Recently I acquired something on Craigslist. When I went to make the exchange, I discovered that the person I had been engaging with online had been a girl I had grown up with. In pulling up to her grown up house, it might as well have been her childhood house. Looking at the family she created, it seemed almost identical to the family she grew up in. I never knew her well, but from an outsider’s perspective she was leading the exact life she grew up leading.
When we were first looking into areas to move to, both my husband and I felt strongly that we didn’t want to move back to the town we grew up in. We couldn’t shake the feeling that we were small town people moving back to our small town. Having moved fifteen minutes away, I’m not sure we have made a tremendous move.
I’m not sure the aforementioned girl went away to college, but I’m also pretty sure that me going to a university where a quarter of my graduating class went doesn’t make me worldly. I did have the amazing opportunity to live in Spain for four months. I was able to study abroad because its popular to do and I found a reasonably priced program that sent me there. Although that allowed me to see more of the world than I would have otherwise, going to nightclubs with my American friends isn’t exactly an extreme cultural experience (that perhaps it should have been).
Would I feel more worldly and less like this girl if I had picked up and moved across the country? Away from our friends and family? More worldly perhaps, but definitely not improve my quality of life. I wouldn’t change anything to have the opportunity to have our parents and grandparents as vital parts of our children’s lives
My mom grew up in a place that eventually changed so dramatically and all the people she knew that had lived there were forced out. I’m blessed that I have a place to go “home” to. Yet the familiarity of it is sometimes eerie. To have the chance to carve out my own path with new firsts for our family is exciting. And that’s why those fifteen minutes made a big difference for us. I am sometimes fearful that we chose the proximity because we’re scared of the unknown with other places and this fell in our “comfort zone.”
Is it ok to settle for your comfort zone when your comfort zone is a pretty nice place? Is it really fair to criticize my Craigslist friend for recreating the same life she grew up in? Maybe that’s the kind of life she dreamed of having? Or did she just settle for it because that’s all she knew? And could the same be applied to me?