The Decision Making Quandary for the Mobile Generation

Our “storm” yesterday – I am from Western New York so I am allowed to put ‘storm’ in quotations – was a ½ inch of sleet, which came with a 3 hour early release from school, at least a dozen accidents around the city, and the plow making its one and only appearance for the year. What cracked me up most was the fact that salt was being laid down on the roads a good 20 hours ahead of the start of the storm warning, which ended up being about 22 hours ahead of the actual sleet-fall.

I completely understand Southerners’ disdain for the cold, and their frightful reaction to the wet white stuff. They didn’t grow up going to school after up to 5 feet of snow had fallen on the ground. I mean, the first time I saw a cockroach – commonplace in the South, even in the cleanest of homes – I F-L-I-P-P-E-D out. I had to call a friend to come kill it for me, and when she arrived on the scene I was bawling my eyes out. Bawling. Over a cockroach. Ridiculous. And embarrassing.

The differences in Northern/Southern living are huge, some days more obvious than others. When I can’t remember how to say certain words because I’ve got my Southern ears and Southern speak on, I want a visit back home. When everybody smiles at you because it’s the polite thing to do, I am happy to live in North Cackalacky (nickname for North Carolina). When I want my hometown grocery store, well, I want to go home. When I want to pay less for my groceries, I am happy as a clam to be here.

For my mobile generation, we have to make a decision. Accept that our hearts will probably play a regular game of tug-of-war between our home of origin and our made-it-my-own home. Accept that our friends will become our family and that we’ll have to make the most out of the 2-4 times per year we see our blood relatives. Or, decide that even though we thought the world would be more fun 972 miles away from home, the tug of war is just too exhausting and home of origin wins. Decide that even though our friends have come to mean a great deal to us, nothing can replace the comfort of a daily dose of Home. There are advantages to both sides. Steps of courage to take on both sides. And we all choose differently. We all arrive at our decisions based on very different reasons. Yet, the universality of it all makes us feel not so alone in wondering… am I less of an adult because sometimes, I just want to go home? Am I less brave, less adventuresome because I prefer the confines of my hometown over the vastness of the world at large? If I’ve moved away from my Home of origin, then subsequently move back, am I weak? Am I lacking courage? If I move away from my Home of origin and absolutely love my life, does that mean I don’t care enough about my Home and my family?

So many questions, so many different answers. So many decisions. Hence, the decision-making quandary for the mobile generation.

Below is a picture of my two homes. The first is my hometown, a hamlet in Western New York. The second is a place my heart asked for from the age of 16 until I came here to stay at the age of 26.

Home of Origin vs. Make-it-my-own Home
My own Home of Origin vs. Make-it-my-own Home

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You tell me:

Are you living in a home of origin or a make-it-my-own home? What helps when you see the greener grass on the other side and want to hop the fence?

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I am itching to write something that’s not so mushy. Something witty, light and humorous, like Return of the Modern Philosopher’s many posts. (Go read him, he’s worth it!) Yet, I remain in a reflective mood. I stared at my computer screen – quite literally – for about 25 minutes before writing this, trying to decide what to write about. Since before Thanksgiving I’ve had my posts locked and loaded, scheduled to publish well before Sunday. That can only last so long in a writer’s world. We can only be prepared and ahead of the game for so many days before, eventually, the words run out. So, in my indecisiveness, I wrote about making decisions. Go figure.

4 comments

  1. I grew up in Maryland, and I lived there for 22 years. My entire extended family lived within an hour of me, most within half an hour. Then I picked up everything, and moved to California, a place I knew nothing about, and where I knew no one, to go to grad school, a process I knew would take at least five years. When I came to the west coast I had every intention of finishing my education, finding a professor job back in Maryland and moving back to live out my years close to my family.

    Since then I’ve established a life, graduated, met and married my wife, and started a career, all in California. A lot can change in eight years, not just in our plans for the future, but in who we are. I may started the process of growing up in Maryland, but in California I truly discovered who I am. In California I found a true faith community that has helped me grow with God. In California I met my wife, and found a surrogate family and friendships deeper than any I’ve made elsewhere. In California I can see the sun set on the Pacific Ocean.

    But in living in California means I only see my parents and siblings once or twice a year. And it means that when I have kids, the majority of their relationship with my parents and siblings will be over Skype. My mom keeps dropping hints asking when we’re moving back east. Houses and cost of living is more expensive. There are no thunderstorms and fireflies and snow. The crab cakes are severely lacking. And I can’t see the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean.

    There is no real answer, not that I know right now. I just keep living my life, knowing at least that right now, I’m where I’m supposed to be, and that God has a plan for me and my family.

    • Josh,

      Thanks for sharing! I agree, there is no real answer. It’s not black & white. But I believe that if you’re where you’re supposed to be, God’s perfect plan will follow you.

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