Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Question

I think Shakespeare had it all wrong. According a query I recently saw on Facebook (the touchstone of our times) the major life question today is not "To Be or Not to Be", but "To Go or Not to Go".

My friend's son Nicolas is a freshman in college. He is attending college on a wrestling scholarship. But he hates it there and wants to come home. Hmmmm....he could always go to school elsewhere, but the other scholarship opportunities that once begged for him are long gone.

When I lost my job (and house), there was no question that I would move back "home", to the area where I was born and where most of my family still lives, which is 3,000 miles from my beloved California. I didn't want to "go"...but finances dictated otherwise. Fortunately for me, some six months later I was able to return to CA and find a job. But sometimes it doesn't work out the way you hope.

I watched a documentary on life in China the other night. The filmmakers followed a Chinese couple who had left their two children in the country with grandma while the couple moved to the city in order to find work, so that their children could have a better life. The thing is, it was a two day journey from the city back to the farm, and the couple could only afford to make this trip once a year. Perhaps unfathomable in the US, but this is not uncommon in China. Which is not to say it is not difficult. How hard it must have been to make this decision, for this couple to leave their young children and not see them for a year at a time?

My ex-boyfriend is from Israel. When he was 40, after spending all of his life living on a kibbutz, he moved to the US after his marriage fell apart. He left his young children in Israel, and left his homeland, to find better job opportunities than he was facing in Israel, and he made this move in order to support those very children he left behind. I don't think that his children, who are now adults, ever fully understood this very difficult decision he made. He was able to see them more often than once a year, but still ended up spending huge blocks of time away from them.

I think of all the people who have tried to escape brutal dictatorships. Some made the decision "to go" early, and got out. Others waited too long, and didn't have a chance. By the time they changed their minds, it was too late to leave.

To Go or Not to Go? To college? Across the country? To the City? Halfway across the world?

There are all major life decisions certainly. But then there is the other question, the other decision, the more difficult one, the one much closer to home, the one that involves a relationship with a spouse or "significant other". Many of us have been there. At what point do you stop trying to fix the relationship, and move on? And how much more difficult is this decision if children are involved?

To Go or Not to Go, that is the question.

No comments:

Post a Comment