Is it really fair to feel this way? After going through all of the effort and time and energy and emotional preparedness, is it ok to feel disappointed? Is it ok to look back and realize that there was so much put into following through with a decision that appears to have been a huge mistake? If so, what do you do? What is the next step? The huge effort, time and energy that it took to make this happen pales in comparison to the amount that would be needed to reverse it. We are not only dealing with minor details here, we are dealing with completely life-changing events for not just us but everyone around us as well. What am I talking about? If you know us well enough you may have figured out that I am referring to our decision to move from Florida back to Ohio.
While living in Florida there were a myriad of things that we could point to that led us to the decision to move back to Ohio. We were living in a house that we did not own and did not have the finances to keep up. We asked a lot from my mother and step-father who owned the house to step in and help us financially when this became an issue with the upkeep of the home. With every passing day, we found this more and more unfair as we were also depriving them of time with their grandchildren by continuing to live in Florida. This was the main reason for the move back, so we told ourselves.
We also argued that we missed time with family. My family had weekly dinners that I would always seem to call during and realize that I was not really an active member of the family. It has become a joke now upon returning that when at these family dinners and the phone rings everyone shouts “There’s Michael!” I really enjoy helping my parents and while living in Florida that help normally came in the form of long, interesting phone conversations trying to walk them through some sort of technical issue. My wife also missed her family dearly. There would be the occasional visit from her parents to Florida but other than that we only saw family through video chat. We have nieces, nephews, grandparents, aunts, and uncles that we would like to visit with as well. Here is the interesting thing about this argument. Even though we are able to attend weekly dinners and very much enjoy them, we find that we may have still enjoyed more “quality” time with family by being able to focus all of our attention to visiting when we would travel to Ohio about 4 times a year. There was no distraction. There was no hurrying back out of the door to go get something done for work or prepare for the next day. And as for time with extended family, I have only seen select aunts and uncles a few times since moving back in January. I am pretty sure we spent more time visiting with them when we lived in Florida. Time with family was more deliberate then and we really came to appreciate that time and look forward to it. Now it has become a part of the daily grind and just another appointment to keep.
Interestingly enough this is one of the other arguments we used when leaving Florida when speaking about our time at Walt Disney World. We argued that it had just become a part of our everyday life and was no longer special or “magical.” Looking back we could not have been more wrong in this assumption. Now that we have been away from Florida for over six months I can say that our time at Disney parks and resorts was a very important, and crucial part of our lives. We tried to lash out against Disney. We tried our best to make ourselves believe that we had just fallen out of love with it and maybe by moving away we could regain that love. Well, we were right about that! A little more than we expected.
Another reason for our decision to move back was my inability to find a job where I fit in and that would work with my wife’s schedule and the boys both being in virtual school. Ironically the jobs that I ended up getting up here in Ohio would have worked perfectly down there. What I didn’t take into account was that the boys were getting older. Jordan is almost 15 years old and is very capable of babysitting an almost 6-year-old child for short amounts of time. These two partnered together would have made it very easy for me to do the jobs that I now do while Christina continued her career. We could have made it worked but again had convinced ourselves that by moving back to Ohio we would have the opportunity to have more help from family if needed and we could both have amazing jobs that would provide the type of income that we needed to live comfortably. That is not the case as Christina still hasn’t been able to find a job, which ironically is one of the huge reasons for moving to Florida in the first place. We have basically reversed the roles as I go to work and Christina stays home and worries about getting a job. The only difference is about $20,000 or more a year. That’s all. (Yeah we were better off financially living the life we loved, go figure.)
Now it is time for the biggest reason that we decided to move back in my opinion. We can look at all of these other issues but this, to me, is the real reason. We felt guilted into moving back. Not as you would think by my mother and step-father who had sacrificed so much and given us more than they should have to allow us to follow our dreams. Not by our close friends that understand that we took a leap and seemed to be somehow keeping our head above water while we were living the life that we wanted. We were guilted by our own conscience to move back to Ohio. We felt as if we were robbing our children the chance to have a relationship with their grandparents and extended family. We felt that we should be there for birthday parties for our nieces and nephews and other special events. We constantly felt guilty because we were able to have incredible experiences almost on a daily basis living in Florida. Our days would consist of work and school during the day and Disney parks and concerts and ice cream at resorts and the list goes on. We were living the life that we wanted and we didn’t feel like we deserved it. What was the only thing to do? Punish ourselves and move back to Ohio.
I’m not trying to sound harsh. It isn’t an all or nothing proposition here. There are good and bad things that come with living in either location. For example, we just went through a hurricane that shook us to our very core last year. This is going to be the case anywhere that you live. The issue is whether or not you are living your life for you and your immediate family or if you are living your life to be the people that you think others want you to be. We are struggling here and tears are rolling down my face as I write this. We are struggling to make life work in the world that we feel everyone wants us to live in. The world where we can’t make ends meet, a world where we struggle to be able to do anything fun. That’s perfect for everyone looking at our lives because that’s the way it should be right? We shouldn’t be able to go to Disney all the time if we have debt or bills that may go a month late. We shouldn’t be able to go to the beach AGAIN because we don’t have two jobs and stress ourselves out. Our kids shouldn’t be in virtual school so that they can actually enjoy their lives as they grow up. That’s not going to teach them anything but being lazy and expect life to be unicorns and rainbows.
I declare bull-shit (excuse the language). I am so tired of people sitting on their high horse telling me how I should live my life. Telling me that certain decisions that I have made were wrong. They may have been wrong for YOU but they were not wrong for me. The only decisions that have drastically altered my life in a bad way have been decisions that I made based on the opinions and advice of others. I am not a stupid person and more importantly, I know what makes me tick. I know what makes me happy and I know the dynamic of my family and what works best for us. Moving forward that is what will fuel these decisions and if everyone wants to sit and judge and get upset then so be it. They are doing it, even now, and our lives are miserable. Might as well have a little fun and enjoy life.
I want to share one last story before I wrap this up. The other day I was at a store doing my job and I overhear a woman complaining about kids getting handed everything these days and how she saw a young man driving a BMW. She got all upset and said that he did not deserve that car. Why? Did he not deserve the car because YOU didn’t have a nice car? Did he not deserve the car because he was young? Maybe he paid for the car himself with revenue he received from his YouTube Channel that he has been working 10 hours a day on since he was fifteen. We don’t think of that. We don’t look at this boy driving a nice car and think good for him. I’m happy for this young man that he is driving a nice car. Nope! We pity ourselves and act like the victim and try to put him down because he has something we don’t. I’m sick of it personally!
Here is a call out to anyone who may have an issue with any decision that my family and I make moving forward. I don’t care. I really don’t. I’m not going to allow your unfounded, selfish attitude cause me to make one more bad decision. I can make those just fine on my own but at least if I make them myself I can justify them. I cannot justify what I have done to my family by moving back to Ohio. We should have come up with alternative solutions that may have been a bit more difficult for us but that would have allowed us to continue living the life that we loved. Although moving all of our things 1000 miles seems more difficult, it really wasn’t because it was what everyone else wanted us to do. We originally thought it was to have us closer but in the end, I’m pretty sure to the ones who really shouldn’t matter so much it was about making sure that they never had to feel bad about themselves while watching us have fun.