’ve been waiting to grow up!” It’s like you turn around and realize that you’ve been MISSING *it* while you’ve been busy…and that god-awful realization that you don’t want to miss it any more. I think this is truly what life lists are all about–not about that trip to Disney but making your life what you want it to be. No help with the decision-making but a hearty “right there with ya!”

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
12 years ago

Oh Linda, we are in a similar boat. I was the main breadwinner in our house for 10 years. I worked for a huge Biotech company and planned on working there until I retired. I loved my job too. Then in October I got laid off and now they are closing the site I worked at. I have been so confused for the past 8 months.

Change is good though, so I’ve learned. I’m not working right now because I can’t with Eric being out of school soon for the summer, and we can’t afford to pay somebody to watch him while we are both at work. Plus I live in the middle of nowhere so finding decent childcare is hard.

I don’t know what will happen. I may go back to school, I may not. I may try to find a job that has nothing to do with the Biotech industry, or find a job related to my degree in Animal Science. Right now I don’t know.

Like I said before, change is good though.

Hang in there :)

Valerie
Valerie
12 years ago

My husband was laid of over a year ago. The same month he graduated from school. We then had a 18 month old, and I wasn’t working. I foruntaly found a job, but very quickly found out I was pregnant with my second baby. I had a mortgage for $308,000.00 I tried to short sale it, and received an offer of $95,000.00. Long story short. We lost our house, we live with his parents, he is still looking for a job. we are dead broke, and I couldn’t be happier.

Sometimes, you just have to decide what you want, and not necessarily right now, but maybe a year from now, and just jump in.

Apply for jobs in Oregon. You’ll regret it if you don’t. You may fail, and you may not end up there, you may end up in your parents basement. But, you’ll realize that somethings i.e. cable, internet, all the “extra” stuff, isn’t worth it and doesn’t matter anymore.

Good Luck.

shelagh
shelagh
12 years ago

I’m right there with you. Here’s my go to thoughts for moments like these (the distillation of several years of therapy, thanks):

1. Something Will Happen (this one always sounds dumb until you think about it – I like to make the SWH be of my own making as often as possible)
2. If Effort Was Made, You’re Good (this will be the summation on the memorial marker regarding me at the end of my life: Effort Was Made!),
3. The Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda’s Will Absolutely Kill You
4. What Do You Really Have to Lose?

Bridget
12 years ago

Not that this helps at all, but at least you’re asking yourself these important questions instead of just going along for the ride – working 8-5 because that’s just what life is, isn’t it? Sometimes I think asking those types of questions means that we have greater chances for happiness, and sometimes I think it just adds one more source of worry and frustration.

Melissa H
12 years ago

I’m with Jacqueline that it totally sucks that health insurance has to play into your decision but I totally get it as my hubby’s meds are in a similar price range. Without insurance we’d be screwed and it makes us both cling to our jobs and not really consider alternatives. Good luck with everything!

NancyJ
NancyJ
12 years ago

15 years ago this month, my husband, son and I sold our home, packed up and moved from California to Connecticut. Granted, we had family here and my father’s house to buy but we still had to fend for ourselves. And we did. But I forgot to mention 8 years before that I moved from Connecticut to California to take a chance and follow love (still going strong 23 years later).
I say to you and JB – do it. Do it, do it, do it. You only live once. You can make it work – it may not always be easy but you can do it.
Go South Young Family!

Wendy, Los Angeles
Wendy, Los Angeles
12 years ago

honestly, go for it. I’d rather look back and say “I tried, it didn’t work out, but dang it I tried”, than “I wonder what would have happened if….”.

sounds corny, but that’s honestly how I feel about it. Love your blog….

Noemi
12 years ago

Ahhh, shit- they never tell you about this part of growing up, do they?

Granted, I don’t have kids, so my levels of responsibility are limited to me and my three cats, but I decided to jump. I closed my eyes, quit my job, stopped buying shoes, and am currently packing my shit to move to CA to follow J’s job. I’m trying my best to look at it as a grand adventure, but DEAR MOTHER OF GOD, is it hard sometimes.

On my best days, I realize that no one knows. No one can tell me what to do, and I’m just muddling along with the rest of you.

You’ll make it work- like so many other things in your life; it’s just a grander scale. You decided to run a marathon, and you did. You decided to make it home for dinner, and you do. You didn’t know about those things either, but there they are. I know it’s an inaccurate comparison, but I do think there’s a kernel of truth in it.

bwsf
12 years ago

I got laid off in October and we went through a really low point, especially right after Christmas when we had spent way too much on gifts for everyone. The worry can burn a hole through your stomach. And the depression. My god. Thank goodness I have my kiddo–that was my ONLY motivation to get out of bed most days. We just decided we’d take things one day at a time. And I am still not employed, but I have found some ways to make a little money and in two weeks we move to a cheaper place. We think we will do all right.

Kristin C.
12 years ago

me too.
that’s all i can really say…because you took the words right out of my brain and put them on paper.

Gnometree
12 years ago

Then why not plan for a “tree change”?
There are adjustments to make, and sometimes living in the middle of nowhere has its downside. But as someone that lives in Hickville Central the pros soooo outweigh the cons. Some things cost more, but because we live a simpler life there are many costs we simply no longer have. We only have one car now, because I can walk to the shops and the kids can walk (or ride bikes) to school. And the one car we do have is cheaper to run because we aren’t driving 300 miles a week (on average), we are only driving just over 100. Then the insurance is cheaper (pay as you drive insurance). The housing is cheaper – so our mortgage is cheaper.
And you can’t put a price on the extra family time – that brings it’s own benefits.
Bummer on the meds though. I’m so glad I live in a country that has a universal healthcare system and prescription meds don’t cost more than $25.
Can you start looking for jobs in Oregon that will have enough HMO benefits to cover your needs? I’m guessing your HMO won’t need to cover obstetrics any more!
There is never any harm in looking through the career websites and seeing whats out there. You might be surprised!
Maybe there’s a job for you all here in Oz!!

AmyS
AmyS
12 years ago

Do it-make the decision and the universe will provide you with a path. All you have to do is find it.

6512 and growing
12 years ago

First, hugs. I think there are a lot of families contemplating similar scenarios. And arrggh on the ridiculous price for your medication.
Second, I live in a small, rural-ish town in Colorado, which I love. It totally meets my needs. A friend of mine moved here from a big city, hoping for a quieter, slower place to raise her children and after three years feels trapped by the lack of diversity and opportunity for her and her children and is moving back to the city.
So, maybe spend some time in rural Oregon and see how it fits on your family.
And again, hugs. Wishing the best for you.

kath
12 years ago

I want to say jump and a net will appear. It may not happen right now, but keep having the conversation, hard as it is, someday you will wake up and know the answer. It will be clear as a bell and you’ll wonder why you didn’t see it before.

ginger
ginger
12 years ago

Sometimes a radical change is just what’s needed, but then again, you and JB have invested yourselves in a lot of new plans that might just need seeing through a bit longer. I can’t tell you which condition holds – you gotta listen to your gut on that. But I can tell you that life’s not multiple choice, where you have to pick the best possible answer or you’ve blown it completely. It’s reassuring, I find, to know that you can pick an answer that turns out to be neither the best nor the worst and still have it work out great.

Uh, not that you were looking for my opinion.

Wink
12 years ago

I’m with Bridget — at least you’re ASKING yourself these questions now, while you still have time to think and plan….

It sucks to feel like that hamster on the wheel…….

Write your bestseller and move to Oregon, already!

shriek house
12 years ago

Oh Linda. Sitting with the Not Knowing is just so hard. No advice, lots of empathy. May the path you take turn out to be the right one, whatever it is.

lindsay
lindsay
12 years ago

I really like Shelagh’s comment…applying to my own life. I have thought of JB’s product a few times in the past year as I think you linked to it or something sometime and I find it hard to believe it’s not going to be out there, doing good, at some point. Good luck!

Mico
Mico
12 years ago

I know Oregon is near and dear to your hearts, but any possibility of moving to another area that has some of the similar attributes but might have industries in which you and JB might easily find work with your stellar resumes? Boise, ID and Boulder, CO both have booming tech start-up cultures.

Jamie
12 years ago

When my husband lost his job last summer, we did exactly what you are talking about. We rented out our house and moved our family (our boys are the same ages as yours) to Oregon where we make less money with both of us working than my husband did on his own before he got laid off. We’re still trying to figure everything out, but I tell you, taking control of our lives, doing what we WANT to do, living where we WANT to live, we’re a hell of a lot happier, even with the stress of the unknown.

Good luck to you. It’s a hard decision to make, I’m not sure we ever would have done it without my husband having lost his job because at that point we figured, what do we have to lose?

Victoria
12 years ago

*hugs*

Melissa
Melissa
12 years ago

Not sure what to say, but felt compelled to say something.

You’re pretty awesome and you’re doing an admirable job.

That doesn’t solve anything, but really no one’s advice is going to do much anyway (in my experience with similar feelings.)

http://designermama-manaallamano.blogspot.com/

Well, we finally decided to go for it and move to the country (Vashon Island!!!) last month and bought our very first home..and it has been super scary, crazy, but also SO GOOD. No more traffic, no more horrible freaking commuter traffic-why, why Seattle are your roads so bad?!-and having this slower life has made us all much closer as a family. I say, go for it, look for cheap houses, sell high on your place, maybe Don’t have insurance because then you’ll get your medication paid for through the state…its horrible that is the best option for Americans right now, but it is..anyway, go for it.

victoria
victoria
12 years ago

Good lord, no wonder you’re stress-eating. Adulthood is a b***h, isn’t it?

Natalie
12 years ago

I read this post and felt sucker-punched. Then I read the comments and felt soothed by all of the people who really do GET what you (and I) are going through. Thank you lovely internet people.

My husband got laid off….he has decided to be a stay-at-home dad, which is great, in theory. He is however diabetic and his medical bills (without our coverage) would be similarly crippling. But I have a job. A good job….in theory.

We have thrown around the idea, several times, of packing up and moving away….to a smaller city…or to a larger city (get an apartment/condo/townhouse)….but it all seems like such a huge decision….so hard to make.

So….I guess this is my long-winded way of saying that I (we) get it….and are asking similar questions. Lemme know if you figure it out, I’d sure welcome any help I can get.

Marie Green
12 years ago

Dude, I don’t know either.

scantee
scantee
12 years ago

I think about this same stuff every single day. I vacillate between wanting the high-powered career and ditching it all for the simple life with my family. What I’ve sort of realized is that there is no simple life, just different types of challenging. But maybe a different type of challenging would be a better fit for me? I don’t know. If you do this I will be so inspired, good luck.

Holly
Holly
12 years ago

there’s good and bad to every city, but as a portlander, i’d just like to take this chance to plug oregon a little.
it rocks. it fully rocks. it’s just enough city and even in the heart of downtown, trees everywhere. there’s a feeling of life and connection here. i don’t know many native oregonians aside from myself, and they all say portlanders are some of the friendliest, nicest, most real people they’ve come across. we are chock full of hippies, which means a lot of unwashed and dreadlocked folk carrying guitars, but it also means local, natural, organic food everywhere. there’s a farmers market in every neighborhood.
if i ever moved away, i would come back to raise my kids.
(speaking of, i am 25 and not remotely ready to have kids yet, but i’ve been reading your blog since pre-riley and watching how you handle shit and how you’ve evolved as a human being, incorporating motherhood into who you are and i gotta say, i am both impressed and encouraged. it seems so much scarier and more intense and fun and beautiful and handle-able and unhandle-able and just… i don’t know. thank you for giving me some real time, down to earth perspective on what happens to a person when they decide to procreate. i think you have balls the size of watermelons and a heart the size of a house. kudos on staying real and going for it, just in general)

samantha jo Campen
12 years ago

I know. I know.

Erika
Erika
12 years ago

If it’s any consolation (why should it be?) there are many of us in that same situation. Should we stay or should we go? If/When you find the answer, please let me know. :)

steff
steff
12 years ago

We are facing round 2 of that same situation. We moved from CO to TX to be near family but are ready to be back near mountains and cooler climates.

Somehow things always work out! And kids are more resilient than you think! Everyone will be fine, you have your core, your family of four! :)

liana
liana
12 years ago

Dude. My husband owns his own business too – in the media design business. It was going great, people really spend their money on that shit…well they did. Then the economy tanked, people are holding on to their money, shit happens, yada yada. And we suddenly went from a middle class family living pretty comfortably with our two young kids in a nice daycare (EXPENSIVE), a modest home that we were hoping to improve on,medical insurance, etc. But then as he struggled to hold on to his business, I struggled to figure out what the heck we were gonna do. I tell you what. It’s easy to panic. And it’s easy to want to throw in the towel and just try and give up rather than tread tread tread. But what ended up happening is that my husband pushed harder…he didn’t give up, and I didn’t give up on him. He has a passion for what he does – and if JB has a passion too – which from what I read about you guys – you are ALL very passionate – I think you guys can make it through.

It’s easy to want to run away. And if what you really want is a life in Oregon and it was something you always talked about doing NOW vs. LATER, then go for it. But if it’s running away because you’re scared of the riskiness of owning a business…well stick it out. Be supportive. I know JB can pull through – especially with you by his side.

Kate
Kate
12 years ago

If he’s waiting for FDA approval, I feel for you. I used to help file applications for FDA approval for medical devices. It’s so tough- the agency is so short staffed and there are so many hoops to jump through. I really hope it all works out for him.

Jennifer
12 years ago

Dang, I’m so sorry to hear about the struggles. I think that company was founded on a very-much-needed product idea and hope JB and his partners can pull through.

elz
elz
12 years ago

Starting a business is scary, but incredibly brave. If it makes you feel any better, my husband is in the oil business-in the Gulf of Mexico. So, yeah, that’s been working out great. Good luck with your decisions.

Angella
12 years ago

This makes my heart hurt for you. We were lucky in that we moved to the country when we were newlyweds and before we had children, and…change is so HARD once the kids are here.

We love the (somewhat) relaxed life, and if you think you might, too, well…why not?

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

So much wisdom in these comments! Liana had a great point about running away vs. running to … one that I struggle with a lot myself. But if JB’s business problems are the kick in the pants you need to do something you’ve always dreamed about, Go For It! Really, what do you have to lose? I firmly believe kids are nothing if not resilient, so if you give the slower pace of life a try and it just doesn’t work, the experience will still make for great family stories forever more.

Jon Bell
12 years ago

*hugs*

There’s no right answer but there is a right attitude.

Ashley
12 years ago

I see the answer in that picture, rural.

Kate
12 years ago

We left King County when my son was 2 (moved further north) and are now on 5 acres out in the middle of dairy farms and berry fields. And though the $$ is still tight because of hubby’s lack of work, we really couldn’t be happier on our chunk of dirt. And the kids LOVE it. And I don’t worry about them playing outside by themselves.

There’s 5 acres for sale just in front of us – come on up! Great land, view of Baker, great town. Oh, and great neighbors. :)

Leah.
12 years ago

Hey.. this post stuck a cord with me.. My husband and I grew up in a large city.. and when my first daughter turned 1 we made the decision to move out of the city to a small (OMG SMALL) town.. We struggled to find a balance between my job/ his job and daycare for everyone.. and nothing added up. I ended up opening a terrifying business out of my home and working elsewhere on the weekends when my husband is home with the kids.. My salon is taking off, & I’m at a fabulous shop that I look forward to all week- so of course Im thrilled.. but for months all I heard replaying in my mind was” omg, omg.. what if this tanks, what if no one comes.. wtf am I gonna do if I can’t pay for all this…etc..etc.” Now, I wouldn’t change a thing- Im so happy I left the city- I never wanted my kids growing up there, but for u.. Follow ur heart.. go where u feel best, and trust it..
:)

Antropologa
12 years ago

I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s business. That sounded like such a great product.

Speaking as someone who did just make a huge move (to another country, no less) with my family, primarily because of the kind of childhood we wanted our kid to have (near family, countryside), we thought about it for years, but when we went for it, it really didn’t take that long. My husband still hasn’t found a new job, and I have to learn a new language, but we’re doing okay so far, and feeling good about it.

Good luck!

JMH
JMH
12 years ago

I live in a SMALL Ohio town, and it has its pros and cons.

Pros: kids can play outside by themselves, ride bikes around the neighborhood, etc, 5 to 10 minute drive to work, stores, etc, we know MANY people and even a qucik trip to the grocery can turn into a social event, lots of local produce from local farms.

Cons: Very little diversity, very few shopping choices, everyone knows everyone, little opportunity for advancement in out jobs.

However, we are lucky in that only live an hour from 2 larger cities so we have access to museums, concerts, shopping, etc. I absolutely hated it here when I moved here to start my career, and I have grown to love it. When I visit my friends in the larger cities/suburbs, I am so glad I don’t live there!

It is a hard decision….good luck and I wish you the best :)

Kaitlyn
12 years ago

The reasons these are such hard choices is because the outcome is unknown. And that’s very frightening, especially when you have people other than yourself to take care of. But I’m a firm believer in trusting your gut, even if what your gut is scary. If you want to, in your heart of hearts, move to Oregon, then do it. From what I can gather, you and JB are fairly well qualified individuals, and I would think that you’d find new jobs.
Anyway, good luck with the difficult choices.

Kim Hartman
Kim Hartman
12 years ago

Just hang on to each other during this storm and the way will light itself.

much love.