Thursday, February 02, 2012

Friends, Detractors and Nay-Sayers

Today I'd like to  talk about something that's both been an irritant and something I'm sure I'm not alone in experiencing. Detractors.

detractor |diˈtraktər|
a person who disparages someone or something.

Detractors can disparage a person, an action or an idea. I'm sure we all have them. In my own case, I have someone in my life whose opinions I have valued in the past who is disparaging our decision to move. Now, I'm sure she has her reasons for trying to convince me that I'm wrong, but there are too many reasons to make this move. Finances, health (our own and that of my aging parents), food security, a much needed lifestyle change and personal security are all among our reasons for making such a huge leap. But the one thing that bothers me the most is that as her friend, I would never tell her that her dream is going to ruin her family and make her children hate her. Everyone has a dream, and it's not up to us to judge another person's dream. No matter how ridiculous that other person's dream may be. I understand, too, that my dream is not hers. Hell, I'm her friend and I have no idea what her dreams are. That in itself is kind of sad, but I digress.

In the decade of the seventies, there was a rather large back-to-the-land movement. There were some that made the move out to the country uninformed but pursuing an ideal. There were some that did all the research and just couldn't make it. And then there were some that had done their homework, had prioritized and found a way to make their dreams a reality. My mother was one of the ones who dreamed about a life in the country for a long time, and it wasn't until I became an adult that I realized it was what I wanted as well. Various life choices landed me in a city removed from my family, and while I don't *hate* it, it's not what I want for our kids. Now I have an opportunity to get out of the city, out of debt and move back to where our kids can at least grow up knowing their grandparents and uncle. In this day and age, a good family with strong roots cannot be underestimated. Sometimes, family can keep us sane and grounded, and help us withstand shock and change better. And believe me, change is coming. I'd rather have my immediate family all in the same community when it hits.

One of my friend's rationalizations for my move being wrong is that our boys are going to hate me for uprooting them. Wow, talk about parental guilt! A generation or two ago, it was common for kids to live their whole lives in one town, in the same house, on the same street and with very little upheaval. That's not the norm anymore. Now, families move every four to five years and people change jobs at least that often. See the correlation? My friend has been fortunate to live at least in the same neighborhood for over a decade, which I think is great. We've lived here 11 years, which is bloody rare in this apartment building. But there comes a time when an adult, the grownup in the family, has to take a hard look at circumstances with a realistic eye and know when the tough jobs need doing.
This move is going to be tough. There will be compromises, there will be conflict, there will be growth, there will be laughter and love. But I am the first to admit that our financial circumstances are far from wonderful, through no fault of our own. We don't spend a lot, but we are probably two paychecks away from crisis. That can't continue, but I'm capped at work in both the number of hours I can work, and pay rate. I work hard, but I'm not paid what my work is worth.

So, for a lot of reasons, many of which I've not touched on here, the move, as hard as it will be, is necessary. The boys will not be pleased right away, but I know that given a chance, the new situation will grow on them. They will make new friends and have new schools that will not be filled with cruel kids interested only in teasing, taunting and making their lives hell. They will be able to breathe cleaner air and eat better food. They will be able to go outside and learn where their food comes from. They can enjoy an active lifestyle with purpose, as well as get to know their extended family. There's a lot of benefits for them. There are a lot more reasons to make this move than to let fear and uncertainty drive us into further debt.

Please, when a friend comes to you and wants to talk about what they want from life, and what they want to do; don't scorn what they're saying. Listen with an open mind. Be supportive and non-judgmental.
You never know how your comments, or your facial expression might cut the person you claim to care about.


Jacquelineand.... said...

You do know that you have my, and our, full and complete support in anything you choose to do, right? And for all the reasons you've stated (as well as the ones you haven't) I quite agree that this is the best move for all of you. *hugs*

Carolyn said...

Thank you. Your support, and that of the other 2 Musketeers means a great deal to us. I only wish that I could convince the person I talked about. But as my wiser, better half said; "everyone looks at life through their own experiences. Not everyone will have had to see life the way we do". If someone has had an easy life, then they won't understand why we make the gritty, hard choices we do. I'll just have to stop talking about it.

LindaM said...

We faced the same attitudes with our decision to leave the city. It was upsetting at first but it was what we needed to do. We had each other for support and were able to blow things off.
The kids were our biggest issue. They didn't like it up here and the local kids are unwelcoming snots. They remain so after 3 years. That might be a big hurdle for you, or it might not. But thats where I think you should focus the most in this transition. Kids are sensitive to change.
I suspect you have this covered. I think your doing the right thing.

Carolyn said...

Thanks, Linda. We're trying to make sure we have this covered. I'm well known for making sure I have back-ups and alternatives. I've tried to apply that thinking to this situation as well. My better half even thought of a basketball hoop in the driveway, except it's not paved. I'm willing to put in paver stones if my folks are willing. The hardest part will be winter activities. None of us are into skiing or snowboarding enough. Hmm, maybe snowshoeing...

LindaM said...

Do you have 4-H in Canada, or something similar? A hoop is a great idea I think. School activities will probably help alot. We ended up waiting for our kids to finish highschool in Chicago before the final move. It was just that bad for them. Now they are in college and away. That is how we coped. And now, they like coming home knowing they will leave.
Also, if you can get their old friends to visit, that helps us during summer vacation.