Where do we go?

I had told the sad story of why [REDACTED] wanted to go to law school and how it was ruining my life so many times I was numb to it.

I was tired of the tension that I held in my body for months as the unknowns and unknowables kept coming in waves.

What was his score? Where are you looking? Will the two of you move? Have you thought about long distance? Can they increase his scholarship? What will you do?

What would I do?

None of the questions had answers I could control.

I wasn’t the one who took the LSAT.

I wasn’t the one who had applied anywhere.

I wasn’t looking forward to what lay ahead.

I was tired of being afraid of the future.

So I met with a woman who knows me, and who has seen me grow a lot in my life. Not my mom, whose emotions were too close to mine. Not my friend’s mom, whose daughter’s emotions were too close to mine. A professional mentor. She is the Managing Director of a theater where I grew up – literally.

When I was four or five, my mom started taking me to see shows at this small theater just north of our home. The scripts were all adapted from books. I was hooked, and have been watching stories come to life on that stage ever since. I interned there when I was in college (twice!) It’s where I first started to teach drama camps and work with kids. I was an assistant director on two productions. This is a place where I have worked the longest, felt the most at home, made the most mistakes, and grown the greatest amount.

When I sat down with the Managing Director, it was almost a year after [REDACTED] had started us both on the law school journey. Back then, I was so overwhelmed by the thought of law school as [REDACTED]’s next step in life I spent the better part of an hour crying into my drink. (We had our meeting at a bar.)

A year later, we sat at the same bar.

Law School was firmly cemented in reality. The tests were over, the applications past, and I was still so overwhelmed by the thought of law school I was numb to reality.

I explained our predicament.

We could stay in the same city, and I could stay in my same job, but we would be digging ourselves deep into debt. My job was at a small non profit theater with no health insurance, and no retirement saving plans.

We could move, and I could find a new job, and we might still be digging ourselves into debt. I could look specifically for a job that offered benefits, and that covered most of our expenses – all of our expenses if I was really lucky and maybe sold a small piece of my soul.

It hurt to even think about staying in the same place and finding a new job. To know that I was so close to what I loved so much and not be able to go there.

I knew logically I should look for a new job either way, but I could feel in my gut that if we wanted to avoid taking out additional loans, it meant we had to move. I had to move. If I was going to leave my dream job, I had to make it mean something.

I went to college in a suburb of where I grew up. [REDACTED] and I met in college, and when we graduated we moved back to that same city, which means I had spent my entire life living in one place. I had never known anywhere else for more than a month or so.

My mentor was thoughtful, kind, and patient as I rattled off all my reasons for wanting to stay, for not wanting to go, and for a little bit wanting to go.

“I think moving would be good for you.” Her reassurance calmed my churning stomach. I had been wondering and contemplating the same thing.

It wouldn’t be easy. I might not always be fun or joy-filled. There would be days that I would be really really sad.

But – something else that my wonderful mentor said spurred my confidence. “I learned so much about myself whenever I moved.” and “the places you love will still be here.”

My phone buzzed.

It was an email forwarded from a financial aid department.

[REDACTED] had received a higher scholarship offer that covered almost every cent of his tuition.

I looked up from my screen.

“I think we’re moving.”

The thought was there.

It felt mature and exciting and hopeful, with just a hint of butterflies.

The decision was made.

Deciding was easy.

Moving was harder.

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