Having a close family is one of the greatest gifts anyone can ever receive. No one sticks by you like your family. No one is willing to help you out—whether you need your tire changed or advice on what career path to follow—like they are. They are your people in a way that most others can never be.
However, every rose has its sticker. And the pokey part of close families is that they like being just that: close. The idea of moving away is not a welcome one.
I had a dream—after writing my last blog—that my Grandma P. was alive and I left her birthday party to go do freelance work. Just like in reality, I put my life and my busy schedule ahead of my family. This is how I operate. They live near me, so I know I will see them eventually—and therefore, I don’t usually make time for them unless we have a date set on the calendar. My parents have taken to giving me the old “who’s this stranger?!” greeting when I show up at their house. And apparently, my subconscious is feeling very guilty about that.
So if these twinges of guilt can exist when one lives 5-45 minutes from the majority of her family, what sorts of ill feelings surface when she moves to another state or, God forbid, another country? I’m afraid the guilt might kill me.
And I’m afraid because there is a large part of me that wants to move away; experience new things; be somewhere unfamiliar after spending my first three decades in one place. This is exacerbated by a boyfriend who has Travel in his very core. He is not tethered to a family. They are spread out and he doesn’t grapple with guilt when he goes without seeing them for a year. He eats up the idea of living in an apartment in Paris or a villa in Tuscany. And there is a large part of me that wants to remove the screen around my fire and let him stoke it until it sprawls the hills and ends up in Europe.
But oh, the guilt.
I cannot even imagine how a move like that would be regarded. I would become known as the one who forever fractured the family unit.
So what do I do—try to develop sleeker feathers that allow the shame to slide right off? Force the man of my dreams to stay put (when I don’t even know whether I want to stay put) and then feel guilty for holding him back? Or is this some sort of deal breaking sign? That if he really were the perfect person for me, we’d be completely on the same page about all this stuff?