When you make a decision to leave the world you’ve been in for any significant amount of time, you’re making a whole slew of decisions at once.
The purely locational decision is one.
Assuming there’s a professional component, that’s another.
The hardest one is realized in retrospect, when you find yourself at the tail end of all the large and little stuff that needs to happen to get you to your new location and your new life and new responsbilities.
That one’s the social one.
If you’ve been in the town you’re sitting in for a while, I’m talking to you from the other side. I’m offering some feedback from the other side where the grass might be greener.
The friends you have are more than their roles as players in the experience you have every day. They are more than who showed up at the bar or house party and who didn’t. They are more than their love life drama and obvious shortcomings when it comes to showing up on time or really listening when you bitch about your boss.
They are more than the shared meals and concerts and shoulder to cry on…they’re more than the good and the bad stuff all added up.
They are the driving force in the web of life that’s making you who you are, where you are.
Those people are everything that goes into your sense of support and well-being, and their role is as integral to your happiness as the things you think you do for yourself which might be reproduced no matter where in the world you found yourself.
Your solo bike rides and Saturday morning coffee and dedicated Sex In The City rerun marathons all happen in the context of the access you have to the people who make up your immediate world, which quite frankly does not include anyone who isn’t there.
Proximity is an amazing thing because we tend to underweight it as motivated worldly citizens who want as much out of life as we can wrap our head and hearts around. I’m not here telling you that I regret moving to Vancouver and I’m certainly not telling you to forgo your dreams, but I am telling you that before you go you should notice something; the proximity you have right now to your people is inherent to the pace at which your heart beats.
I left my home, and I did so to recognize something I decided to trust; my potential was closely linked to the person I am around people who are smarter than me and in situations that make me slightly uncomfortable. Having felt underutilized and headed towards a mediocre version of myself, I followed an opportunity that I knew would put me in those two circumstances.
That’s a longer conversation, but it’s hugely based on my perception of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. Each one was a decision to play with better players for stakes I didn’t consider easily attainable.
To uproot a life on those merits inherently under-weights the role your heartfelt relationships deserve in most of your major decisions. I was an hour from my parents and a walk from my best friends. I was awash in a sea of wonderful people doing incredible things…make no mistake. Some of the smartest people I know were the ones I spent my free time with each weekend in Chicago.
But my shot at big things happened a different way, and it forced me to sacrifice something dear to the person I think everyone reading this probably knows (or can tell) that I am.
And all I can offer is that it’s very, very hard sometimes.
It’s something you should look around and appreciate, because you have so much more than you realize.
Even when you’re alone.