A West Philly Family


It has been an intense month around here. We made some major life-altering decisions, and then unmade them. At a glance it might seem like a lot of stress, worry and energy for nothing . . . but it resulted in some soul searching that has put a lot of things into perspective for me.  And I think I needed that.

For a solid portion of the month, I thought we'd be living in Washington, DC by now.  We were making moving arrangements and saying our goodbyes to people in our lives.  The move was driven by a job offered to jb that we were very excited about, but still the decision had been a difficult one.  We made many a pro/con list and had many conversations with people close to us to come to the conclusion that moving was the right thing for us.

Then, as the wheels for the move were set in motion, I was surprised by the emotions and regret that bubbled to the surface for me. I shed tears saying goodbye to people I didn't realize I felt so close to.  I was feeling the sting of breaking commitments I was deeply invested in. I'm not dense, I knew these things were coming . . . but I had underestimated the impact. I had underestimated the roots we'd grown and the community we'd built.

Over the summer, two of my/our best friends/families moved away. I've been sad about saying goodbye and it had left me with a feeling of not being connected anymore. I didn't realize how wrong I was. As I made plans to leave I had to peel away each layer of attachment and was amazed by the richness of the life we've built here.

Despite these second thoughts bubbling to the surface, we were still committed to and even excited about the move.  We have some dear friends that still live in DC, we love and miss the city, and were excited about a new chapter in our lives.  Then circumstances shifted just enough that we found ourselves reconsidering altogether.  After agonizing (I don't think that's an overstatement) about the decision the first time around, we were just happy the decision was made.  Now we found ourselves going through the decision-making process all over again – a second ride on the emotional roller coaster we were so glad to be done with. I apologize to all those who were along for the ride. Our families, close friends and colleagues (and potential colleagues) who weren't sure at any given moment (just as we weren't) where we were going to land.

In the end, we decided to stay in Philly. I still am not positive it's the perfect choice – because the whole point was that there was no perfect choice. On the bright side, there was no wrong choice either – but I feel much more at peace with this decision than I did the first time around.  It was an exhausting month – but worth it because I feel like I emerged with a renewed sense of gratitude for my life, my home and my friends. I'm also well aware that our biggest trouble this month was a surplus of opportunity – and how very lucky we are to have choices to make that have two good options, rather than the lesser of two evils.

So here we are. Still a West Philly family. I find myself more happy about it than ever. I'm grateful for all our blessings. I've gained new perspective on what our long- and short-term goals are. And I feel confident that we can/could be happy anywhere – but, for now at least, I'm so, so, so glad that we are where we are.

Sandra Telep is a West Philadelphia mom of two. This post is adapted from her blog, West Philly Mama


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