Last week, Nate Blevins talked about moving to LA with his wife to help her chase her dreams. Today, Jake Atkins shares his story about packing up and switching coasts for his wife. Jake and his wife are two of my favorite people on the face of this earth. He's been my best friend since my first year of college. I don't know many people that are more compassionate, understanding, creative, and hopeful than he is.
I know you'll love him.
When I was younger, I had plenty of dreams for my life. I wanted to be in a band. I wanted to play ice hockey. I wanted to see a great white shark in the wild. While also being in the water myself. Preferably with a cage between us.
After college, I married an amazing girl who wanted to become a naturopathic doctor. This meant packing everything up in Pennsylvania and relocating to Seattle. One of the best experiences of my life was our road trip we took across the country while towing a six-foot U-Haul of all our stuff. Having never been west of Ohio, it was quite an adventure.
But after the first year's dust had settled, it began to sink in that I was now committed to my wife's dream. This wasn't a bad thing, just something I noticed. I needed to focus on getting a real job to support us, and even more so after our two girls were born. Soon after that we bought a house.
It was official: I was a grown-up with responsibilities.
Wake up, catch the bus to work, play with the kids for 30 minutes before bedtime, then clean the house and reset everything so that we could do it all over again the next day. A good amount of conversations with my wife had to happen over Google Hangouts (if you have kids, you understand).
Through this mess called modern life, it's easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. The big dreams I once had for myself now seem like a vapor, a ghosting of something once so valued. I know they're still there in the background, but not so present anymore. At least not demanding my attention as much as the daily routine, job, bills, and chores.
I've come to find there are stages in life where my dreams need to be bigger than me. They need to outlast me. They need to stretch and push things to the side, making room for others.
Watching my wife graduate last year was as much a win for me as it was for her. I desire for my girls to live long, whole, happy, and meaningful lives, so pouring into their little hearts as they grow is simply my dreams being fulfilled daily. Their dreams are my dreams now, too, and that's a humbling and beautiful thing to share.
Don't get me wrong, I still have little tastes of my old dreams here and there. I regularly play in a band at church. I recently laced up the ice skates to pull my oldest daughter around the rink. But for now, nothing makes me happier than dreaming big with those most close to me.
Jake Atkins is a web developer in Seattle. When not working on the next awesome website, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two girls.