It's easy to lose oneself in work. It's not a job; it's an identity. There's a certain level of familiarity, comfort, ease -- whichever word applies -- that lures one into remaining in a place of employment despite crazy hours or personality conflicts, challenges to one's authority or disrespect from the public. Then the idea occurs that one can actually leave (shock, choke, gasp) said place of employment.
One lives in a state, city, neighborhood, house, and they can also become part of the identity. The thought of living elsewhere can actually send some folks into panic.
Thanks to a father whose feet were just too itchy to stay in one place long, I lived in a variety of cities and states when I was a kid. Road trips could be anything from leisurely Sunday drives in the countryside to headlong treks across the country. With so much experience at adapting to new houses, schools, churches, and friendships, I am at ease with the notion of change.
Even now, having lived in one house for almost twelve years, I still own cardboard boxes that have never been unpacked. They're ready for the next move.
However, in my recent foray into the realm of the possible, while contemplating not only a different job but a different residence, perhaps far out of state, I have encountered resistance from the roots that inevitably grow after staying in one place too long.
If I leave, I change the face of the family. I upset the holiday schedule and the guest arrangements (at the moment, I'm the only close relative with ample room for stay-over guests). I limit access to my family and friends. I quite possibly strand myself in strange territory, far from help or support. I strand my loved ones, too, who might need me.
So I have a hard decision to make: Do I take the risk and branch out in search of the new and the challenging? Or do I remain within the circle, knowing the roots will only dig deeper? Is that such a bad thing?
If I were writing this scenario, I know absolutely which decision to make, because it might result in a more intriguing story. Real life, though -- tough choice.