Our new normal

“Congratulations, we’d like to extend you the job offer.”

That’s what the subject line stated. And with that one sentence, my life — and the lives of my family — was forever changed.

For, you see, I’ve accepted a new job in a part of the country I’d never visited: Seattle. Go west, not-so-young man, I thought. The Pacific Northwest, to be specific.

But, accepting this position didn’t happen until after much consternation, discernment and even a good many tears. For Michigan is all I’ve ever known.

I was born, went DSC_6373to school, skinned my knees, made friends, fallen in and out of love, earned college degrees, got married, buried my parents, had kids and made countless other memories — all in the friendly confines of this mitten-shaped peninsula.

But no more. Goodbye Great Lakes; hello Great Wheel. Goodbye Mount Clemens; hello Mount Rainier. Goodbye Bill Ford; hello Bill Gates.

So Seattle it is. And, in an effort to familiarize myself with my soon-to-be-new home, I decided to compare key factors regarding what Washington has to offer with what I love about Michigan:

  • Coffee vs. coneys. This one’s simple: coney wins every time. Maybe it’s because coffee gives me headaches. Regardless, there’s no doubt about this one.
  • Cobain-inspired grunge music vs. Electronic, Bob Seeger, Madonna, Stevie Wonder and Kid Rock. Yeah, um, score another for The Mitten.
  • Rain vs. snow. This may sound crazy to some, but I love the snow in a DSC_6252state that was once known as — heck, they actually pounded this into every car’s license plate — the nation’s “winter wonderland.” Even during this most recent polar vortex and record-breaking snowfall, I got deep satisfaction out of cranking up the snow blower and foraging freshly hewn paths through my driveway and sidewalks. Michigan’s snow beats Seattle’s cold rain any day.
  • Mountains, the ocean and nature vs. Great Lakes. Wow. This one’s difficult, most likely because I have so many good memories of and on the Great Lakes. But, once you combine all that Seattle and Washington have to offer in terms of lush vegetation, rain forests, wine country, mountains and the ocean, I’ve gotta give the nod to the Evergreen State.
  • Opportunity. Clearly, Seattle won this one. For a tech PR guy like me, the west coast is the epicenter of all gravity for jobs. Yes, tech jobs are sprinkled elsewhere (including Detroit), but the irrefutable critical mass remains in Silicon Valley, Seattle and Boston. I was probably bound to emigrate to one of those locales eventually — it just happens to be now.

And, it’s that last bullet — opportunity — that tipped the scales so much that I didn’t even make the decision to move: opportunity made it for me. Try as I might, jobs in DSC_5789Michigan are just plain scarce. So for me, for now, the call westward is the right one.

As the sole bread winner, I have to provide for my family, and the company I’ve joined is a pretty amazing place — a successful, global brand that’s full of potential and promise.

Of course, on a personal level, moving to Seattle will be a big adventure for not only me, but also the family. The kids are young enough that, to them, moving won’t much matter. And, since we’ll know nobody, we’ll be forced to try new things, experience new places and rely on our own wit and gumption to make things happen — to create a new normal.

But for a while, there will be no real normal at all. It’ll all be high-octane, unadulterated newness. And, that’s a good thing, I think, especially after decades of enjoying many of the same haunts, the same peeps and the same geographies.

Sometimes every 48 years or so, you’ve just gotta shake things up, right?

DSC_6390My hope is that this new normal will pay off for us in multiple ways: our outlook on life, our physical health, attitudes, openness and even our coming together as a family.

This will naturally happen, I think, since we’ll just have no other option than to force ourselves into making new friends, taking new chances, trying new things and, hopefully, becoming stronger for it all.

For example:

  • Want to keep playing hockey, Doug? Then get off the couch, go hang out around some of the local rinks and make new friends who know where the beer leagues are.
  • Want to find the best greasy spoon diners? Try ‘em all for a while until I find a replacement for my beloved Coney Islands dotting the Detroit culinary landscape.
  • Want to go “up north?” Then get used to the fact that north no longer means Charlevoix and Mackinac, but rather Vancouver, Whistler or even Alaska.

Will it be scary? At times, yes. Sad? Definitely at first — especially after saying so many teary goodbyes to such great family and friends. Worth it? Without a doubt.

Yet, those same friendships and family members that are so difficult to leave now are also the same people who’ve also formed and forged our character enough to DSC_5946accept this new reality — equipping us with everything it’ll take to experience life in a new, adventurous way.

My vision is that this new reality makes those existing relationships even stronger, and that the thousands of miles that are so hard to fathom now will soon become meaningless as we adjust, as people visit, as new friends are made and as our new reality and hoped-for success takes shape.

As I’ve noted before, change happens — including change we don’t ask for in a way that crashes in life’s front door. I didn’t ask for this particular change, but after doing everything I could to stay in the land and around the people I’ve known and loved all my life, change was the obvious option. The only option. The right thing to do — both my heart and my head told me so.

Go west.

It’s a new day. It’s a new opportunity. A new normal.

Thank you, Detroit — it’s been a great ride. And, Seattle, bring your best — oh, minus the coffee.

16 thoughts on “Our new normal

  1. OK. I’ve wiped away my tears and can now say that I’m so excited for you, Jacquie and the girls (furry ones too!). Your skills are many, and they need to be put to good use, where ever that takes you. Plus, Seattle is a great place to visit! We’ll have to make time for farewells, but I know that our bond, through the generosity of your commitment to raising service puppies, will last forever. Distance is only miles….friendship is much greater than that, and can weather the change. So, for now, it’s congratulations and best wishes in this new adventure.

  2. Congratulations, dear cousin. A new land, new adventure, new life. I know the feeling well, as I know you will succeed and flourish, because I know you well, and know you’re wired well.

    Vince moved his family to Washington last year. His eldest, Melissa, lives & works in Seattle! So you’ll be about 1.5 hours NE of Vince, Amy and Jenna, they are in Grapeview. ☺️ So you DO have family in Washington!

    Love & blessings to you & the girls!
    Kim

  3. A love letter to two cities…wonderful words, on so many levels.

    We’re thrilled for you, Jacquie and your adorable family!

    Can’t wait for all the future Anter Banter posts, documenting your new adventures and discoveries.

  4. Giving you all of my love, Doug. I know you will be successful in whatever you choose to do. Sometimes a change is as good as a rest and I think this Seattle change may be an incredible experience for you. Jacquie and the girls. Also it gives all of us Michiganders a place to think of for a nice vacation. Love, Marilynn gorham

  5. Doug, another great “Anter Banter” — so sorry to see you and Jacquie and the girls go and of course Jewel – but as you stated new adventures are starting and you guys have just the personality to adapt. Dave and I have a new place to visit and look forward to reading your new blog and to seeing you and your family grow. That is what is so awesome about Facebook, although you guys are moving miles away we’ll be able to stay in touch via Facebook. Love you miss you all!! xoxoxoxoxo

  6. Best of luck Doogie to you and your family. I’m sure we’ll cross paths again, or at least when you come back to the mitten for a visit. I can already picture a road trip to Seattle with our unemployed friend.

  7. Such a beautiful read! How wonderful God is in changing life’s compass to get you where you already needed to be. As the pr man of relationships, I’m sure you will have no problem with meeting new people, personally, as well. It’s what you were born to do…and only amazing people get to be the person chosen for the people, by the people.

  8. Moved to many new states with my brood and treasure the friends and experiences we had in each one. Our comfort zones aren’t always best for us…wishing you and your family happiness in your new, west-side digs.

  9. Wow! Beautifully written from my very long time and forever friend. I wish you ALL the best, always. Love and hugs!!!

  10. Doug — Been meaning to catch up to you every since our interrupted conversation. Wishing you the best. And, while I’ve only visited, my impression is that Seattle is a great place to live. Congrats, and the best to you and your family.

  11. So happy for you! You’ll do fine, I’m sure 🙂 Looking forward to speaking to you soon – I want to learn more about your new life!

    Uwe

  12. Hello Anter my move from Michigan was for the same reasons, although I didn’t have plans for staying it just happened. After being here for a couple months I eventually moved my family out here. We live in Olympia and love it, this coming March will be 8 years.

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