Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Location, Location, Location

Growing up in Rexburg Idaho made my childhood feel exceptionally long. Frankly, I thought it might last forever, and I wasn't really interested in being a child forever. High School seemed to take forever. There's lots of time to think. And what I thought was that, I really didn't want to live there forever.

Later on, I lived in Utah for quite a while. I liked Utah, and I liked Salt Lake specifically. In fact, I thought we would stay there forever.

We lived on a lovely tree lined street near downtown, close to everything we loved and we were content. Or, at least I was. Once Kirk started thinking about law school everything changed. He got into a lot of east coast schools and we particularly considered Columbia, Georgetown, University of Virginia and Cornell. So we took a little trip to visit the schools to help us make a decision. Columbia really was the best school in terms of reputation, and to some extent, the scholarship we got there was the best too. So it seemed like the likely choice, but you know, just to be sure, we took a look at it. Here's Columbia and Morningside Heights in NYC:

Looks great right?!

Except it didn't look like that to me the day we were there. It looked like this:

And this was just too much. I couldn't picture it. I couldn't imagine living there, working there. I couldn't imagine surviving there. And so that was that, we settled on University of Virginia instead:

And after 3 years of law school and missing the West and the sky and for a lot of other reasons, we headed back, closer to Utah, but not quite, to Phoenix, which feels like home now:

And I really love it.

But sometimes, I read something like this and I really wonder. If I had been more mature, would I have loved New York? Would our life have been very different? Or roughly the same? I don't know. Sometimes I go back to that time in my head and I wonder if we made a hasty decision. The scholarship money was better, we met a ton of church members that day on campus, one was even copying his primary lesson on the law school copy machine - how's that for a sign? But I was so overwhelmed by it all. And in the end, leafy trees and a prettier setting won out.

Maybe it wouldn't have mattered in the end. And I'm really not one for regrets, they are really useless.

But I hope my own kids will feel the freedom to go wherever their adventures might take them - even if that means I might miss them. Selfishly, I feel the same way my mom did "please stay here". But deep down, I really hope they'll always be able to amazing things, and never be afraid.


Anonymous said...

We are not who we are because of where we are. Rather, who we are with probably makes the difference.

Who knows that had you been in New York you might now have some terrible memory of a bad thing that happened when you lived there.

A mother is doing her job if she asks her children to stay close. We don't really expect them to, and we wouldn't want to clip their wings, but they need to hear it from us anyway.

Rexburg or Salt Lake or Phoenix...you might be in Africa serving a mission in a couple years so what's the difference?

Cynthia said...

Can't our adult kids feel free and have high adventure and great accomplishments and successes and still live within a 6 block radius of home. What's so wrong with that, I ask?

Bandanamom said...

See I know, it's totally my instinct to say that I really, really want them to stick around. BUT. My mom STILL bugs me about not living in Idaho. And it's really hurt our relationship. In addition to that, if I had followed my moms advice and the advice of a lot of other people who knew us back when we were first married, we never would have moved away for school. And if we had never moved away, Kirk would have just gone to the U. And if he had just gone to the U, I don't think he would be a partner in a firm right now. In fact, I SURE he wouldn't. I have the advantage I guess of seeing the people who took those other paths - the ones who stayed in Idaho, the ones who went to law school in Utah, and that's a very different path.

So is my path better? I don't know. Maybe it isn't. But I think maybe it's better for ME - and that seems important.

I just really don't want my kids to be frozen with fear I guess. Because I think fear is the main reason that people don't follow their dreams, don't accomplish the things they want to -

So if my kids dream is to live in Phoenix, then I say GREAT! But I don't want to stiffle them - because I know what that feels like and it's no fun.

Bandanamom said...

To Calizona - (Cindi)

What does that mean in your first paragraph of your comment - who you are with in terms of a spouse, or just the people you surround yourself with? Just curious what your take on that is.

Anonymous said...

This pleases me that you are confounded by my grand cryptology. Here is the answer, Grasshopper:
(you are too young to get this reference to "Kung Fu" w/David Carridine)The WHO you are with is your immediate family. Radiating out from that would be lesser influences of friends & associates.

I wasn't referring to the life path of schooling - obviously that makes a difference in career opportunities, lifestyle, etc. I meant of the Law sch. choices,(ea of them excellent)it was a rather even playing-field to my observation in acquiring the credentials he desired. You say you don't regret, but you speak of regrets. You still have the ability to change 'venue' if you want to, but you don't because this is "home". There's nothing wrong with that. Wondering how life would have been different if the law degree had been obtained in Boston or New York instead of Virginia is kind of moot.

Anonymous said...

As for the "advice" of family & friends in Idaho (specifically re: school) that's not advice; I would identify that as an expression of insecurity. Idaho cannot offer the weight of a law degree that a big name school can. Were you the first in your family to pursue an advanced degree? Maybe your process of decision-making was more of a ground-breaking than anything else. People will express their fears louder than their admission that the choices they made were less ambitious - for lack of a better word.

Nothing's wrong with making a living doing whatever is there for the doing in Idaho or anywhere else. I think it is a mistake to feel you didn't take their advice.
Perhaps what they were offering was more on a personal level of comfort rather than seeing the vision of your long-term future.

I still think a mother can ask her children to stay close. Expecting it is impossible. It shouldn't be a wedge, but an endearing sentiment - right?

Bandanamom said...

I think I understand what you are saying.

I think that a lot of that is true - but it's also a fear thing my mom had about venturing outside of the little cocoon they've created there, and outside the cocoon of "zion" as well. (sorta...although Idaho is slightly different version of zion...where we we sorta don't care if people drink coffee...but that's a blog for a different day)

But I think that you are saying that there's a lovely sentiment in the idea that we should tell our children we want them to stick around - because it's true, we do want them to stick around.

And that's probably accurate. But I don't think it works very well when we tell them that everytime they talk of any goals that would involve going somewhere else. I mean, imagine if everytime Robin told you she was planning on moving to DC, you told her she shouldn't because you really didn't want her to, that would be bad enough, but instead of saying it like that you said "I have a bad feeling about this". That's what I got told everytime we talked about moving to Virginia. I don't know what you said to Robin, but I would imagine it would have been something more along the lines of "Good for you! But we will MISS you! But good for you!"

So, I think I'm not explaining myself very well. It's not that New York was necessarily a superior choice to Virginia, but rather that I had almost no ability to even consider what kind of adventures we may have had in NY, because I couldn't even imagine myself there at all. Now I can, then I couldn't.

So it's not reallly about Kirk. I mean, you know, good for him, he went to a good school, and all that. But really it's more about wouldn't it have been nice if I had felt confident enough to consider it an option.

Because I think that's what it boiled down to - just a pure lack of confidence. And of course, these issues bleeds over into other things to - other areas where my lack of confidence has hampered my ability to succeed at things that were important to me - so that's probably a whole different blog too.

So you know, it's not so much regret as a realization. Seeing it for what it was I guess.

But I think it all turned out just fine, and really, even if I could go back and change it, I'm not sure I would. But it's just - you know that other path.

Does that make sense?

Anonymous said...

Robert Frost said it, didn't he? "The road less traveled..." and all that.

You are right; each time Robin announced goals/opportunities (which she had always researched laboriously beforehand including recommendations from her Professors, etc.) we responded quickly with excitement and kudos for her good fortune, her hard work, and her desire to take the steps necessary to achieve her dreams. I admired her bravery and ambition. I couldn't even go to my Aunt's funeral a few months ago by myself - I have never traveled alone - I thought I would have to miss it until David surprised me by getting 2 tickets and made a wonderful reunion with my long, lost cousins possible.

Now, IF Robin is going to have babies far, far away from us ~ (!) I don't know how I can manage to cope with that! I guess I will try, but just the thought of it is so painful I have to think of something else right away.

I have often felt I was a couple generations out of place;I would have been totally content to live and die in the same little town all my family had been in for years and years. I would have relished the community event of barn-raising and the concept of having family land when you married to get your start!

However, if this were true - I would be Catholic and embedded in a Portuguese community in rural Mass. Not appealing. But I would probably have really great skin & hair...

Heidi said...

I didn't know you were from Rexburg. Although that city has a place in my heart, I wouldn't want to live there forever either.

I agree with you that it is good to move away and experience life. There are many reasons -- even if one decides to move back close to home after school, job experience, etc. I believe it's better to leave for a time. (Maybe I will change my mind when Marley says she's moving to Europe.)

Suzanne Barker said...

I enjoyed reading the discussion. Again I think of it as it applies to me. In the last 20 plus years I have often thought I should move, somewhere, I'm not always sure where. Oregon comes up a lot as I have a friend there, I visit often and I find it beautiful. I have a somewhat circular kind of reasoning that goes something like this: It would be fabulous to live in________, it's so pretty, the weather is great, etc. But everyone I know and love lives here. I would be lonely there. I could make new friends, but I know it's work and would take a very long time to come anywhere close to have what I have here. What about my job? Would anyone else pay me a decent amount of money to work for them? I would have to buy a new place to live and it would never be as cheap as where I live now. Therefore, I would be lonely and broke and I would have a compeletly different lifestyle than I do here. So I don't go anywhere. But I often wonder if I'm not missing out on some great adventure or wonderful people or great job experience, if I only had the courage to pull up and go away.
I'm guessing I won't find that part out.


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