Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
Home Artist Blog About Me Life in Alaska Purchase Site Index Speak
Home » Archives » August 2006 » Sliding Doors

[Previous entry: "Acceptance, Rejection, New Friends, and me SINGING!"] [Next entry: "Leaving Alaska"]

08/15/2006: "Sliding Doors"

Tonight after work a good friend of mine made me an absolutely incredible dinner...tempting me to stay in Juneau with almond crusted chicken and candied squash. We talked...or I should say...I talked. I've been so self-absorbed lately...I'm usually a good listener (when not obsessing over a huge decision).

Anyway, thanks for all the solid advice and well-wishes. I can't remember the last time I could see myself, so clearly, going down such opposite paths. I can visualize myself taking the job, packing my stuff, having a garage sale, putting my house on the market, the going away party, feeling sad on the airplane, arriving in Centralia, finding a place to live, first day on the job...entering the new office.

I can imagine how overwhelmed I'll feel, wondering if I've made the right decision or if I've gotten in over my head. At first it will be hard, meeting so many new people and trying to figure out how things operate on a new campus, but it would be exciting too with places and people to discover...everyday something new. And I can see myself settling into my home, putting things on the walls, setting up my studio, my cats exploring their new domain. I can see it all perfectly.

But I can also see turning down the job and staying in Juneau. I mean, it's not just the people I work with who depend on me, I do a lot of volunteer work and have friends who will miss me. Plus I can see myself out on my sailboat on a race to Taku Harbor or hiking Perseverance Trail, and I can sense the relief I'll feel to *not* have to sell my belongings and say goodbye to 7 years worth of friends and memories. Plus there are new people I've met recently that I'd like the chance to know better.

Part of me is a go-getter raring to conquer the next big goal in life and the other part of me wants to just relax and not feel so compelled to always accomplish more more more... but just to *be* content. And I worry that I'm maybe not the right person for the job, that I may let my new employers down...and the fact they are being so accomodating isn't making my choice any easier.

There was this great movie I watched years ago called Sliding Doors where you get to see the parallel paths a woman's life takes depending on whether or not she catches a train. I wish I could see a pre-view of the next year of my life depending on the choices I make tomorrow. If you could see the future...would you want to?

Replies: 11 Comments

on Wednesday, August 16th, Kasia said

I liked that film a lot too. Helen had a chance to see the mysterious "What if". But I am not sure if I would like it. It might be too scary.
I think such big decions are made not only ourselves but by the circumstances. So wait patiently and see what happens.

on Wednesday, August 16th,">greg said

I think it's cool that you're facing a classic human conundrum: strike out or settle in. Yeh, cool to me ... frustrating for you :blush: I'm sure it will go well for you :)

Like me ol'zen master would say "Everything always changing, changing, changing. Keep 'don't know' mind - only go straight." Makes a lot of sense somehow. Time changes everything regardless. Intuition helps draw us past having to make a 'good' or 'bad' decision.

While I dont subscribe to a total deterministic outlook, I do believe that somehow each of has a series of talents that we are good at, and if we follow our heart's drive, the universe will open up opportunities for us to excel, and help paint the universe gold!

...well it should work like that, anyway.

on Wednesday, August 16th, Julie said

Stay in Juneau! It's okay to have a low-stress life. Think of how hard you have worked on your career here in AK. I say, don't throw away your hard work. Now is the perfect time to kick back and enjoy the fruits of you labor. You can always travel to Centralia, Portland, Seattle and Olympia. Do you really want to live there?

Perhaps you are agonizing over this decision because deep down you know that you don't want to go. If in your heart you wanted to move to Centralia, then it would be a no-brainer to leave your cute little house in Douglas, all of your friends, and a job that you like and enjoy.


on Wednesday, August 16th, subi said

again, it is just a *very strong feeling* but I just don't see leaving AK being the best decision. You are a fighter and you will make your way no matter, but that AK spirit is simply not in OR or anywhere state-side. I *still* wonder if my choices were right about leaving AK. My opportunities there were much more tremendous... it's kind of like that big fish in a little pond metaphor, but even more....the spirit of people who find there way to AK, you being one, is unimaginable to someone who has not made that journey. tho, i think i am correct in thinking your dad gets it. AK is your home, you belong there, you have blossomed in Juneau, and you have made a wonderful network of artists and friends. have you thought about what uprooting will really be like? not just the moving and relocation, but the amount of time it would take to readjust, if ever (which i somehow fret about) have you considered how this will affect your art? this seems like a bitter-sweet decision, but if you go thru with it, you could suffer the depression of the weight of the decision...if you stay, you might too, and yes, you can always return, but having roots is not a bad thing either...staying youd be a liberation into greater things for you there, that you *decided* to stay. it's funny, life, i mean...and how your mom's advice about coming full-circle with a decision (finishing your studies in AK) ultimately, gave me the guidance and understanding to make the same decision about my time there...I wonder what she would think was best right now? I have another feeling, and it would be what your dad is saying...

on Wednesday, August 16th, berry bowman connell said

OK...OK...Wait a minit!
That ain't fair!
How 'bout I make ya dinner, too?
Some of m'family secret chicken legs, absolutely mouth waterin' good!
Fresh sweet corn on the cob from the garden, butter made from the cow down the road
Asparagus fresh picked this week at a friend's place
a 2003 Vintner's from Ravenswood, though only 6.85 a bottle, well made.
After dinner, an Oliver Mead wine and
ice cream sandwiches, too.

And, well, dang.
Haven't sold very much this month, so yer gonna
have t' come t'Indiana fer the meal.....

But, dang!
Give us lower 48s a chance!

on Wednesday, August 16th, Elise said

Hey Kasia, I wish I *could* wait patiently and see what happens but the people making the offer need a decision. If I can't accept the position they'll want to offer it to their number two choice asap and I respect that.

And Greg I agree that things will continue to change, whether I stay here or venture out.

But Julie... WHAT? You were the one who practically forced me to apply for this job, telling me how perfect it sounded for me and how it was such a great opportunity etc. (remember when we were out sailing?) What happened?

And Subi, I agree about Alaska, it's special and the people who end up here are...well, quirky and very strong. I've been up here since I turned 18, my entire adult life (aside from Spain and Hawaii)...but still, it *is* home.

As for what my mom would have wanted for me, that's hard to say...she was always very supportive of whatever decision I'd make. I think she trusted me to know the right thing to do.

Man, I was feeling sooo much more relaxed today; I had a brief talk this morning with the man doing the hiring and he let me know that they're aware of what I require to take the position and that they're working on it and that they'd get back to me later today or tonight.

I hung up and told myself, if they can offer me everything on my list, I'll take the job. And I felt a sense of calm over finally having a clear plan. If they can't offer me what I've asked, then I'll thank them anyway and be content to stay here. Either way I felt that the decision would, in some ways, be resolved.

Now, the "DON'T LEAVE" camp are getting me all riled up again. Maybe I need to just quit seeking advice for awhile?

on Thursday, August 17th, RR said

All the advice here is well meaning Elise but when it comes down to it you know it's only you who can make the decision. I hope whatever you decide works well for you. Take Care x

on Thursday, August 17th, Elise said

Hi RR, I know that the advice is well intended and I thank everyone for letting me know the pros and cons as they see them. It has actually be *really* helpful.

I hope my comment yesterday didn't come across as snapish, I didn't mean it that way at all.

But now, I think I've reviewed my options from just about every possible side and ultimately, I don't have to think about this as "forever". If I take it, I can stay there for a few years and if I hate it I can always try to move back to Alaska.


if I stay in alaska I can always seek out another job if my current one becomes tedious or I feel like I need a change.

Either way, this decision will effect the next 2-5 years of my life, not forever...thinking of it from that perspective makes the decision difficult, but not frightening.

Does that make sense.

on Thursday, August 17th,">Rob Roys said


I have had these choices come up before. In many ways I regret not taking them. In many other ways I am glad I am still here, but I really think I missed out on something. You should take it. If it does not work out you can move back.


on Thursday, August 17th, RR said

It makes perfect sense. And no, your comment wasn't snappish at all. When I took the job I am still in, it was because I really did need to change things but equally I told myself that I would review it after six months. I haven't been hugely happy here but it wasn't that bad. I guess I kept my options open and hey presto something else has come along. Career wise it's not going to be a good idea for me to move again so quickly so I've told myself I'll stay in the new job a bit longer - at least two to five years, which as you say, is not forever. We have to be pragmatic but I also think we can make things happen for us whether we really know we're doing it or not. I tend to be in the take it and see camp but that choice isn't how everyone thinks, and I certainly didn't feel like that a few years ago - I was in the last job for seven years too and it did shock/sadden a few people when I left but with internet, email etc these days - no-one is ever very far away. But now that you've had another day to think things over, we're all dying to know what you've decided :)

on Thursday, August 17th, Elise said

Thanks Rob,
I think the hardest thing about this decision by far has not been about leaving Juneau per se, but about leaving my friends.

I have received soooo many calls, emails, and visits from friends in town who read my blog or know that I'm seriously considering this move...all begging me *not* to go.

It makes me feel really good in one way, but sad too.

Anyway, the school is going to call me back tonight to answer any remaining questions I have and to let me know for sure that the salary etc. have been approved...if all goes well my feeling as of right now is that I will take the position.

I had a chance to talk to Rick this morning who I lived with in both Anchorage and Juneau...I asked him how much he missed alaska when he moved away and he said he did, but that after making the adjustment he really loved living somewhere where things were so much easier.

Then I talked to Jenni and Sean this afternoon, my kindred spirits from college, and they agree that taking the job could be a wonderful opportunity for me.

I get a very good feeling from the guy who will be my direct report, he has pulled for me in terms of getting what I've asked for and I think that says a lot about what it would be like working for him.

anyway, I feel a lot more relaxed about this as of right now so...I guess we'll see.