When things start to get hard, I usually approach my husband with words like, "Let's move" and "let's move." He usually smiles, nods, understands, agrees; we look for homes in San Jose or Boston, I reminisce about the cottage I had found in Surrey (England).
It's not too hard to imagine leaving, starting over, finding a new adventure. The idea excites me --new people, new places, new experiences...but for some, it frightens them. Moving across the country (world?) is akin to having an arm removed. Why leave family and familiarity? Why leave comfort and religious understanding? It is too hard; to risky. There is too much to lose.
But to me? Staying is harder.
Leaving is easier because there is no longer a need to face the immediate challenges. Leaving creates an excuse to sever relationships, and ignore glaring problems, hoping they won't reappear in the "promised land." But they always do. We can't escape from "problems" because that is what we face in life, no matter where we live or what we do. Of course, choosing to live in a certain place could definitely make the problems easier to face --or change them altogether --but it won't erase them completely.
On another note, I have this problem. This problem is called The I'm-not-sure-what-I-really-want-in-my-life Syndrome. Let's call it TINSWIRWIMLS for short (for long?). Here's the symptoms of this disease:
I want to be a rancher. I want to be a farmer. I want to ride horses and plant gardens and brand cattle and herd sheep and mend fences and cook potatoes and rise with the sun to haul some hay. I will work hard with my family at my side, and we will reap the benefits of that hard work through satisfaction, rain, and mountain vacations.
I want to live in a mansion --no, an estate! In England. I want to be wealthy and have gardeners and maids and spend my days walking through my forests and gardens and write my novels. The fame I'll have will come from my not-so-quirky desire to be a recluse, and I will spend romantic evenings by the fire, and beautiful days in the local village buying fresh produce and laughing with shopkeepers. My novels will be read by Queens and teens, housewives and old men. Writer's block will be cured daily by walking through those gardens, and I will write at least 8 perfect novels, not quite unlike Jane Austen.
I want to live in the City. San Francisco, New York City, Boston, London --doesn't matter. I want to have the latest fashions, and spend time with famous people; royalty, actors, philanthropists. I want to eat the best food and dance to the best music. I want art museums, operas, concerts, and trains. I'll wear cocktail dresses, long coats, and jewelry. People will respect and know me because of my music; I will be a concert pianist, and I will be good at it, too. Dang good. My ability at the piano will inspire millions and millions...
I want to be Donna Reed. I want to feel excitement at preparing a beautiful meal for my family. I want to be the best mom: cook, sew, read, clean, prepare, shop. I want to be that "cool mom" who knows all of her children's friends and hosts parties and plans neighborhood picnics while running the PTA. I want to raise my children in the same house forever --marriage to death, the same house. The sense of community will be the reward, and I will be known as a stalwart neighborhood figure --even when I run for city council.
I want to travel the world. The children will be home-schooled as we visit far-off lands. We will all learn about biology in the Galapagos and study insects in India. We'll learn about tribal law in Africa and hike mountains in Peru. Snorkeling in Australia will be followed by architecture study in Germany. We'll spend months in the Baltic, years in Italy, weeks in Thailand, and at least a month in Bali. We'll discover species in Madagascar, and explore the Amazon in Brazil. I will write about our adventures, we'll make amazing friends for life, and we will have gained a perspective that can never die. And then we'd do it all over again.
I want to go back to college. I want to get a marketing/advertising degree and spend 20 years as the CEO of my own advertising agency. Or maybe I will get my Master's in MFT (marriage and family therapy) and practice therapy. I will be a famous therapist and wind up on Oprah. Or maybe I'll just use my degree to open a small practice in a city in Canada. I will help people change their lives; I will help save marriages and families. I will feel such peace when I stop a suicide or encourage a couple to work it out.
I want to take a nap.
My awesome buddy Michelle (whom I miss most dreadfully, and still don't get to talk to nearly enough) and I talked about this at length: we both want to be everything and go everywhere and do everything. The conflict of our TINSWIRWIMLS is so intense, that it amplifies all of our other problems. Depression is worse. Whining is worse. Longing and pining and yearning is worse...
These are the problems with TINSWERWIMLS. The longing, pining, yearning, whining, depressing state of mind --it's quite consuming at times. The good part is if I were to follow these impulses and move each time and try out each new thing, it might stop. It could!
But I doubt it.
So, are you all crazy with TINSWERWIMLS, too? Or am I just the insane one? And if you could move and live any place in the world, where would you live and why? Would it change if your circumstances were different?