Yesterday was the first Thanksgiving that my wife and I had spent apart from our families, even last year we were not able to make it home but we still had a few family members that were willing and able to make it to us. It was a decent day, a good meal, my wife is good company, we entertained ourselves just as we would have if we had headed home. But the absence of any of our family, the long distance separating us from them, cast a bit of a gloom over the holiday. Not to mention the start of the dreary days of a long winter here in the upper Midwest which always make me homesick anyway. All of this made me reflect on the reasons for our being apart.
There is more than one contributing factor, as there always is. First off, the reason that we were unable to make the trip out west was that we have a newborn son and such a long trip would not be an easy one for him. By no means is he any sort of burden, he is a blessing, we tried and failed for several years to have children before he came. We also had to consider the travel time and how much that would cost in vacation hours which we are trying to save for a trip out at Christmas time. These are all some of the contributing factors but there is a single driving factor that led to the others.
What it really comes down to is money. The cost of money is what I have really been thinking about the past couple of days. I, like many people, moved away from home and from my family for a better job, for more money. But ever since I got here there has been the nagging thought, ever-increasing with time, is it really worth it? I have concluded, (several times actually, as I go back and forth within my own tormented mind) that, for me at least, it is not. Family is everything to me, it always has been and why i moved here to begin with is a little bit of a mystery. It was probably the allure of a larger salary, new career, new challenges, these are all good changes, all good things. But again, is it really worth it?
I’ve spent much of my time scheming on how to get back but many of those ideas hit hard at the wallet. So it again comes down to the cost of money. Had I not ever taken the new job, gotten used to the larger salary, then it would not play such a large role in moving back. But I did and now that has to be considered. All in all, i believe that the costs in attaining more money are greater than its value and it is only a matter of time before i let these reflections motivate me to move on to what is much more important.
We seek more money so that we can buy things that we think we need, what we are told that we need. When really thinking about it we can figure out what is an actual need and what is an illusion that just drives us to seek out more money and that seems like something that we should all be doing on this Black Friday. So that is what I have spent my Thanksgiving and Black Friday doing; staying home, not shopping for anything and thinking about how I can get back to my family without sacrificing too much of our livelihood.