Well, life in China is finally catching up with me. Most days it’s easy to forget that there is an entire collection of lives being lived by people very dear to me in a country that I still call “home” though it isn’t in any functional sense.
That I’m not there living it with them was driven into me the other day when I was talking to my best friend Cory and he informed me I had been bumped from ‘bestman’ to “guy#somethingontheright” (I don’t know the exact location) in his upcoming wedding.
His reasoning behind the bump is sound, and I don’t fault him at all for making it. I’m simply not there to help out with the wedding planning, or any of the other things a bestman traditionally does. And as much as we’ve been friends longer than we haven’t, that stuff is important. Hell, I’ve not even met his wife-to-be as he met her after I left Welland for B.C. in August 2004 (the last time I saw any of my friends or family in my hometown – not including Sarah and Vanessa who were wonderful enough to come visit me here last spring and summer respectively).
I’m a bit bummed about getting bumped, not because I think it hurts my friendship with my friend, but because it shows me directly the affect my being away has caused on my relationships with people that are still very important to me. It’s been a while since I was homesick, but lately it’s been a growing feeling. I look at the last 10 years of my life and I’ve lived away from my friends and family for a total of about three and a half years (BC twice, backpacking and now China).
It’s a fight to stay in touch with everyone, and with most family members it’s not been too hard. My mom and dad usually e-mail me once every couple of weeks or so and let me know what’s going on and I’m in semi-regular contact with my aunt as well, which is nice. But my big failure is my sister.. I rarely hear from her at all – and if I do, it’s usually not more than a sentence-long, very functional e-mail. I’m not sure why it is, I’ve tried repeatedly to keep in touch with her, but she just has “no time” to maintain it.
It all just furthers my feelings that however much in my mind living abroad doesn’t affect my relationships with those back home, in everyone elses it does. For me they are a base I can always return to and that gives me the strength and energy to somewhat fearlessly live in or visit foreign places, but for them it’s a quite natural occurance of out of sight, and out of mind.
I guess this all sounds a bit whingy, and I don’t mean it to be such. If anything, all of this is making me re-evaluate life abroad. The problem is: there’s nothing for me back home. I mean, friends and family are great and important (some would say the most important)… but back home I’ll just be working some crap job, living for the moments I have off to go watch the game with my buddy or go out to a bar with friends – and of course being able to attend the family functions a handful of times a year. As much as I miss those things, really miss those things, they’re simply not enough to base a life around. I need challenges, goals and change.
So it is now my goal to see how I can meld these two things together. How I can live close to my friends and family, but still live the life I want to live. I often read Steve Pavlina’s rather insightful blog, and a recent post talked about how we often look at our careers (and in turn our lives) from an outside-in perspective. Trying to weigh the avaiable options and choosing the best (or good enough) one for us. He wrote this often leaves people frustrated or confused, as there are simply too many choices, and what do we “really” know about any of them. What he then outlined was that it’s better to take an inside-out approach, whereby you look at who you are, the things that are important to you and the qualities you value in yourself – then apply these to a job that would suit them. I think this system may also be the solution to all that I stated above. We’ll see. I’m still working on his advice for waking up right when my alarm goes off, and nixing my caffeine addiction. Woke up late and had two cups of coffee today.