Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Moving Farther Away from Family

I did not realize how I appreciate living "close" to family until I moved "away". The median person in the United States lives 18 miles away from mom. In college I was about 1000 miles from home, but spent 3-5 weeks a year at home full time in May and August, then around Christmas and New Years. I briefly lived in Colorado after college, again about 1000 miles. Then I lived at home for about six months. Then I lived in Iowa, about 200 miles from home. I realized at the time that I definitely lived farther away from family than most of my coworkers, there were many who had moved from different time zones, even other countries. Seeing the numbers in the article linked above were interesting. Now that I am over 700 miles away it is a little harder to see my family and I have moved from the 75th percentile to the 85th percentile in terms of living away from home. 200 miles is a convenient distance, you can meet in the middle for lunch or dinner. I suppose being even closer would be even more convenient.

As you read through the article it seems to me that the ability to move is an economic privilege. I think we view moving as a economic hardship, something undesired certainly, and for many people the benefits of moving for a new job are much less than the negatives of losing the existing social network. So for me, taking a job 550 miles away, that comes with a raise, a lower cost of living, and very interesting work outweighed the social network that I had built in my life in Iowa, and that's a huge privilege.

People ask me about the risks of climbing Mt. Everest, and sometimes I respond with my opinion that to me the risk of not climbing Mt. Everest is greater than the risk from climbing Mt. Everest. That is an opportunity cost that motivates people to make a change. When not doing something is seen as the greater risk than doing that thing, new experiences will happen and you will learn.

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