I apologize in advance for this update, just know it's full of crazy bullshit (as the above paragraph might indicate) before you decide to read more. That's all the warning I can give you. I'd like to talk about limits. Limits we impose upon ourselves, namely, what keeps people in a location. First off I think it's important to understand that locations themselves have varying degrees of importance to different people. When I lived with my parents, or at college in upstate New York (Albany for anyone keeping score), I had no real strong feelings for or against those locations. They were fine, and in the end I liked living in Albany mainly because of the convenience of living in small city where things were closer together and open later. However in November of '06 I moved to New York City and for as much as it is possible to love something as abstract as a city, I did. I couldn't tell you exactly what about the place itself makes me love it. The tall buildings and closeness of everything, being able to walk around the corner to buy some milk at 2am, the way the city was almost a living, breathing thing with a personality all its own. I loved it so much I was willing to endure almost four hours of commute per day (a 15 - 20 minute walk or slightly shorter subway ride from my apartment to Grand Central Station, followed by a 75 minute train ride, followed by another 20 minute bus ride to the building I worked at, and then reversed for the trip home) for many months until I got a job literally six blocks from where I lived.
Just being there and walking around, even not doing anything in particular, made me happy. I would often walk places where it would have been infinitely easier (and far quicker) to take a cab or subway just because I liked feeling that I was a part of it. I guess this sounds strange to anyone without such an attachment, and I guess I don't expect any empathy for it, but it's what I felt nonetheless.
On top of that I had a wonderful roommate who I got along with amazingly well, and who I quickly fell for (and I hope to think likewise, though the road was very bumpy and difficult at times). I am not denying that a big part of what made me love the city was her. The time spent and places visited made a great place even greater. I had tried to get there via a new job earlier on (an interview she got for me before we were good friends), but it failed. In the end she turned out to be my way into New York City when she needed a roommate.
In May of '07 she informed me her company, holders of the job she had acquired nine months prior and loved more than anything else, was moving to the San Fransisco area, and she had quickly chosen to follow them. It's a choice I think she should have made, however not one that I would have made since, in general, I don't believe in relocating for any company. I have yet to fall in love with any job as much as she loves hers and I doubt I ever will, so I can't exactly speak from first hand experience in this case. It is at this point that my life takes a drastic change. She asked me to come with her because she didn't want to lose me, and said we should start dating. My feelings for her had been known to her for some time at this point, so I was excited by the chance for what I had wanted for a while, though it came at the cost of moving across the country. Leaving my new job of six months, a city I had finally gotten to less than a year before, and pretty much everything I had ever known.
And now we come back to the limits after a lengthy tangent. What keeps people in a place? Is it a job, is it family, friends, a lover? What a good reasons to stay somewhere and what are bad reasons? What if a person is unhappy with where they live? I live in the north bay near San Fransisco currently, and I don't care for it that much. Am I attached to New York the place, or did I just never give here a chance? My limit was always my family. New York City is only a 90 minute drive (roughly) from my parents and family in general. The furthest I have ever lived from them was in college when I lived in Albany (roughly a two hour drive). When I first got a job after college I looked in the vicinity of where they lived. New York City was a place I wanted to live (the first place I have ever wanted to live), a place I loved, but was it a compromise for me? The benefit of it not being too far away from my parents and sister just sold it to me even more, I believe (though that was only a minor consideration at the time). Many people never leave a limited bubble because they chose to limit themselves for their family. If they have a spouse and children it's more stable to stay in one spot for a longer period of time. Their limit is settling down.
What other limits are there? In Elizabeth's case her limit is her job, or to be less specific it's her company... or even less specific it's her industry. She has completely and totally fallen in love with her work at 2k Games that she moved across the country for it. Left her family and friends, and went to a new place she had never been to before. The thought of that scares me. Myself, on the other hand, went with her to a similar fate (though without a job I loved waiting for me on the other side), but primarily because she was going. Sadly I know she would have left New York without me (and nearly did) had I not chose to go with her. Is my limit now her?
What limits other people? A career choice? Some people want to work in video games or on airplanes or a plethora of other things. However, video games (I will stick with it because it's what I know a lot about) is a tough industry to get into, and your living choices are pretty limited. Your best best is to move to San Fransisco since a lot of the video game industry is out here, thus your limit is your industry and in the end the Bay Area. Are limits bad? I don't know, I guess I can't answer that. What happens to a person with no limit? They are free to move where they want and do what they want. You could move to Europe or Australia or Memphis if you wanted, but then even so you would want to live in an area you liked, right? Why would you stay in a place you didn't like? Isn't that in and of itself also a limit... you are limited to what you like, and what you want from life.
And why does moving cause such stress? This is not the first partnership to go sour when two people move because one has the opportunity and the other tags along, and it's certainly not the last. The stress, I suppose, of believing you are here for the other person and missing the things you were not prepared to leave but the other person was. I maintain it takes a certain kind of person to move their career, and not everyone can do it. Maybe it's a martyr complex where one person thinks they have sacrificed their own lives for this other person. In the end it was their own choice, however, and I have no real illusions of that. I was asked to move, not forced.
Life is a complicated thing. Being faced with a huge choice twice in under a year, I can certainly attest to this. Do you fight on and continue to try and cope with the loss of your limit (your constant?), hoping that the hurt stops and maybe things will work out for the best? Do you reset your life and go back to your limit, having learned a valuable lesson about life and, more importantly, yourself?
A good friend told me that I never fight for anything; that I shut people out because I don't believe they could ever like me. That I don't get close to people because I am so scared of rejection and an irrational fear that they will one day never want to talk to me again because I am simply me. That's true, and I need to work on that. The hard part is trying to figure out what's wrong and fix it. What's the easy choice and what's the difficult choice are not relevant, because there is no right or wrong, and there is no difficult or easy. There's simply difficult try and difficult not try. It's not a position I care to be in very much, and I suspect many other people feel the same way. In the end there's no real answer, and no decision that you make will make you happy. And that, I suppose, is what life is about. Sad.