I met him on CatholicMatch. Thirty-seven. A widower with two tiny kids. He lived near the mountains in Virginia and I lived near the beach, 200 miles away. I am a journalist. He is a therapist. So we asked each other a lot of questions. One of them changed my life.
“If we wind up together, where do you think you’d like to live?” he asked.
First choice is Virginia Beach, I said—for my job and my gym.
“And your second choice?”
“Tampa,” I said, where I’m from. And though nothing in me desires to live where he lives, “I guess your house is tied for second place.”
What he next said shook me.
“Unfortunately, Tampa probably isn’t an option until I retire,” given his circumstances—and I understood. What I didn’t understand was my reaction: sadness, and not over his veto of Tampa but over how, if I chose him, his veto of Tampa would necessitate mine.
I tried, but I couldn’t imagine a future that didn’t involve moving back to Florida. Which is when, for the first time since I moved to Virginia Beach in 2016, I asked myself this question.
Why the heck am I still here?
Two days later, I applied for a job in Tampa. Five weeks later, I got the offer—and accepted the position.