I fear the next 5 years of my life are being decided at this very moment, but yet here I sit, on my couch, in yoga pants, enjoying pomegranate juice and sea salt caramels…
Life is so strange to me sometimes. I wonder how my life would be if I hadn’t agreed to meet Eric for drinks way back when on that rainy July evening. Were we meant to be together? Would we have bumped into one another at some other time? Would I be single now, or married to someone else? All because of one choice, which lead to another, and another…
This past weekend was quite stressful for me… Much more so than I had originally anticipated. A large part of me was dreading the weekend, a small part was excited, but yet another part fearful of the decisions which will come from events during the past three days.
I took last Friday off work as Eric and I had dinner plans with a physician group which has been heavily recruiting Eric for the past several months. Perhaps nine or ten months ago he and I, along with several other Urology residents from the University, had dinner in Iowa City with recruiters and physicians from this group. At that point it was just to get more information, and perhaps a nice dinner, which it proved to be! The conversation at that dinner was casual, basically more about the practice, the city, etc. And no, unfortunately Eric has asked I still not disclose the location, which is difficult, as knowing the location would really help explain my feelings which surround these decisions. Regardless though, I’m trying to respect his wishes for the time being.
To make a long story short, several months ago Eric met at this location to learn more about the opportunity and since, he’s had several more visits, culminating with dinner Friday night, which was really for everyone to meet me.
There were 16 of us at dinner Friday night, the CFO of the hospital, the CEO of the physician group, five physicians from the group, spouses, and then Eric and me. It was a little stressful, as we were the only two outsiders, really the focus of the dinner. We were questioned pretty heavily before and during dinner, but in a friendly manner, I could tell they really just wanted to get to know us better on a personal level. We asked a lot of questions of them as well, more about their families, what they do for entertainment in the area, which neighborhoods are best, etc. It was a very nice dinner, and the food was excellent! After dinner Eric and I went back our hotel and gambled a bit before heading to bed.
Saturday morning we were set to look at houses in the area with a realtor who picked us up from our hotel at 10AM. We were given her name as one of the best in the area, and I have to admit, as much as I’m normally not a fan of realtors, she impressed me quite a bit. She was honest and open and very informative. Ultimately though I was a little disappointed with the choices available. There were only five homes currently for sale in our price range, only one of which really fit my style. We also looked at a few lots to build on, which I would actually much prefer, but those seemed limited as well in our price range. There were only three subdivisions the realtor recommended and one doesn’t allow fenced in back yards, which I really want for Kona. So, slim pickings. Of course, it is the middle of winter, and I realize fewer houses are on the market now than perhaps will be during the warmer months, but I was still a little discouraged. And, since Eric doesn’t finish his residency until next July 1st, well, we have a lot of time… What is for sale now isn’t probably going to be for sale then. After the realtor dropped us back at our hotel Eric and I grabbed lunch and then explored a bit on our own. We stopped at the mall, a coffee shop, explored the downtown area a bit more, browsed through the restaurant choices, etc.
By 5PM I was exhausted, both physically and emotionally, and we still had to drive back home… Once in town we went out for dinner and talked about everything we’d seen earlier in the day. Even thinking back to the conversation is overwhelming for me, and I’m not sure I can exactly pinpoint why. I can say that this location is probably the last city in Iowa I would ever pick to live, therefore I’ve been struggling with Eric’s involvement with this group for the past several months. Those of you who know me know I had my heart set on a larger city, or at least one close to such, and this location is anything but large. And not just that, but it doesn’t exactly offer a lot of opportunities for me career-wise. So why is Eric still considering it you may wonder…
- This area doesn’t really have any competent Urologists, and hasn’t for the last 7+ years I’m told. Thus, the demand for Eric in this area is huge and thus the hospital and physician group are doing whatever they can to get us there.
- Being the demand is so great, the offer is amazing, like, we won the lottery amazing. And not just the base salary, but the signing bonus, the equipment they are willing to purchase, the new clinic suites they offered to build… You name it, it’s in the offer, retirement, bonuses, as much vacation as he wants, etc.
- Eric would have the opportunity to operate as much as he wanted, as the demand is so great. And the more he operates early in his career, the more experience he gains, which can only help him in the future.
- This position would allow us to be debt-free in less than a year, which would relieve a lot of stress, as Eric’s student loans are quite hefty. Honestly, we could easily retire quite young if we except this offer.
- We’d be relatively close to both Eric’s and my family, meaning, within a day’s driving distance. Eric keeps stressing this will come in handy once we have children. If we ever have children…
So that’s the good, now, the bad. The location completely sucks in my opinion. It’s smaller than where we live now, it’s probably considered less safe by many compared to where we live now, there isn’t nearly as much culture as we’re accustomed to in Iowa City, there is virtually no good shopping there, the restaurants are mostly chains… Overall, the area just doesn’t thrill me in the least, and I have no idea where I will work there, as there aren’t exactly a lot of large financial institutions.
So during the weekend I was a mix of emotions. One moment I thought, I can make this work, and the next I thought, this sucks, it’s so far from what I really want. I feel really lost and forgotten. The positives I listed above all benefit Eric. I asked him last night what I get out of this, and all he could say was, money, basically a really nice house and the option to not work if I don’t want to. And sure, a nice house, who doesn’t want that, but I’m not that naïve. I realize that while money can make life easier, I don’t believe it can make life happier. So where does that leave me? I’m not excited to move to this location, but as I type, Eric is meeting again with the CEO of the physician group, discussing his contract. I feel as though the decision has essentially been made, that the formalities now of having a lawyer review the contract and Eric actually signing it, are just that, formalities. I wanted to tell Eric last night that I won’t go to this location, but honestly, I don’t think we would care. He’s caught up in this amazing opportunity for him. And a huge part of me gets that, he’s been abused and treated like shit for the past how many years in residency, he wants respect, he deserves it, and I get that. But at what expense? Does he really think he can drop me in a gorgeous home in the middle of nowhere and think that will make me happy? He has promised me luxury vacations, but what about the day to day life? What if I decide not to work (I’ll need another entry for that!) how would I spend my days? What if we discovered we can’t have 5 kids to fill all the bedrooms? What if this is just the first of many choices Eric makes for our life together, choices that don’t necessarily take my needs and wants into account?