The discussion has been underway for years, maybe even as long as we’ve been together.
The idea: What if we lived in a foreign country for a year, as a family? Before it’s too late. Before they’re gone. Before we’re just three of us, with the little guy at home and the big ones off at college.
The discussion would sometimes evolve and then dissolve into a fight. It’s too risky, one of us would say. The timing is off.
The timing is always off, I’d think.
We were lucky about one piece of this—for my husband, an ER doctor, it’s actually not that difficult to find work in New Zealand. But it may mean getting off the management path for a year, then having to rebuild when we return. It’s risky.
But not risky enough.
Not so much that we couldn’t eventually decide the risk was surmountable. It would be okay. We would be okay.
The rat race would continue without us. It would, no doubt, be here for us when we returned.
But the decision process still took a long time.
We worried, really worried, about how our kids would fare. And we still worry.
Will they be happy? Will we?
I worry about my parents’ health. What if something happens? What if I’m not there? Would I ever forgive myself for making the decision to leave?
Eventually, the fears subsided, the understanding behind the fears made more sense, and the opportunity became time sensitive. Eventually, we asked ourselves: If not now, when?
And so we said yes. Let’s go.
And for weeks afterward we just looked at one another.
“Are you sure?” he’d ask. “Really sure?”
“I’m sure,” I’d say.