Taking risks to be happy

Wise and delicious.

“Okay,” I said. “Let’s go for it.”

Most people don’t make major life decisions based on wisdom hatched from a fortune cookie, but at that moment, Jenn and I couldn’t help ourselves. The cookie had spoken.

Stop worrying and take a chance.

We spent three years feeling homesick. Not for the suburban Massachusetts’ towns in which we grew up, but for the sun drenched personal paradise where we became grown ups. Where we tasted our first sip of sweet tea, heard our first y’all and for the first time, felt the warmth of a 75 degree day in December. Where we lived when we tied the knot, became an aunt and uncle and built lifelong friendships.

And like a bolt from the (Carolina) blue sky, we had gotten our chance.

Earlier this year, Jenn and I decided we ultimately wanted to return to North Carolina. We left the Triangle in 2010 for an opportunity to advance our careers and be closer to our families in Boston. It was the right move at the time. We grew as professionals and on a personal level, enjoyed special moments with loved ones. Sunday afternoon playtime with Abby. Emily and Andy’s picture perfect fall wedding. An unseasonably warm Red Sox season opener with my father against the hated Yankees.

The Sox won, too.

Opening Day, 2010. It was perfect.
Opening Day, 2010. It was perfect.

Still, something felt like it was missing and Jenn and I struggled to put our finger on what it was. We felt slightly out of sync with the world around us and the feeling unexpectedly followed us after our move to Albany in 2012. Something wasn’t quite right, but what was it? We had good jobs, good friends and plenty to do around us. Soul searching gave us our answer: North Carolina had become our home and we missed it.

Imagine our surprise months later when home came calling.

Jenn learned of a job opportunity at North Carolina State University, her alma mater, in late June. And this particular opening was different than any other. During dinner, she told me her possible supervisor was the head of her assistantship during graduate school, her potential coworkers taught many of her classes and the office was located a few buildings away from the workspace of one of her closest friends. By the end of dinner, both us believed it was an opportunity too good to ignore.

That’s when I cracked open the cookie.

Stop worrying and take a chance.

Jenn accepted an offer weeks later, stuffed what she could into her little red hatchback and headed south. She made it home and now, it’s my turn. We’re juggling two households, she’s adjusting to a new position and I’m neck deep in job search while navigating my current responsibilities at work.

It’s stressful and at times scary, but I have found being happy takes hard work and as cliche as it may be, a willingness to take risks. This is one of those times.

Thankfully, the cookie is in my corner.

My other favorite fortune.
My other favorite fortune.

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