Monday, January 5, 2009

Hi Louis

I've been writing a little bit less frequently of late for a couple of primary reasons. First, the holiday season and all of its related cheer and television watching is quite the deterrent from being productive. Second, as I've noted multiple times before, my sister had her first baby late in December. Steve and I were able to manage a reasonably-priced flight to Minnesota, and we spent the last several days there enjoying some family time and interacting with our new nephew. His father and mother decided to name him after two of his male great grandparents.

I've been working on writing this blog for just over six months now, and this post, when completed, will be my 199th post. That's not too shabby from a quantity perspective, and the only thing more important than quantity is quantity. Having time with Louis and my family over the past four days, I am again reminded why I spend my free time writing this blog.

We no longer live in a world where it easy for family members to always live close to each other. Careers, job opportunities, or lack of available jobs force people to move to different parts of the world. Forced movement is one reason for this scatter, but also in the professional world, people are viewed negatively if they choose location and family over upward mobility and the broad concept of "worldliness." For some reason that I have never been able to grasp, any smart person who does not choose to take the job in Duluth despite the fact that it is the best path to executive management is perceived as making the wrong life choice. For many people, the job in Duluth is the right decision, but are those people inherently better than those who choose other priorities over the work and career? I don't think so, but I know more than a few people who would disagree with me. I regularly have discussion and disagreement with my very bright co-workers about this very subject. They are all worldly, international types and have had great success and joy by traveling, working in exotic places, and generally experiencing many of the exciting things that the world has to offer. Because they have found success and happiness with their life choices, they have trouble believing that there are other, better paths for people who aren't them. They hear the opposing argument, and because they have experienced "so much", they think that the opposing viewpoint isn't based on intelligence or thoughtfulness, but rather ignorance and small-mindedness. There's almost no way to argue against the "you just can't understand" argument. I think travel, working in different places, and other personal challenges are all fantastic opportunities that should not be passed without serious thought and consideration, and in many instances, these challenges will develop you as a well-rounded person. However, there is no universal right choice for everyone. I digress a little bit here because I have had many heated conversations about this very topic, but it is related to my main point.

The implications of separation are even more poignant after having a tiny amount of time to hold and enjoy my nephew. I am sure that we will see him and his parents as often as possible as he grows, but it simply cannot be the same as living in the same state as him (unless we lived in Cincinnati which is split between Ohio and Kentucky). It is not as easy for us, as family, to assist his parents with caring for him or taking him off of their hands so they can spend an evening out on the town. It is critically important to me that, at the very least, Michigan is a state in which people have the option to live prosperously and happily. Without this, it will become increasingly impossible for us to live where we grew up - near family and friends, surrounded by the support structure we have spent our lives developing. It would be pretty ridiculous and hilarious to assume that by writing a blog I can have this type of impact in any way, but these are some of the reasons why the state and its future are so important to me. When I argue for the state, people frequently ask me why I don't just cut ties and move somewhere where weather is more temperate and jobs are more plentiful (when not in a global recession), and the primary reason is because no where else can I get even close to recapturing the aggregate total of all things that are important to me right here.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Louis is ready to be a Cub Baseball player, nice. Congrats again.