I had wanted to write about something else for this month’s magazine issue, but then things changed for us quickly – very quickly!  This has been a bit of a difficult article for me to write because it involves a difficult choice that we recently had to make about just what and where home is for us.

Over Mother’s Day, I saw quotes saying….”home is where Mom is”.

There are infinitely more quotes –   “Home is wherever I find myself.”  “Home is not where you live, but where they understand you.”  “Home is a shelter from storms.”  “Home is where one starts from.”   “Home is where the heart is.”  “Home is where the heart can laugh without shyness and tears can dry at their own pace.”

“Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration.”

For us the location we call home is apparently still very fluid.  We are moving – again!  This was not an easy decision to make.  My husband was born in Juneau.  I was born in Wrangell.  We grew up in Hoonah.  Having lived in states as far east as Florida, west as Hawaii, south to Texas, and in all three Pacific coast states, we came back to Alaska.  Back for work.  Back to raise our girls.  Back to be close to family.  Back HOME.

Being a licensed Naturopathic Doctor, it has been difficult for me to work in Alaska utilizing my complete medical training and experience because Alaska has an extremely antiquated and restrictive scope of practice for licensed Naturopathic Doctors.  I can’t complain too much; despite this, I have had the opportunity to work in two great specialty clinics here in Juneau – though always in a limited capacity.  I resigned one position this February, while continuing to work part time at the other.  However, I’ve been offered the opportunity to go back to Washington, where Naturopathic Doctors have long been recognized as primary care physicians, and practice with a full scope, comparable to other medical PCPs.  In addition, this opportunity allows me to work in both the specialties I’ve been part of here in Juneau… all while starting at only two days a week, so I can continue to focus on my most important work – being present for my two little girls – being, as fully as possible, a wife and mother first.   To sweeten the deal, my husband’s work recently gave him a promotion and offered him a transfer.  This would allow us both to be working and living in Bellingham.  So there it was.  We were suddenly faced with this difficult decision.  It was difficult because we were faced with choosing between two very good options.  The choice would be easy if one option were not attractive.

1) Bellingham is beautiful – we lived there for five years before coming back to Alaska and loved it for so many reasons…we have maintained a condo downtown that has been rented, so we can just move right back in while we house shop.  The work opportunities are fantastic.   2) Alaska is a unique and magnificent piece of earth that compares really to no where else.  We have family we are heartbroken not to be within walking distance of.  We have friends and a community – as does our oldest daughter.  She’s graduating Kindergarten as Juneau Montessori, but sure to be in a 1st grade with some of her classmates.

So how does one choose?  In an easy decision, one choice is clearly better than the other.  Not so in a difficult choice. You’ve heard me mention TEDTalks before, and one I recently watched by Ruth Chang was applicable to this situation.  She contends that having to make difficult decisions actually empowers us and allows us to create and direct our lives.  A life of easy choices only becomes a life of drifting with the current so to speak, or always moving in the path of least resistance.  It reminded me of The Landmark Forum seminar I took in graduate school.  The cliff note: you choose your life.  Simple.

The truth is (for us) in this situation, there was no “right” choice….there was no “wrong” choice.  There was simply a choice to be made.  Stay or go.  So in the spirit of adventure – we go!  Knowing full well that at any moment we can simply choose to come back “home”.

Note: I’d love to hear from readers :

How do you make difficult choices?  Post about choosing to be here in Alaska or go “outside”.  I’d also like to hear about what you say “Home is…..” Jump on the Alaska Southeast Living website or facebook page and share!

Dr. Summer Beattie, ND is a graduate of Bastyzr University.  She has over 8 years experience as a Naturopathic Doctor specializing in women’s health with an emphasis on environmental medicine.  Having served two terms on the board of directors for the Washington Association of Naturopathic Physicians, she has also worked in the medical aesthetics field since 2008.  You can reach her at onehealingcenter@gmail.com or