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Old 06-16-2010, 07:34 PM
4 posts, read 18,377 times
Reputation: 11


Hi All,

I've read several of these "moving away from family" threads, and in some ways I have a bit of a unique situation, so I thought I'd solicit some advice. I've discussed this with family and friends at length but the responses I've gotten mainly fall in the "do what's best for you" or "don't worry about it" or "only you can answer this question" categories.

I'm a guy in my late twenties with little tying me down and no current significant other. It is my hope to eventually have a family.

I have the opportunity to attend law school this fall in the Pacific Northwest. Moving to the PNW is something I have always wanted to do, and I know I love it out there. I can imagine seeing myself there for a very long time, if not the rest of my life. The culture is different from the east coast, I love the outdoors, and if I'm going to practice law, I'd much rather do so in a less stressful, and more friendly environment. My entire family is back in the mid-atlantic states. I'm close to my family, but I have lived away from them for several years now and I am okay with visiting occasionally.

The field of law, being what it is, requires long hours and, in the early stages, affords little vacation time (think few cross-country trips). It is also quite difficult to move, as one makes important business connections in the state where they set up shop. One must also re-take the bar if moving to a new state, in many instances. In short, if I decide to stay out west and start practicing, it will be hard to move. If I (hopefully) find a spouse there, it would become even more difficult to head east.

I have no reservations, with the exception of one: should I decide to stay out there and establish myself, and eventually have kids, I am concerned about them not growing up with their grandparents and my brother's family around.

I know families do this all the time. I also know this is likely several years off, but I don't think my family and friends understand the potential long-term ramifications of this choice. No - I am not going to be "stuck" out there; if I want to move back, it can happen. But say I find a spouse with her family nearby, we both still love the area, and have strong connections with friends and employment, to move east would become very, very difficult.

Just how good/important is it for school-age kids to have their extended family around? Of course there are the practical benefits: babysitting, short driving time for visits, etc., but I am more concerned with the less tangible benefits. I can live with being away from my extended family, but am I doing a disservice to my future children? My grandparents were never in the area, and our relationship with them was never close, but I don't want to see this happen with my own kids. For those that have made this choice - does flying across the country once or twice a year work for you? Do you have serious regrets about not being closer to family? I am confident we could make occasional trips happen, but I know this is draining on everyone, and ultimately might not be worth it.

Life decisions are tough.
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Old 06-16-2010, 08:07 PM
5,702 posts, read 16,180,463 times
Reputation: 8570
My advice is to move out to the PNW and enjoy your life as it is now. I understand you are considering the big picture and that is great, however you will drive yourself nuts! There are benefits of being around family while your children grow (when you have them) but its not a must do. When that time comes and you realize you truly miss your family, then you will make steps to move back. The thing is when you marry and start a family, they become the most important people in your life. They are your immediate family. It may be hard to imagine as you are not married yet. I live away from my relatives. Sometimes its kind of a downer but for the most part I am okay and so is my son. Anyway, relax and make decisions on what you can control now. If you don't move you will always wonder. I made that mistake. I wanted to move when I was younger but was afraid too. We did finally move but then it was complicated because I had to worry my child's education, neighborhood and so forth. We moved for jobs and not location. You are a free bird, take advantage of it. Funny how the PNW is where I wanted to go. So I am jealous.
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:02 AM
1,135 posts, read 1,840,728 times
Reputation: 1571
Take one step at a time and a move with a new school is definitely enough to worry about now. Even if you "figure it all out" now, your plans and life will change regardless.

I moved 2300 miles away from ALL family and then moved my Mom in with me. Now she is beginning to get great grandkids to go with the grandkids she already had. Sometimes I think I should move us back so she could see them more than 14 days a year when they come up. However, I remember decades that all the family lived within 30 minutes of each other, we only saw each other about 4 times a year and a day at a time. Every day life kept everyone too busy. So when my family comes up every year we spend 100% quality time together as if in vacation mode. Also, we talk on the phone a lot more. In a way, I think we are closer since when we are together there are no interruptions from everyday life. (and I could not leave a place I am in love with and totally happy to move back to a place I hated)
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:43 AM
138 posts, read 451,720 times
Reputation: 123
I would say go for it and make yourself happy. Your future spouse could have a huge close by family and with today's technology there is a lot more you can do to keep in touch. My husbands job moved us states away from my mom, who had a very close relationship with my 3 yr old. We set her up the computer to skype with us on weekends. She even watched him open Christmas gifts this year. I also grew up far away from any extended family. Holidays was me and my brothers and the occasional house guest, and I actually preferred it that way. When we were by mine and my husbands family we were constantly running around on the holidays, it became tiring. We miss our family but really enjoyed not having to go anywhere for every holiday/birthday. And depending how many kids you have think about the cost of you all flying back and forth and having small kids go through that length of travel. I would honestly rather help fly people out to see me. If you don't have a credit card that gives you miles for every dollar you spend get one now!! We used our miles to fly grandma out for a week a few months ago and it was well worth it.
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:47 AM
Location: Edmond, OK
4,036 posts, read 9,191,250 times
Reputation: 4175
Do it. Don't look back.
DH and I have lived our entire adult lives away from our family. Not as far as you are talking about, but it might as well be. Yes, we do wish our kids (both now in college) had been able to be closer to our parents but I really wouldn't change our lives. It has helped us be a stronger couple and family. It has helped us learn to depend on each other and to not look for family members help every time we were in a bind, as our siblings do. Sure it would have been nice to have free babysitting and all but that's okay. It has actually been nice being away from all the family drama that goes on. When we do get to see our families we enjoy being together, and usually don't have to get bogged down in all the petty stuff. We talk to our families all the time, and try to visit as often as possible.
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Old 06-17-2010, 10:04 PM
Location: FL-Gulf Coast
291 posts, read 670,883 times
Reputation: 418
Moving away from my family actually made me appreciate them more, and improved our relationships....imagine that.
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Old 06-18-2010, 07:21 PM
9,676 posts, read 15,852,351 times
Reputation: 16013
Most people do move away as they go down the journey called life. Seldom do we all stay together in one area. From a paren'ts perspective, I dread the day my children leave home, but I wouldn't want them to limit themselves and their opportunities to "keep me company".

Like another poster said, I actually felt I had more of a relationship with my parents once I moved away, I made efforts to come back for visits, LD phone calls (we didn't have the Internet then)---you go where its best for you, that will make your parents the happiest.
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:01 PM
73 posts, read 469,670 times
Reputation: 80
Do what's best for you now, which would be to make the move. While it's important to think about the future you are thinking very far ahead, to your future children with your future wife whom you haven't met yet. It's impossible to know how it will all turn out or to plan it out exactly as you wish, so make your big decisions one at a time.

I can only speak for myself, but I didn't have any extended family nearby when I was growing up and never felt like I was missing out on something great. I have a good relationship with my parents and siblings, and we no longer live near each other either. My grandparents died before I was born, and other relatives were many hours away and we saw them every few years. To me that was normal, it wasn't like I grew up thinking I should have more relatives around. I remembering thinking it was "weird" when I found out two of my classmates were cousins. It blew my mind! I thought cousins always lived far away! When I was growing up what mattered to me was my parents, siblings, and friends, and I felt there were plenty of caring people in my life.

On the flip side, I see my friends who have their whole extended family (plus in-laws) within 30 minutes of where they live, and they have tons of family drama and family *obligation* because everyone is nearby and is involved in everyone else's daily lives and personal business. I don't want that and am actually glad that I have some "space" from my family and feel more independent. Works for me, but I know it's not for everyone.
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:59 PM
5 posts, read 21,058 times
Reputation: 17
I am in the middle of trying to plan a move from rockford illinois to fort collins colorado due to my husband transferring with work. I have a 5 and 6 yr old boy and a 3 month old girl. I am extremely upset and nervous about moving away from family. I am close with my sister who also has 3 young kids and my sister in law with 2 young kids. I see family all the time and do not know what I will do when I cant drive 5 minutes to see my mom or meet my sister at the park. I would say move before you have kids. It is alot harder to have kids and then try and move somewhere else. It is hard to uproot after you have children and a life somewhere. I would not try to overthink future children but would start your life where YOU are most happy since in the end that is what matters the most. You sound like me though with all the future worrying! Reading though some of the other responses did make me feel better that Im not going to scar my children by moving away from family. Very positive points brought up!
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:38 PM
3,605 posts, read 5,054,789 times
Reputation: 3348
You applied to that school for a reason.

Did you apply to any schools in your area ?

If not, I think you have your answer already.

I think you want to go. I took a job far away from home, not because I wanted to, but because I felt I had to take that job opportunity (I wasn't getting any other leads). It's a great job, but I've not been able to get over the regret of being away from my family. I don't have a wife and kids, or even a girlfriend, so I'm in a similar boat to you in that regards. You've got to think over how much you value the company of your family. I valued the company of my family very much, and didn't want to go. But I had to make a good living, and this felt like my only chance. I still regret it and want to go back all the time. But you, it sounds like it's different for you. It sounds like you actually want to go, rather than feeling like you have to.

Go with what you really and truly feel. I didn't. And I'm regretting it. What you really feel may be very different from what I really feel.

Just so you know, I'm an ISFP (Meyers-Briggs), so I care about my feelings and my perceptions rather than my thinking and judgement.
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