Hey – long time no see.
What have you been up to? It’s been quite the journey since November 2010. I stopped writing, got a government job. I commuted back and forth between Brookings and Pierre. Over. And over. And over…. (repeat ad nauseum). Finally sold SDWC after several months of negotiations. Ended up quitting my job. Moved home.
…and now I’m back writing at SDWC again. How does that work?
Well, In an odd twist, every time I tried to turn and move towards Pierre, it kept turning me around and shoving me towards home.
My better half, who I would argue is one of the smartest people in education in South Dakota (despite her modesty), had few job prospects in Pierre, and frankly likes her current position. A lot.
My dad is potentially looking at being in an apartment by the end of the year… so, goodbye family homestead, hello paying more for rent.
Having 2 kids with me in Pierre, and 4 more in Brookings wasn’t working. So, everyone was looking at attending the Brookings School District this fall. And for those of you who didn’t remember, my youngest daughter (who starts first grade this year) is a child with special needs. And while she’s a delight, there are times when I was 200 miles away this past year when mom could have used a hand. And being 200 miles away in such situations basically renders you useless.
I think the clincher was when, in the midst of all the political nonsense that cropped up recently, I took the first husband-wife vacation with my wife that I’d taken in over 20 years of marriage. And I found that I had far less interest in returning to my work in Pierre than I did in being in the same town as my wife and family.
Over the course of the preceding 18 months, on average, I would spend roughly 36 hours at a time – every week or two – with my wife and the 6 kids remaining at home, including sleeping hours, as time was marked from my Friday arrivals to my Sunday departures.
I did the commuting thing before for 3 years or so when I worked in special projects under Governor Rounds. There were family trials and tribulations then, some particularly not very fun. But we managed all crises as they came. Fast forward about 4-5 years, I guess I found myself far less tolerant of splitting my life and doing things on a long distance basis.
Now, I find the oldest of my daughters are starting to leave the nest, others are in or preparing for high school, and the older of my sons is growing into a young man.
If a person is going to talk the talk about families, I’ve always been of the mind that it behooves them to walk the walk as well. So, sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. Maybe not as exciting as some of the ridiculous chatter on the internet (or sensationalized stories in some of South Dakota’s papers) would have you believe. But it is what it is.
Whether you want to call it a leap of faith or jumped off a cliff, I took a leap. And at least for the moment, I get to do a few things because I want to do them, not because I have to. And the best part? I don’t have to commute 400 miles to do them.
What am I up to at the moment? You can find me writing here at South Dakota War College for the new owners, and you’ll also find me writing over at the South Dakota Rushmore PAC blog. I’m also debating as to whether to do writing for another couple of websites, but that’s currently a “we’ll see” thing at the moment. I’m also looking at going back to doing design work, as well as exploring whatever other opportunities crop up.
But the important thing is that I’ll be doing them from the same town that I live in with my family. Because at the end of the day, that’s the important thing.
Otherwise, be careful what you wish for… because I am back.