Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It's just a house.

Yesterday I watched The Family Man while I was working out. It's a pretty good movie; I've always enjoyed it. There's one part, though, that kind of messes it up for me each time I watch it.

The main character, Jack, is frustrated with the coupon-clipping life he and his wife and two kids have in New Jersey. He has an opportunity to get a new job (in a field he loves) in New York that will pay twice his current salary. His wife is upset about this idea, primarily because she says they've become a family in the house they are already in, and she doesn't want to uproot the children.

The thing is, the children are ages 5 and 1, or something like that. I barely even have memories from before I was 5. It seems like the movie was trying to characterize this situation as family vs. money, but all I really saw it as was a house vs. drastically improved financial stability.

It's a nice idea to grow up in the same house your entire life, and if it works out that way I am sure it has it's perks. I was very sad when I was 10 and we moved out of our home and across the country, and I still think of that home fondly. We made a new home (a rental) and 8 years later we had to move out of that one too. That was also sad.

But it wasn't life-ending. If anything it helped me realize that the concept of "family," at least in my case, is about the relationships I have with my siblings and parents, and not so much about the houses and apartments where we have those relationships. Not even the cities or states, necessarily.

Meanwhile, I think it's important to have a certain amount of flexibility in life. There will always be curve balls--situations you didn't or couldn't have planned for. Being willing to adapt makes things a little easier, maybe a lot easier, in the long run. I expect if my partner came home and told me he could make a career move into a profession he preferred, for twice as much money, I would be overjoyed. You can make new memories in new homes anyway.

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