Here’s a sneak peek of my new book, “Home: Thoughts on Belonging”. There’s no guarantee this will make it into the book but it’s a very early taste. And if you want to help me create “Home”, check out my GoFundMe page!
There are a few who list all of the reasons why I shouldn’t move to Oregon, as if their negativity will protect me. This is not surprising. I’ve done enough big moves to know that there are some who will want to keep me in place, like the crabs who pull the one down who tries to escape the bucket. The initial response I heard from someone I’ve known for years in Rutland said, Oh, there are many drunk drivers out there, more than here.
I doubt that, I replied, taken aback by his words.
No, no, it’s true, he said and rattled off facts about drunks per capita.
Have you ever been to Oregon?
It’s beautiful. Bring on the drunk drivers! They won’t touch me, I said, quickly leaving the room for a co-op run. (A minute later, I made sure to tell the Universe to delete the comment about the drunk drivers. I’d rather not meet with any of them.)
Big moves have a tendency to scare others, especially those who feel stuck in their lives. It shakes up their own stagnation and discarded dreams. This is why I’m careful over who to tell and when because their words do influence me. I have the same caution when choosing doctors and readers. I don’t want anyone to steal my joy over this great change in my life.
This conversation reminded me of one I overheard after a high-school graduation a few years ago. As we all walked away from the ceremony, a father said to his young daughter, You know, at least one of them will be dead by the end of the summer.
Dad! she replied. How could you say such a thing?
It’s true, if you look at the statistics, he shrugged as they walked off.
Why would anyone say such a thing at a moment of pure happiness?
I’ve noticed this tendency in myself — the “I’m only being realistic” gene — which I learned from my parents. This is why it irritates me when it comes back for a visit in others. I wasn’t allowed to feel the pure, unadulterated joy of a move without my parents telling me all the reasons why it wouldn’t work out or loading me up with their disappointment because they couldn’t understand why I operated in such a foreign manner. Trips were one thing. Uprooting my life — just ‘cause? They seemed unable to wrap their head around the idea if there wasn’t a purpose behind it — a real job, a boyfriend. If it was for a woman — which it generally was — they wanted to hear nothing of it.
I’ve learned that it isn’t convincing others of the merit of your move — or any choice that you make. At a certain point, it’s about owning your life without question. It’s reminding your parents or whoever stands in the role of judge that you are an adult and have full control and responsibility over your decisions.