Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Greener Grass

I just arrived home from a quick weekend trip to Fort Worth. And my heart hurts a little.

I get back there at least once a year, sometimes more, and whenever I'm there, I'm struck with how much I LOVE the way of life there. You don't have to make TONS of money to have a normal life. Moms can stay home with their kids (if they want) and don't have to live off of Top Ramen. People do life together and live in community in a way that I can't even fathom. Everyone is just so nice...neighbors actually talk to one another. It just feels like a happy place.

I know I'd enjoy living there.

BUT, I've lived in TX, DC, and Sacramento...away from my family. When I came back home, I said that I wasn't going to do it again. My brother and SIL live in CO and we miss them desperately. I've watched them raise their kids away from both of their families and know that at times, they've wished they had extra help and that they miss spending time with our grandparents and cousins, too. I'd be a fool to even consider a life away from my family...

But that means I'm a fool to continue living in Orange County, too, right? I am tired of working my butt off at a job that frankly pays me a lot of money, and yet, at times, I feel poor. I am tired of being a slave to my tiny condo and big mortgage. I am tired of living in my car because I'm a commuter (85,000 miles in 3 years!). I am tired of living several cities away from my best friends and how we have to be really intentional in order to spend time together.

Have you had to weigh decisions like these? Have you chosen family over way of life or vice versa?

Sorry for being such a downer...I have a long day ahead of me and hope to snap out of it soon!


22 comments:

Emily@remodelingthislife said...

I completely understand what you are saying. For me, being away from my family would be really really hard. But we gave up a life much like yours is now when we were living in Colorado. Tiny condo, huge mortgage, good pay but rarely feeling like it was worth it. We were near hubby's family so it wasn't as hard to let that all go and start over near my family where things are slower, easier, and less expensive. I think that when it comes down to it, I'd raise my living expenses a LOT if it's what it took to be by my family. So, I completely understand how you feel and would probably do the same you are - and some days have the same downer days about it. hugs!!! xoxo

Cherry Tree Lane said...

My husband and I have struggled with this for several years now.
We genuinely don't care for the OC way of life, and would much prefer live in another state. We have wrestled with it for awhile, but have continued to live here because we desire for Kensington to have a relationship with certain family members. We have a very small family (on both sides), and we only see several of them on a regular basis (more than once a week) the rest of the family aren't as close.
However, we feel the pressing in often and still consider it from time to time.
We often remind ourselves that when we are supposed to go we will know and God will make it clear. We never want to force it.

Luv 2 Kreate said...

I think everyone has to make a choice like this at some time in their life. In the end you have to know that you can live the the choice you make, either way!

Ruthanne said...

I'm used to being away from family. My father was military and we lived overseas and moved around a bunch. When I married my manly-man, he was active duty military and we moved all over the place.

It's only been in the last few years we've lived close to family.

It was hard being apart, but most of the time I just compartmentalized it. It wasn't apart of my everyday life. It only hurt when we visited them or they visited us.

{Big Hug!}

Pour a glass of wine, take a hot bath, read a fluffy magazine, watch a chick flick. Those things help me! Of course, I have been told before I'm kinda superficial. *snort* ;D

Maren said...

Stumbled across your blog. Can't remember how, but glad I did. I too am single, 33 and live in Orange County. I just traveled to WA to visit my brother and SIL and their 4 kids. They moved out of the OC to an Island just outside of Seattle to afford some land and a place for the kids to run around. I miss them terribly and travel up there a few times a year. I am feeling the same way since I returned. Thanks for writing.

Mar-Cee-Ah said...

Texas is plenty big - so c'mon back when you can! :0)

amy said...

we lived away from family for 3 years and decided that was long enough. now that we are by them, we sometimes wonder if we should move away again. i think being by family is important, but quality of life is more important. you should fee good about what you are doing and the life you can afford. - at least that is my opinion :)

Tamara McDonald said...

Jenny...It was so good seeing you this weekend! We have always struggled with CA or TX. We chose to move back to TX to be close to my mom when she was sick and also to have that good quality of life. Good schools and nice homes without having to live 2 hours outside the city. Even in Riverside I wasn't thrilled with the schools. I will admit, we have had moments where we sooo miss CA and almost moved back about a year or so ago. I wish my kids could grow up by the beach and I know my husband would have more work opportunities out there, but it is family that keeps us here. Nothing beats family, so you are making the right decision to be in CA in my opinion. One of these days when you have your own kids, it will seem crystal clear! Take care and hope to see you soon!

CarleeKajsa said...

its so tempting to think about moving away and having a mortgage that is smaller than our rent! for more! but that is the *huge* drawback isnt it? we grew up in the johnson compound, so being close to family is what we know and depend on...i dont know if i could do it!

Amber said...

I can understand how you are feeling, just a bit backwards. We were living in northern michigan, and just not making it money wise, so we moved out of the prestigious cherry capital and headed to a typically more expensive place to live. Makes sense? lol... not really but South Florida means big pay raises within the companies we work for...for about the same cost of living as the city in Michigan. So a bit backwards... but I miss home, and how charming it was, and all my close friends, church, the bay... downtown, my dancing pals etc. I mean now we have 5 lane highways vs. living 2 hours away from a highway! The question where to call home is so hard... Best of Luck! :)

Melissa Brandman said...

We moved to the Bay Area (and away from our families and most of our friends) for about 4 years, and ended up moving back about 1.5 years ago. I'm happy to be back - we missed being with everyone and it's great for my girls to grow up around their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. But there are many times that I miss the Bay Area way of life.

C'est la vie, right?

Sara said...

Jenny,
You get one shot at this life. I live away from my family and my friends to have a better life for myself and my family. But with that, the move here has brought so many new friends and new adventures that I could have never experienced had I stayed where life was familiar. Texas is a wonderful place to live, but so is Orange County. Both have it's pluses and minuses. If you are ready for a new adventure then take it on. Your family will always be there for you. That is what is so great about them. You do what makes you happy because that is what makes them happy.

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

I grew up in Fort Worth and always wondered why my parents chose to live there. Now we live in Houston and I can see why Ft Worth was a great place to settle down- it's a wonderful place to raise a family. Trees, friendly people, Sundance Square, cheap cost of living...

Personally, I would cut back on house and/or lifestyle if that meant that I could have more quantity and quality time with my family. And if it meant moving across the country to accomplish that, I would do it. Especially if it means being closer to extended family. What I wouldn't give to have my sisters and brother in the same state as me! CA, OR, NY and TX just aren't close enough together.

(((hugs))) It is hard to be away. I'll be praying for you and for God to encourage your heart.

Jana said...

this one speaks to me girl. I couldnt help but have tears in my eyes, in one year I have lived in 3 states because of the military. I have no choice but to live away from most of my family. I know how it feels to be torn, however, in this case it is your choice rather than the fact that some paperwork keeps you under the militarys thumb and I dont know what thats like. What I can tell you from where I stand is that I would never go back home, I live in a place like Ft Worth. Its amazing here. I wish this kind of happiness for everyone. But if you wouldve told me that a year ago, I wouldnt have believed you. Heres to happiness where ever you are sweet friend. We couldnt even sell our house this time, had to become landlords. But its all possible :)

Tira J said...

Hi Jen. Not sure how I missed this blog entry. I don't know any other way of life away from my family. I have lived in So Cal my entire LIFE and my Mom lives 20 miles away. Same for my hubby, but he was in the military for 4 years and traveled the world. I cannot imagine living without having my Mom close by. Like others have mentioned, when you have kiddos, things will become more clear. Maybe we need to continue that conversation a few weeks ago about taking risks? We all love you and want the best for you and for you to follow your dreams. I know what some of those are and think the opportunities are endless, as I have the same dreams. Let's get together soon. xoxo

Jenelyn Russo said...

I get this. Really. After graduating from TCU, I moved back home to Orange County. At the time, it was a no-brainer. But the thing about going out of state to college is that my dearest friends are just that--out of state. I have had wonderful trips meeting up with them over the years. Our kids now play together when we meet up. But I see their lives and I wonder....but only for a minute because I am here in CA near my family and my husband's family and no matter what crap CA throws our way (which is plenty) I know we made the right decision.

Missie Johnson said...

SO true sista! I kinda loved being in Oklahoma this last weekend...I love how everyone lives within exits off of the freeway together. And Paul's whole family lives within 200 miles of eachother, must be nice!

Living With Lindsay said...

You know I'd always welcome you back in Texas!

I will say that as someone who lives many, many states away from her parents, I desperately wish they lived closer. DESPERATELY. I am so jealous of people like you who do live close to family. We miss that so much in our lives.

That being said, there's nothing on God's Green Earth that could ever convince me to move to where my parents live. :) They'd have to move here, and I wish they would...but I know they'll retire in Florida.

I also think that when you do get married and have kiddos, you aren't going to want to work at the pace you work at now. Or commute as much. Or attend so many commission/city council/yadda yadda meetings.

How about if you convince your folks to move to Cow Town with you???

Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish said...

I understand you completely. Most of our fam lives in WV - and while it is beautiful and I love it - there are no jobs. Especially not doing what I do. So we have tried to move to be somewhat close (aka - a days drive) and still be employed.

Laura said...

Even though the specifics are different, yes I have felt like you are feeling.

Here is what helped me.

While at a job, very different from how I had spent the majority of my career ( I had become a consultant: more money, travel, etc.) all of a sudden one day at work, I decided that I would be leaving and returning to a simpler life (teaching at a high school across the street from where I lived).
Guess what? The actual leaving didn't happen for almost a year.
Just knowing I was leaving was an enormous relief.

It sounds to me like you know what you want.

Laura

White Spray Paint

(I live in South Texas so I understand you wanting to live in Texas.)

Julie {Angry Julie Monday} said...

Oh my friend, I'm there with you. Mike and I want to run away from here too. I know, can you imagine that? We are dying every month when we pay our mortgage. The ONLY thing that keeps us here is Caden and my parents. We almost moved to Vegas in 2000-ish. I wish we would have. We live in a great area, but I wish we could be in a different place. I would follow what your heart tells us to do. I think you are in a really good place in your life right now, where you have the opportunity to make some choices.

ALTHOUGH, I would kinda miss my personal paparazzi.

Revamped French Maison said...

Well, I do understand how you feel completely! Emphasis on completely! I'm from Cali, live in Alaska, my friends and family are spread from Tx, Ca, Az, NY, NC.... It is very hard to catch with them since I'm 3,000 miles from the nearest one. But...I make friends in the computer, talk to my peeps through the computer and try to remember everything happens for a reason..we are all where we are for a divine purpose or maybe not... But it makes it easier to deal with and I feel better. Hope it makes you feel better too and gives a different perspective.