Next Chapter

Life is a process of constant change, so much so that we usually don’t notice the transformations happening in real time. We look up one day and notice change in hindsight: the kids are bigger, our spouses are older, our bodies are different than we remember. Change wears on us like ocean tides on a beach, relentless and imperceptible.


And then there are changes we see coming, when we can almost fool ourselves into thinking we are braced and prepared for what comes next because this time we have foresight on our side. Weddings. Births. Graduations. Rather than a steady and slow erosion that transforms days into memories, these are the landslides that mark the beginning and end of eras.

The rocks are loose; a landslide is coming.

I got a new job last week. I want to say it happened by accident, but I didn’t slip and fall and slide into a new desk chair. I wasn’t, however, looking for a new job. I was enjoying my many free massages (seriously: so, so many) and planning the Creative Soul Retreat. I was running back and forth between baseball games and crew regattas and Girl Scout meetings. I was trying to adjust my diet and take better care of myself and climb out of the most recent depression hole. I didn’t want or need a new job.

But then a friend mentioned an opening that maybe I’d be perfect for. Emails exchanged on Monday; hired on Friday. And everyone I’ve told since then has said, “oh wow, that’s perfect for you.”

I’m going to be the coordinator for my neighborhood’s business association. My job will be to organize the business community and promote my neighborhood, basically, and I know it’s going to be great because people who have only known me for a few months have said, “and you’re so passionate about this neighborhood!”

am pretty passionate about this place. After all, I chose to live here after traveling all over the country, chose this place specifically because of how much we loved it – with no friends, family, or job to encourage us.

Of course back then you could say I didn’t know better. Back then I had not spent so much as a single night in Squirrel Hill; I only knew it seemed like the right neighborhood for us in a city we’d just recently fallen in love with.

But now I know better, and we’re choosing it all over again with a new move to a different house – same neighborhood.

In August we’ll be leaving the first and only place we’ve called home here, and we’ll be moving into a place that I suspect will feel even more like home. It’s an upgrade – one I couldn’t have imagined needing when we were fresh off living in an RV for ten months.

When we moved here I had fantasies about what it meant to live in a city. My ideas mainly came from books and TV shows, none of which were actually set in the city in which I would be living. Still, some of those fantasies have proved realistic. The walking, the eating out, the non-stop parade of cool things to do and interesting people to meet. But it turns out it’s also true that in this city and this neighborhood, it’s perfectly reasonable to have a car (still only one though!) and a washer and dryer in your home.

I’m 99 parts excited, and 1 part nervous (which is pretty damn good as happy to scared ratios go).

I am counting down the days to my own laundry, dishwasher, garage, deck, and central air conditioning. I’m also sad about living more than one block away from the very best neighbors and amazing friends. Sure, we’ll still be friends – but our kids won’t walk to school together and I suppose there will be fewer porch drinks when the distance home is a mile instead of a few yards. They have become our surrogate family here, and I’m scared of losing that.

But I am really excited about that new dishwasher.

New job. New house. New chapter.

No one is getting born or changing their last name, but I can feel the big shift of tectonic plates moving in our lives. I can see the early light of a new dawn, and I’m giddy with anticipation.

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  1. Jb says:

    Love how you describe change in this post. It’s so well said. I’m sorry you have had to pull yourself out of a depression hole. I’ve been struggling and it wasn’t until I read your post that that light bulb went off — oh oh this is what depression looks – feels like. Hate it too. Looking forward to your posts on your new space. A mile isn’t that huge!

  2. daniel says:

    Congratulations on … well, everything. This brought a smile to my face because too often we post things that aren’t positive. Positive about our lives, positive about change, are just plain optimistic. Unless it is a post about our kids.
    daniel’s most recent post: Music Monday: Guilty Pleasures

  3. martymankins says:

    Wow. WOW! Congrats on this new job. Sounds like it’s going to be great fit.

  4. Hello Britt,

    The tone of your writing reminds me of sunlight and the way you described change was very calming. New places come new beauties and new things to be grateful for. I’m glad for your excited to nervous ratio as well. That must be a sign of experience with change. I’m sending out wonderful and joyful visualizations your way. Looking forward to your newer posts inspired by your new environment. Congrats about your job and have an

  5. Susan Mills says:

    Congratulations! My daughter just graduated from college in California, PA, about an hour south of Pittsburgh and on Thursday will move into an apartment in Pittsburgh proper. I love reading your enthusiasm for the city!

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