So, there are a lot of things I didn't quite realize I agreed to when I decided to move away from where I grew up. I guess most of it should have appeared to be obvious to me. I think when I first decided to move to NYC with Greg it was very exciting and sexy. It is still really exciting and rather sexy, but there was a lot that I just didn't think about when I moved away.
I feel like our parents and family work so hard to get us prepared for life. They put their blood, sweat, tears and not to mention money and sanity on the line daily. They do the best they can to get us ready for life, all while not knowing how things will turn out. All while not knowing if we will be moving away for college, and then moving away after college. If we do not go to college, will we join the military, will we move to another part of the country to find work, will we move out of the country all together chasing our hopes and dreams.
While I do not have children yet, I do feel like it must be rather challenging. Knowing that for so many years your children really are part of your world, they are a central part of your world. They may go over friends' houses, they may go away to camp or away on vacation for a bit with friends, family, exes, etc. but more often than not, unless they are away at Boarding school you get to see your hard work daily. You often get to spend time with your children, see how they are doing, teach them, learn from them and just enjoy their company. Granted anyone that has had a teenager may wish more often than not their child was not around, as I know that can be a challenging time, but still, you get to see them.
I can imagine it must have been hard for my parents when I went away to college and decided to live at school. While Wheaton was only about 40 minutes away, 30 ish when I really needed to get home, it was still ddifferent. I was away from home. I was no longer living at home. The last time I really lived at my parents' house, gosh, I guess that was the summer after my freshman year. The summer after my sophomore year I spent most of the summer living at Fitchburg State College as an Upward Bound Camp Counselor and the summer after my junior year I was one of the chairs in charge of new student orientation, so I lived in a house on campus all summer working on and planning Orientation.
After I graduated I quickly went to Florida to spend two weeks with a friend in Florida, spent a lot of time traveling to concerts around the country with friends and then moved to Cambridge, MA that July to spend my year-long placement working at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. After that I moved to Somerville to live with Becky until I got my job at Brandeis when I lived there and after Brandeis I moved to NYC.
I guess I am realizing since I was19 years old I have no lived at home. There was a certain level of comfort and convenience that I had from 19 to 25 ish. While I was in my early to mid-twenties while I wasn't living at home, I was still in MA with a car. This delayed the realization of what I did not know I agreed to by moving away.
So, now that I have set this story up nicely, let me see if I can try and convey the feelings I have had since moving on and moving away from where I grew up. Before I go through this list, I hope it doesn't seem like I am complaining. I just came to the realization of all of this while I was in the shower this morning and I wonder if others who moved away struggle with similar things:
1) You will be the one traveling home to see those you love: As much as people promise and care and have the best intentions, you will need to go back to where everyone is to see those you love the most. My dad always jokes that I am the one that moved away, so it seems only fair that I am the one that has to travel back home. Don't get me wrong, everyone is busy, and I have had folks visit me and it has been such a blast, it was just something I didn't realize when I left. I had fantasies of groups of friends coming down and visiting us, staying with us, hanging out and having a blast. Living in MA was different, with a car it was a bit easier for everyone to travel to see folks. Living in NYC I quickly have realized that the expectation is that I will go home to see those I love. I will have to be the life long traveler for birthdays, weddings, funerals, showers and holidays.
2) You will never have the privilege of hosting a holiday: I will never get to stay home and not deal with the Christmas or Thanksgiving holiday rush and travel. My family and friends mean the most to me and because of this, I have agreed to this unwritten rule, I just didn't realize how challenging it would be, how expensive it would be and how lonely I would get when I first made the move.
3) Sending a check suddenly becomes the most affordable option: As I have said so many times, my friends and family are most important to me. That being said, there have been too many times when after adding up the cost of a bus ticket, taxi and gift, I have decided to just send a check and not make the trip. I have heard form folks who have told me they would rather get to see me than have me send a check for their shower, wedding, baby, etc, I just don't feel right not passing along a present, of some type. This has been very difficult for me. As someone who always tries to lessen the power money has on me and those around me, it frustrates me that there are times when I have to send a check, because I cannot afford to travel to be with those I love the most
4 You will not get to support those you love as often as you would like: Living back home I feel like I was always attending wakes and funerals. I feel like I was always giving people hugs and finding ways to show support. Since living in NYC this has been nearly impossible. I have been able to travel home for a few funerals and wakes, it is just hard to realize that I just am not able to show the type of support and love I would like if I was living where I grew up.
5) You will not know your friends' children as well as you had imagined you would: This has been one of the more difficult things for me to swallow. I have some really close friends who have had children. I have no doubt if I was living in MA I would be around for b-days and baptisms, and just weekend hang-out sessions. I have no doubt they would know me much better than they do now. I have no doubt I would make myself available to help out, babysit and would just get to spend so much more time not only with my friends' who mean so much to me, but their children who do as well.
6) You will be jealous of your friends who have "moved on": Another duh statement of the century, but it is so true. As I live here in NYC and try my best to meet people and make friends, I have a terrible time seeing people I use to be so close with move on. Gosh, that sounds just awful. I guess I just miss my friends from home and it makes me sad to know that I would probably be at more parties, and in more FB photos if I still lived in MA than I am now. It makes me sad to know while everything is the same when we get together, we don't get to spend nearly as much time together as I would have hoped--so in that regard, things just aren't the same.
7) Your Parental Guilt will be rampant: My parents who have always been so supportive of my moving away and who always says to me, "their job was to give me my wings to fly, to prepare me for the world so I can leave". I just happened to fly to NYC. I feel bad when I am not around if they aren't feeling well. I feel bad when I am not around to hang out and talk. I feel bad when I am not around to go to family parties. I guess I never realized that I would feel guilty about this, but I do.
8) Your family will grow to the point of not recognizing them: I haven't lived at my parents since I was 19 and haven't lived in MA since I was 25. That is between 9-14 years of not being around as much as I once was. I always get jealous of all of my cousins that get to spend more time together and hang out more. I always feel so old when I go home and everyone can drink now or people are now in middle school, high school and college. I miss them all and love them so much and it just makes me sad that I feel like I knew them all best when I babysat them, which they probably do not even remember.
9) You agreed to hearing about it all: Part of the unwritten agreement is that you, especially thanks to Facebook, will get to hear about all of the fun, while never really contributing. It is hard to discuss something you and 3 friends no one knows did. It
10) Technology isn't the same: In addition to the promise of visits, you also heard that you would get to keep in touch all the time. Since no one uses the phone anymore and I feel like even e-mail has become pointless, while I appreciate getting to follow friends and family on Facebook, it just isn't the same. I feel like there are some people I know better now than I did when we were friends, but I still don't get to hang out with them. There are some people I miss more than I would ever admit to and I never get to see them. There is something so satisfying about giving and getting hugs and it just doesn't happen in NYC nearly as much as it should
11) You will be totally out of the loop and miss out on A LOT: There is only so much you can keep up on via Facebook, e-mail and phone calls. I feel like with my family especially I am the last to know everything. There will be things you miss out on...a lot of things!
So, why do I stay in NYC? Well, to be totally honest, I really love it here. I really love the experiences and the growing and learning that has happened. While it has all been challenging and down right scary, I am proud of myself. I am proud of Greg and I for making it through and getting where we are today. I also am embarrassed to admit that sometimes it is nice to be away. It isn't that I don't love everyone dearly and while I am not sure how healthy it is, it is good for me (as someone who worries a lot) to have some things that are out of sight, out of mind.
All this being said, I do wish I could move everyone I love and care about to NYC. That would be great! I sometimes wish we could travel like packs through life. As there are other places Greg and I have talked about moving that would be further away than we are already. That makes me sad because I know the list I just created will grow even longer. I wish we could alternate and spend time in packs to help support each other. While I wish this was possible, I do wonder if I would be the same person. Would I have stepped out on my own? Would I have taken the chances I have? Would I become the person I am today?
I am so grateful for where I grew up. I am so grateful for the experiences I had, the friends I made, the family I was born into. I miss everyone terribly, and I guess I just hope they know I think of them all often and that while we don't have much space, there is always a free floor for people to sleep on.
and that's all she wrote....