I admit that I spend way too much time watching HGTV’s “House Hunters International.” I think there’s something so intriguing about the idea of moving to a whole new country and getting to change my life in such a dramatic and profound way. Leaving the Midwest behind to live near a Caribbean beach, in a charming apartment in Paris, or in a house among the vineyards of Tuscany sounds like a wonderful way to jolt me out of my middle-age routine. I mean, who wouldn’t want to wake up each morning to a view of the Mediterranean Sea or the Swiss Alps?
But no matter how attractive it sounds, I’ll never actually make the move. As much as I would like to live somewhere new and exotic, I know I am far too attached to the life I have created for myself in St. Louis to be able to pick up and leave it all behind. My husband’s job is here, my kids have both settled in this area and most of my relatives (on both sides of our family) live within a five-hour’s drive. Almost all of my friends are here, or at least close enough to visit easily without having to hop on a plane. The simple truth is that I have put down roots here that are so deep that they can’t be pulled up without a profound sense of loss and more than a little pain.
And I’m not complaining, because I know that this is a situation that I’ve created by the choices I’ve made in my life up to this point. When I was growing up, my family moved every few years, which meant that I was lucky enough to experience living in several different types of communities, from large cities to small towns. But the downside was that I also didn’t have one place that ever truly felt like home. I don’t think it was an accident that right after graduating from college, I moved back to St. Louis, the community in which I was born. I think I wanted to have that sense of living in my “home town,” and the chance to feel that I really belonged somewhere. My husband and I have lived here ever since, and honestly, we don’t have any regrets about it.
I think that we each have to choose what kind of life suits us best, and there is no right or wrong in either the choice to move to different places and get the chance to experience different cultures first-hand, or the choice to stay put in the community that feels the most like home. For me, I like knowing that most of the people I love are close by, and living in a city that I know so well. So I think I will just have to keep “living vicariously” through the people who do have the ability to pull up stakes and move to another continent, and a small part of me will always understand why they want to do that.