When we left the US for the Philippines in 2011, we had one way tickets. The only return date I ever had in mind was after Andrew graduated high school, five and a half years later. We had already moved the kids once, and didn’t want to shuffle them repeatedly throughout their high school years. But after that, I was out. My Christian-ese answer was always, “Until God is done with us here.” Or, in Mary Poppin-ese, “Until the wind changes.”
Empty nesting commenced two years ago, and we didn’t feel the nudge to go anywhere. We liked what we were doing, and then had “opportunities for personal growth” arise, to put it gently. Our focus was on improving our lives and our marriage, and the roots that we had developed here kept us anchored while we grew.
The wind began to change a while back. I can’t pinpoint the day, it didn’t come in like a hurricane, but a gentle breeze. The business we so carefully cultivated and set goals for was starting to wane, and after much prayer and deliberation, we made the decision to shut it down, and slowly build a new model that centered around Dan’s design work, and much less on production. I would continue working at CURE while Dan worked on this new vision. He also found a new passion, scuba diving! His adventurous side needs to be fed, and in March he began training to become a dive instructor.
We had it all planned out, as we humans like to do. Dan would do diving instruction, work on the new business plan, and I would continue working at CURE, which at this point had become our main source of income. I loved my job, but we started to feel a “stir”, but had no idea what that meant. And, with no Plan B in sight, we stuck with what we knew. With no real clarity beyond an incredibly vague “I feel a change coming”, we had nothing that inspired us to look beyond where we were.
The gentle breeze hit us with a strong gust in mid April, knocking us off our feet. I got the news that due to restructuring, budget cuts, etc etc…my job would be eliminated at the end of June. Unexpected is an understatement, and I was initially shocked, then hit with guilt that I was messing up our plans. As I sat and waited for Dan to pick me up from work, I wiped away tears that I couldn’t link to any specific emotion, and one of the first things he said was, “I think we should go back to Oregon for a while.” Without any question or hesitation, I agreed. And, while lying on the ground, out of breath and out of answers, we were at peace. Clarity had whacked us over our heads.
So, here’s the short answer to, “OK, now what?!?” The end of August, we will return to Oregon. We’re planning to buy a truck and 5th wheel trailer, because that’s how we roll…literally. Beyond that? We have no clue. We know we need time to rest. We need time to reset. We’re looking forward to working “normal” jobs for a while. We can’t wait to reconnect with friends and family. We foresee spending the next several months or more in the area, but the trailer will give us the chance to follow any opportunities that come up, locally or far away. And, just like before, we’re looking forward to sharing our adventures!