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The Fear of Moving

My son recently announced he’s thinking of moving out of state. It’s not the first time he mentioned the idea, but it still startled me. We’ve been living in Oklahoma since August of 1999, a very long time apparently, and the idea of remaining here without him is difficult.

But as most 20-something’s, he’s reconsidering his future – and his well-being. Oklahoma suffers from two main natural disasters, tornadoes and earthquakes, and it’s too much to bear at times. Also, change is slow here, no matter how hard you try. People here are proud of their conservative, Christian roots and any attempt at change leads to a bitter showdown.

I try to reassure myself that he will either change his mind – again – or wait sometime before he makes that move. But he’d like to live somewhere where the weather is more predictable, the people are more progressive, and job opportunities abound. He just doesn’t believe that there’s enough opportunities here for him, and I understand that.

History holds scores of examples of people landing on one US coast and settling on another as they try to find their fate, as we used to call it back in the days. It’s no different for him. My daughter left for Florida seven years ago, and she couldn’t be any happier.

As for me, I’ve moved several times before settling in Oklahoma, namely because I wanted to stay close to my children. Or else I could have returned to my roots in New York City and continued on that grand career plan of my youth. It still gives me chills when I think of the city’s grand lights, the endless streets and vendors one has access to. But I made a sacrifice to play it safe and stay at my new home.

Career-wise, I know the opportunities for me in New York would have been endless. I had plenty of connections and loose ends I left behind, that would have eventually made for an unimaginable career-track, but I decided to leave decades ago and have fared well here. Oklahoma is clean, quiet, low key, and besides – I love my job. Love uplifting clients and watching their lives change positively right before my eyes. What a great feeling.

It’s something I tell myself whenever my son talks about leaving. As opinionated and unsteady I am about him moving away, I haven’t tried to change his mind. I remind myself of the  long trek I made from Brooklyn, NY,  to Oklahoma City, and how at times leaving behind loved ones and memories is the only way to recreate yourself and find other opportunities. I also remind myself that my life decisions are different from his, so I can’t possibly expect him to stay put for my sake. So the next time he mentions his big move, I’ll continue to listen, without judgment or fear, because I know that he’ll also end up making the best decisions for himself as well.

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