Earlier this year I had a unique opportunity presented to me.
One of the Facebook groups I belong to helps writers connect to job opportunities. Some of the opportunities are full-time, in-person, or remote. Others are full-time, part-time, one-offs, remote, and freelance.
In the spring, an editor reached out looking for writers who live in or grew up in Alaska. Obviously, I raised my virtual hand and pitched the editor my story.
It was an amazing opportunity in a few ways.
- It was paid writing. (Yay money!)
- It added two authored clips to my portfolio
- It opens the door to more bylined opportunities with Insider.
- It has helped change my perspective on living here.
Writing is cheaper than therapy
To those of you who know me, or follow my blog, know I have a love/hate relationship with Alaska, so you understand why I had to write these pieces.
Writing those two articles about living in Alaska was equally therapeutic and an understatement. Ever since we moved, I’ve struggled to love Alaska. It often felt like of all the people I’ve met in these last seven years, who have also moved here, I am the only one who feels negatively about life in the last frontier.
All those feelings came to the surface when I found out I was in heart failure. (I’m a firm believer that our mental health can and does have an impact on physical health so to suggest heart failure and extreme depression are linked is a no-brainer.)
Both Insider articles provided a very public stage for me to air my feelings. But they were also very healing.
- I no longer feel selfish for wanting to move back to Ohio.
- I don’t have this sense of wanting to blame Alaska for being, well… Alaska. It’s not the state’s fault.
- As difficult as it has been to adjust, I still found a way to settle in. I credit owning our home to part of that.
- I no longer want to rage against all the ways Alaska differs from the lower 48, or more specifically, my home state.
But there was another feeling I didn’t expect: comfort.
- I now have a favorite coffee shop (they were my second favorite until the other one I loved closed during the pandemic).
- My house makes me happy. I do wish Alaska had a lottery though so I could decorate and remodel the way I’d like to.
- I really cannot complain about the weather. It’s the perfect mix of warm and cold in the summer and the winter is, well, winter. It’s cold and there’s never a lack of snow.
- I will never get over how moose will just appear in our yard.
- Or the peaceful feeling of sitting by the water.
Then there’s the feeling I never expected: reluctance.
If my world were perfect, I’d live in Ohio during the fall and winter (sorry Alaska, you cannot compete with Autumn in the Midwest) so I could be close to family during the holidays. But I would return to Alaska in the summer. I don’t like to sweat and my hair hates humidity.
To say I want to move back home and never return to Alaska would be a lie. What I’d really like is to be in two places at once… just kidding. (sort of.)
I want to enjoy both places and the things they have to offer.
Instead of retiring to Florida in my old age, I want to retire to Alaska. Is that too much to ask? Probably, but I’m pretty hell-bent on figuring it out.