It is unnecessarily cold at 6 a.m. in Minneapolis in the middle of February, just in case you were wondering. If you know me at all, you know that two of the things I hate most in this world are getting up early and cold weather.
Despite that, I’m pretty satisfied this morning. I have cappuccino, free wi-fi and an electrical outlet to plug in my laptop. The installer for the demo version of Fish Lake that I built before taking off is now uploading while I type this. (You can download it here and play for free.)
Most of all, I’m happy thinking about the fact that I don’t live in the Midwest any more. I hate cold and I love the ocean. Also, I’m not polite enough to live in the middle of the country. When someone says something incredibly stupid, like, I don’t believe that measles can kill you because it’s natural, I say,
Quit being such a dumb ass!
People in the Midwest just politely demur,
Well, that’s a different opinion!
Nonetheless, I’m quite grateful to the Midwest. I got two degrees here, one at Washington University in St. Louis and the other at the University of Minnesota. Still, I wanted to get the hell out, which I did, 18 years ago. Some of my friends and colleagues who just as strongly expressed a desire to leave are still here. Their reasons, on the face of it, all sound understandable.
My job is here.
My family lives here.
I don’t know anyone in (insert tropical place name here)
This reminds me of a course I taught years ago on Conflict Resolution. One of the exercises went like this:
You and your spouse want to buy a lamp. You want a pink lamp. Your spouse wants a blue lamp. List all of the ways you could resolve this conflict.
The book listed over 20 possible solutions, including:
Kill your spouse. Bury him or her in the backyard and buy whatever the hell kind of lamp you want.
Divorce your spouse. There are probably a lot of other things they do that bother you. Good riddance. Let them keep the furniture in the divorce and buy all new stuff exactly how you want it.
There were also several less anti-social solutions including:
- Don’t buy a lamp. Spend the money on a really nice dinner for two instead.
- Keep your old lamp. Save up your money and buy a pink and blue checked couch.
- Agree that you’ll get a blue lamp but that the next piece of furniture, you get to pick.
Then there were the more off the wall solutions, like
Go off the grid! Move somewhere without electricity and live in the dark.
The author’s point was that we often restrict ourselves to the most common solutions, and while that may sometimes be a good thing (I am not advocating killing your spouse, unless maybe they are really really irritating) it often prevents us from getting out of a rut.
Your job is in Minnesota? Find a different job. There are jobs all over the country. I ended up moving to San Diego and it was great.
Your whole family lives in North Dakota? You know what would show your family that you really love them? Moving them to somewhere that Mother Nature doesn’t try to kill you six months out of the year.
You don’t know anyone in the new place? Your kids have friends in New Madrid, Missouri? You’ll make friends in the new place.
I’m not trivializing the difficulty in moving to a new situation, whether it is for better job, better weather or a better relationship where your significant other does not refer to you as “Hey, Stupid!”
What I am saying is that if you believe you will be happier and have a better life in Place X then there is no excuse not to do it. Maybe you can’t do it today but start looking for jobs, saving your money and most of all, quit waiting for the perfect time or opportunity.
Your other alternative is to stay where you are forever. If that prospect makes you depressed, well, get moving.