Since I have been asked about this one several times in the last week, I thought I would do a follow-up on how it has been being away from my family, yet following my dream at the same time. Get comfy, grab a pop, enjoy!
I have said it before, I will say it again. IT IS YOUR DREAM and with those dreams come numerous responsibilities. If I had a dream that I want to climb the highest mountain and it will take me away from my family for months, even years to prepare and actually achieve it- I have to think through what I really want to do, if it is WORTH it, because it would directly affect my family. Now with moving, your family (spouse, children, etc..) does come with you, so it’s the extended family that brings in the most questions and the most stress.
Some just get it in their heads that that’s how life is right now, and how it will always be. They are happy with the routine of every day, and every holiday. You always went to Grandma’s for Christmas, so how dare you even think of doing it another way, right? (Insert an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” here). But for the dreamers, I believe life is never routine.
We were in a position that our babies weren’t babies anymore- there was no need for sitters, someone to run over so I could just shower because the baby spat up again on my for the millionth time, etc.. you get the point. Our kids were not grown, but in the time of their lives that they were able to have been raised by not only their parents, but our extended family as well. They were at every birthday party, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and major life event. Now, I can honestly say I would have had a VERY hard time not having them there for these special days when my kids were young- but it is all I know.
That being said, it is up to YOU what you want your relationship to be like with the family you leave behind. Some aren’t close at all, so leaving them isn’t even an issue, while others, like myself, had to go through an almost grieving period after leaving. If I am being totally honest with myself, and my readers, I couldn’t have made this move when the girls were younger. I do look back at all the fond memories we made, and it IS important for there to be a circle of love from family while your children grow. That doesn’t mean that there can’t be because you relocate, but it means that you almost have to work twice as hard to keep the relationships alive for not only yourself, but your children as well.
It takes time, and it takes commitment on both sides of the family to make it all work out. My mom is able to come and go when she can, my dad is not. So I have to make the choices on when I can get up to WI to visit him and others who aren’t able to come and see me. It is a lot of give and take. You have to learn to be flexible- Christmas may not be celebrated on December 25th anymore in your family circle, but early December so you can celebrate it then and also a late Thanksgiving. Buy everyone calenders and write in possible dates to get together and ship them out to everybody- they can’t ever say you didn’t tell them!
Communication is key, in fact, if you don’t have it you will wind up losing the relationships. Yes, family will always be family, but you have to have an open mind ESPECIALLY when YOU are the one who is leaving the area. Just because it is your dream, doesn’t mean that others have to like or accept it. Some will be upset, angry, or just bitter. Remember, it is for YOU and YOUR family that you do it for. But have an open heart as well- talk to those who are upset and see what you can do to help them. You are correct, it isn’t your job or responsibility to do so- but we are all human and feel pain. If you can do something for a family member who is truly struggling with it, you can leave with a clear head and conscience knowing you did everything to help it. I strongly suggest that leaving on a good note with all family members is imperative- no one should start a new chapter if the old one still has chaos left in it. I
For those who burden you, who make you feel that your choice isn’t significant, possibly even stupid- again, you will have to go to that place in your heart and remind yourself why you are. You don’t want to make a choice that could sever family ties for the rest of your life, nor do you want to stay somewhere to appease someone else’s thoughts about how life should be for you. It really comes down to the closeness of your family and if they are willing to work on it WITH you. Ask yourself if your sister, brother, parents came to you and said we are moving away to fulfill their dreams… what would YOUR gut reaction be? Now put yourself in THEIR shoes, take a deep breath, and listen to what your heart is telling you.
Yes, we had naysayers. Everyone will. But, our families were behind us 100%. We heard the comments, the off-the-cuff remarks- it comes from their pain, their fear of what happens after we leave. We went on to live out our dreams- a HUGE adventure. They were left to go back to their normal lives, and all WONDERFUL lives, but we left a void for many that I know was hard for some to move past. But we couldn’t let that stop us- what if we never tried? What if we didn’t bother, and just stayed in our day to day lives? I know for me personally that I can’t imagine a life now WITHOUT Florida in it now. The opportunities, the experiences, my God the friendships I have made that just make my soul happy I am alive. To watch my kids laugh as we enjoy Disney, to hold my husband’s hand walking down Main Street, to show my Mom why I moved here when she came to visit… I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Have faith that those who love and care about you will stand behind you in your choice, and those that struggle with it are honestly struggling with themselves, not you. Dream BIG and make it happen, everything will fall into place as it is meant to. I leave you with this… REMIND yourself why you want to relocate, why you want this dream so bad- then ask yourself “WHY NOT?” Have a great day!