It’s been ages since I’ve posted. Yes, I know. I promised to finish the fairy tale. And that promise has been nagging at me every night as I fall asleep on the sofa, with my hands still typing the computer code my day-job demands. And it nags at me every time I step into Borders to browse the ‘New Fiction’ and ‘Staff Recommendations’ sections, looking for the perfect story to take me away from my present life — or, even more so, insight into what it means to be a modern wife in an age when marital commitment is a choice and not a societal requirement.
But I realize the story I am looking for is the one I have inside, the one that is built by the choices I — we, the Ukrainian and I — make. And these choices are as much of choices in attitude and approach kind than of the physical.
See, our fairy tale has been interrupted. Neither of us are sick or dying. No great devastation has become us (though there have been a couple of severe disappointments). But, this summer, as we were painting, decorating and buying new furniture for our new castle in the sky, we realized that certain aspects of our marriage and lives here are unsustainable and might be unresolvable if we continue living in the Bay Area. As such, the Ukrainian is taking a huge risk and pursuing potential opportunities that would relocate us to a different time zone within the year or so.
This decision has opened up my old wounds of insecurity. For so long, I’d been looking for a place to call home. And finally, I thought I had found it when we moved into our new place. Finally, I had stopped looking to leave San Francisco. I let myself fall completely in love with this city. And started to invest myself in it. And now, I feel myself back to being an uncertain temporary visitor, the kind who is just waiting for the arrival of the next train.
Intellectually, I always knew that marriage would potentially mean sacrificing your own happiness/security for the happiness/security of your spouse — or to sacrifice what’s best for you to gain what’s best for the two of you. But I always imagined these were sacrifices made by military wives, housewives, women who married straight out of university and relied upon their husbands for their material livelihood. I didn’t imagine that these challenges would come up in my own marriage — a marriage I chose as a financially independent, well-traveled and educated career woman.
And so, the latter half of the summer has been tough. It was one filled with thought rather than words. But in the end, I have decided to support the Ukrainian in his quest — no matter how uncertain it makes our day-to-day lives in the coming year. Now, I must find that difficult balance between fully living life while awaiting the outcome of his quest and maintaining enough detachment from this city so that I won’t be heartbroken if/when it becomes time to leave.
Live, love, and let go. I am no Buddhist. But if I were, these words would be my mantra for the coming seasons.