This week I’ve been traveling in New Mexico visiting my family. I grew up here, though I haven’t lived here for several years. In the time that I’ve been gone, there has been an oil boom and bust (the main industry), the addition of a casino and a uranium enrichment plant, and more construction and beautification than this little town has seen in at least my lifetime.
You’d think I would fit right back in. And you’d think they’d “get” me, since they have known me all my life.
But it’s not quite that easy.
Living a different lifestyle, even for a short time, changes a person. And having someone you love move far away means that you adjust your daily life to living without them in it. Viewed from the wrong angle, this seems like a bad thing. But through the right lens, it can add beautiful layers to a relationship, allowing you to see people in a light you may not have seen them in before, and vice versa.
My brothers both laugh at my “liberal hippie” thinking, and I cringe at their conservative “logic.” But we love each other just the same, and we definitely have a closer bond than when I lived here. In the time that I’ve been gone, they both have blossomed into responsible adults with great kids. It had to have helped not to have the bossy older sister around. By the same token, I’ve learned to be a little more free-wheeling than my oldest-child mentality would allow me to be had I stayed where I could keep bossing them around. You can bet that I would not be planning a trip around the world if I had never left my hometown.
I could list a dozen relationships with the same kind of growth and mutual respect that would not have developed had I stayed and not followed my own path. The lesson seems to be that if you follow your own path, you make it easier for other people to follow theirs.
It has been a great visit, and I’ve loved reliving some things I don’t do in Seattle as well as being a little surprised at other things (“New Age Drinks” actually refers to sugar-free beverages!). This trip is just a microscopic version of the things we’ll see and do on our big trip, and I can’t wait to see what riches it brings into our lives and those we encounter.
Vive la difference!
Betsy Talbot writes about carving the lifestyle you want out of the life you already have. When she’s not writing, she’s paring down, saving up, and getting ready for a year of travel with her husband Warren.