The Impact of Reducing your Options

Well it seems like my blogging output has fallen off, as so many blogs tend to do. It would almost seem predictable; nevertheless I will soldier on.

So the last time I wrote a post of any substance was to announce that we had decided to move back to Vancouver. In the aftermath of that decision I’ve found it a very interesting period of self-discovery. I had always assumed that making this decision about whether to stay or move back would be very similar to the decision to come here in the first place. I’ve since found that it’s not – it’s very different.

When we chose to come here, we were opening new possibilities without fully closing the door on our “old life”. England was a place of unknown opportunities; it felt exciting. In so many ways this experience has fulfilled those anticipations – you try and take out of a place the things you like, especially those things that are different from what you’ve known.

The decision of whether to move back or to stay here is one that closes opportunities – it is the opposite of last year. I wasn’t prepared for that, and I can see why some people find it so hard to make decisions like this. You feel genuinely torn, and you don’t want to close the door on either option. But we also knew that we wanted to make a decision so that we could move on and put roots down. As long as you are straddling two options and never fully committing, your options are open but your commitment is shallow.

I also found it interesting that as soon as you shut the door on a place it immediately holds greater value to you (you start to focus on what you’re losing). It is hard to talk to friends here and tell them that we’re going to be leaving. In addition to feeling a bit guilty, you’re also not sure how to invest in relationships – do you try to continue to build bonds knowing that they’re not going to last? But then we still have four months here and it doesn’t seem right to just while away time until then.

I want to try and continue building relationships, despite the fact that we’ll be leaving in a few months – it seems the right thing for me to do. The caveat is that you don’t want to create an unnecessary void when you do leave. It also makes me realize again how important it is with friendships to try and build deeper bonds – I hope to do that more when we move back to Vancouver again.

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3 Responses to The Impact of Reducing your Options

  1. Duncan says:

    Very true, Mike. Not easy, I’m sure. Even when you do commit, the longing stays. It’s been almost 11 years for me here now and I still feel in some ways that I’m away from home. Part of that is missing family, but there are also the intangible cultural and linguistic differences that leave you feeling not-quite-understood. The good thing about being here is that many people are in the same boat, so it’s easier to find soul mates.

    For what it’s worth, we’re glad you’re heading back even though we almost never saw you when you were here. It’s just nice to know you’re around! Hopefully we can get together when you return just to touch base again. I’m eager to hear about your experiences over in Bristol. It’s a beautiful area that I don’t know very well.

    Take care, and may God give you the courage to love fully whomever He puts in your path in the coming 4 months!


    • Mike says:

      Duncan – I know what you mean about not-quite-understood. It’s very interesting how you can have countries that speak the same language and yet there is significant nuance that is critical in communication. I feel privileged to be exposed to both cultures; it certainly helps when you try to understand others. And yes, it is to my personal shame that we didn’t connect more when we were over there, and I fully intend to put that right, especially as I spy on the pictures of the fantastic house you’re building.

  2. Nicole says:

    I know exactly what you mean. When Ross and I left Vancouver, I knew it was the right thing to do, but felt sad about the things were leaving and went through a phase of “is this the right decision?” because I did not want to leave behind my friends and the things I do love about Vancouver.

    Since we’ve been living in Austin, I know we made the right choice. We both still miss Vancouver, but I find Ross tends to idealize it more (which is funny because he is the person who wanted to move more than I did). I remind him of some of the imperfections when he begins to idealize it, because it can be hard to remember a place as it is, not only the good things.

    Ross and I have a long term goal of moving to Bend, Oregon and both of us being self-employed. We feel the same confusion over whether or not to make friends. But, since it is a year or so away, we feel we have to continue/grow friendships. That’s a confusing one though – so I know where you are at.

    I hope you enjoy your last few months in England and can maybe “pretend” like you’ll be there for much longer – it might make the leaving easier.

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