Store-Manager-Hillarie said, "Are you just getting that five-year itch thing you were talking about?" And I said probably.
Then Decaf-Scott asked me if I didn't just want to settle down and have kids or something. This is the kind of question you maybe try to dodge when a customer asks you it, because you can't be entirely sure what they're asking, even if they sport a wedding ring and have just mentioned that they have a six-year-old. But I'm also not very good at dodging direct questions. (I have gotten in trouble because of this before, but fortunately that did not happen this time.) I said actually, yeah.
Then Decaf-Scott looked at me really hard (but not too creepily) and said, "You do." It was less of a question than a statement of skepticism, and I could have grumbled that what did he know about it, except that I had just given him the run-down of my Adventures-Since-Growing-Up-Here: 4 years in Chicagoland, 2 years in Nannyfield, 5.5 years in London, and roughly 4-5 years here. "Um . . . " I said, "well . . . I'm not sure about the kids part."
I'm not sure about the settling down part, either, apparently, because although I've applied for a few jobs out here, most of the ones I'm looking at are in the Northwest or the Midwest. (And seriously. You would think that if I were going to relocate, I'd at least pick somewhere warm for once.) Over the weekend it occurred to me to wonder if my problem is not an actual desire to pack up all my earthly goods and cart them around like an overladen turtle, but more some sort of inability to do Something Different in the Same Place.
Maybe I identify so fully with whatever my occupation happens to be at any given time that once I feel the need to do something else, I also feel the need to be somewhere else--at least for about ten years or so. I mean, I grew up in this area, but I couldn't come back and live here until I had redefined myself in about four other places first. Now I would, for example, like to move back to Chicagoland, but it's been aeons since I lived there before, so I'm okay with it.
In the last week I actually got contacted by two different academic institutions at which I would like to work. Neither of them are local. Whether or not the jobs panned out (and one of them already hasn't, by mutual but more-than-amicable agreement), it was a great relief to hear something from anybody, because I was starting to fear that I was utterly useless for anything except serving coffee. I had visions of becoming The World's Oldest Barista, at age 97 still hefting change-laden tills to the back room to count them in the wee hours, simply because I never made enough money to retire. However, now that I'm hearing from people out of state, it's making me second-guess myself. I love my Starbucks and its people. Do I really want to move?
I think I do. But there are things that might keep me from it. I don't know. I expect I'll explore some of that here more later.