It's no coincidence I started blogging about this as Master turns four. Previously he was too young to put forward his opinions on much, but nowadays he provides them in great detail whether we like it or not. Melissa asked some great questions on the last post about what happens when the kids don't want to live where the parents do. We often hear certain places being touted as great for specific agegroups. This place is ideal for young families. Another is great for retirees. A third is exciting (yet affordable) for teens and twenty-somethings, and so on and so forth. In some ways we are unique like snowflakes, and in other ways we are products of our generation or the biology and influences inherent to our current stage of life.

What happens when the kids want to live in one place, and the adults another? When I was a child I begged my parents to find a job in an exciting foreign location. I guess it wasn't as easy in those days, but my mother maintained that it would have been possible, except they thought it was "best for us kids" to stay put. No matter how many times I assured her we truly wanted to spend a year or more living in Birmingham or Dallas or Wellington like friend X, Y or Z, they utterly failed to pack us up and move us anywhere. Until I was sixteen. Then they packed us up and moved us to the next suburb, but nobody even had to change schools.

They still live in that same house today. My parents have lived in a total of three houses each their whole lives (the second two being common to both lists) and this is not likely to change. My sisters and I, on the other hand, flew the coop rather magnificently on reaching adulthood, and all of us now have to take planes to get home. I wonder how much of that was a reaction to the extreme geographical stability of our youths? I wonder how my children will react if I provide them with the opposite lifestyle?

Looking back, I don't think it was as simple as my parents deciding to put their nomadic dreams aside on the assumption that us kids wouldn't like moving - or at least that's what I'd like to think because, gosh, what an idiotic situation that would have been. I think there were a complex network of reasons for their choice, from my father's decision to be content with a humble role which allowed him to come home each night for dinner, to thoughts of my grandparents' health and (once my grandfather died) loneliness.

I'm wondering how your childhood experiences of moving - or not moving - affected your adult decisions to move or stay put? And I'm wondering which places are the most welcoming of all agegroups - young and old.


4 Comments

Esperanza said...

My parents grew up in St. Louis but decided they wanted to see the world, well specifically Asia and so they packed up and moved out at the end of college. Their first home away from home was in Tai Wan. Then try moved to Singapore, where I was born and then to Hong Kong. We moved to the San Francisco Bay Area for a bit (because my parents had a positive experience there on their way to Tai Wan, and they thought it was cool. Then later we moved back to Hong Kong where I spent all of elementary school and most of middle school.

I loves living in Hong Kong and am so happy my parents gave me that childhood experience. We spent our summer at home with family and friends so I felt I had the best of both worlds, an international upbringing and a close tie to family.

Now we live in San Francisco and with both sets of parents near by I doubt we'll move away though I wish we would spend some time abroad. Who knows, maybe it will happen but I speak Spanish and want my kids to too and I would mostly want to live in a Spanish speaking country and my partner only speaks English so I think creating a work scenario that would work for him in a country I want to live in would be difficult if not impossible. But I suppose we'll see.

HereWeGoAJen said...

During my childhood, we moved every two years with almost no exceptions. We lived all over the US and also in England and Indonesia. As an adult, I've done a lot of the same. All of my moves have been work related- first my dad's work and now my husband's, so it's not like we've had a choice. Although, I suppose there is always a choice, but this lifestyle is the one we've chosen and it comes with moving a lot.

amazedlife said...

My grandparents moved from the Netherlands to the US with their first baby, and my parents moved from the US to Liberia with their first baby (me). Ten years later, the war in Liberia drove us back to the same small city they had both grown up in, and I HATED it. I did not want to leave Liberia, and I missed it a lot when we moved back to the US. As an adult, I have lived in Africa and in the US, and right now I am in the US to stay for a while - the constant coming and going of the expat lifestyle got to me, and the loneliness of doing all that moving around as a single person. My brother has never left our hometown since we moved back from Liberia. He has always hated change. I think it's all an interaction of personality with location and mobility. Is it the place that bothers your son or the change?

Aerotropolitan Comitissa said...

@amazedlife:

At four years old? Hard to tell. I think a lot of it is the change but perhaps something of each. You have wise words about the interaction. Interesting to hear how different members of your family have reacted.

That last sentence goes for all. Also the specific influences on people's decisions (language etc).

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