What were the most difficult decisions in your life, and how did you go about making them? For most individuals the choice of a career and who to marry are vitally important. Where to live, work and raise a family are closely connected to those decisions. Perhaps you went away to college or took a job in a new location that necessitated you to move away from your roots or perhaps you joined the military and left this country to serve in a foreign land.
I remember coming back to Utah at age 20 as a transfer student from a Junior College in California. Although I had extended family in Utah, it was my first time to live on my own without my mother around. It was a difficult time and I was homesick a lot, but yet excited to be going forward with my life. I looked forward to meeting someone special, marrying and starting my own family. The education I got from my BYU roommates turned out to be the most valuable learning of my whole life. How to clean, cook, and get along with others my own age were skills I mastered from dorm life. (My engagement photo 1964.)
In the “good old days” families were raised, married, worked and died in the same community without the necessity of traveling hundreds of miles away for careers, college or other reasons. My husband was raised in the same community in rural Texas with his parents, and both sets of grandparents lived not far away. He grew up with a strong sense of family unity and traditions. Later he left his hometown after college graduation for a career in the Forest Service in faraway states.
Nowadays it’s rare for an extended family to live in the same community all their lives. I believe we are missing the strong bonds, and interactions that could support us as we become a modern family with children and parents living in a new community far away from our roots. How do you feel about that? There are benefits as our grown children become independent and learn to make their own way, but relationships with grandchildren and parents are weakened by not living in closer proximity. It’s important to try to preserve family traditions and gather together at holidays and reunions whenever possible to strengthen relationships. Families can be a security blanket, a wealth of advice and needed wisdom in this frantic world.