April 25, 2012 Moving On, Up
The good news is that the recent Faux Outrage hiatus is the result of a number of positive developments: I accepted a new job, reached one of those birthday milestones where folks start give you a hard time (and enjoyed the corresponding celebration), and am currently preparing to leave on a 10-day Europestravaganza.
In many ways, life is golden.
These are all positive developments and perfectly within my realm of reasonable expectations. Despite the fact that my new job is (technically) in another state and casually traveling to Europe is only possible as a result of highly evolved transportation technologies, I grew up — and continue to live — in a culture that, above all, seems to encourage movement.
And for good reason.
There are plenty of upsides to a highly mobile populace. For example, students are educated at institutions tailored to their specific interests, workers can fill labor voids created by the demands of industry, and similarly-minded individuals can form a community instead of living as individuals scattered throughout. The (theoretical!) result of all of this are highly-functioning environments composed of (theoretically) self-selected persons who (theoretically) choose to live in a location based on where their skills are most valuable.
Perfectly efficient mobility positively impacts everyone, even those of us who choose at a given time to stand pat. Incoming community members help static members of society by expanding our current knowledge. And as times goes by, as these new persons become enveloped in our ever-expanding social networks, we draw on their knowledge and perspective to refine our understanding of the world around us.
On the other hand, there are downsides to all of this movin’ around. The most obvious drawback is that our support networks are never complete and always in flux. I grew up with the unsubtle expectation that I would become a high school graduate, then a college graduate, and then…who knows, but in all likelihood the result of all of these educational experiences would push me outside the friendly confines of home and to a place where my skills/interests could be effectively utilized (so far as I understood at the time).
The end result is that our ability to move to greener pastures means we will ultimately physically leave the support group that is our family, the friend groups that we developed during our adolescence and early adulthood, as well as the mentors who helped develop and cultivate our adult personalities. Or in the alternative, the people that make up those groups are bound to leave us for any number of “reasonable” mobility-related reasons.
Ultimately, if you are like me and lucky enough to have had a life filled with opportunities, you spend your entire existence building up social networks and watching important people walk into — and out of — your life. It is a blessing and a curse (though mostly a blessing) to make so many great connections over the years. While it is nice to know that there are great people spread all over the country (and world) that count themselves among my best friends and confidants, the sad truth is that at any given moment, I am without a vast majority of the most important people in my life.
It’s just math.
This weekend, about the same time I check-in to my hotel in Prague, my life back home in DC will be forever changed, and not for the better. I am losing a best friend to the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina, for all of the “right” reasons. As much as I hate to admit it, I do recognize that this is not where she belongs.
She is an artist.
And despite the pain associated with her departure, I feel fortunate that we even crossed paths in the first place. It is an accident of history that she moved to DC several years ago, an accident that we met, and in the end, an accident that she fell in love with clay. And now, three years later, I spend my time wishing that I loved anything as much as she loves spinning mud on a wheel — even though that wheel is what is rolling her out of town.
She belongs in a pottery studio in the South, which is where she is going.
Mobility wins out.
The system works!
Yes, the system does work, but it is times like this when I wish it didn’t work quite so well.
Going to miss you, LeE.