I am leaving Minnesota.
Just putting those words to screen sends a little shiver down my spine. It makes things a little more real. I am not leaving Minnesota because I have any grievance whatsoever with the state I grew up in and have grown to love with every fiber of my being for 43+ years.
The reality is that I have a great opportunity for a job in Columbus, Ohio. My wife also looks forward to being able to start anew with her job in a way that hopefully allows her to spend more time with our kids.
This was an agonizing decision to come to. Minnesota is who I am: the lakes, hockey, winter, the seasons. The Twin Cities, and Saint Paul in particular, is where I've chosen to live. My politics match the city, the arts and culture is interesting to me, and outdoor activities fit in with my interests. In other words, everything I love is here.
But sometimes, a "You'd be stupid not to" opportunity comes along. In my case, it forced me to make a decision: Do we take more money and move away? Or stay where we are and continue to tread water financially? For us, it came down to the numbers, and we realized that we'd be dumb to turn away from this opportunity. A bigger paycheck for me and a lower cost of living in Columbus means that my wife can work less and we can have a better quality of life for a comparable household income.
A couple questions: Will I be a Buckeyes fan? Nope, sorry. Blue Jackets? Gross. I'll always be a Wild/Twins/Saints/Vikings/Gophers fan for as long as I breathe. I am Minnesotan at my very core, and here my heart will always be. I will miss it dearly: the lakes, the bitter cold winters and hot and humid summers, and the changing of the seasons. And this says nothing about being 12 hours away from family and friends.
This spring we'll put our house on the market, and go scouting for a new home in the Columbus area. Sometime after the kids are out of school in June, we'll pack up and move. At that time, we'll open a new chapter in our lives. In August, our kids will go to a new school and make new friends. At Christmas we'll come home to visit family. We'll celebrate birthdays with new friends. The sun will rise and life will go on.
I've had my emotions: the sadness that I know I'll be losing something; the apprehension of the new and unknown; the excitement of new possibilities. Someday I may physically return to live or retire here. Until then, my family will grow to love our new home and community.
It'll be a great adventure.