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Finances & Money

Moving away from your parents

Mike Beach I’m not a very sentimental guy. When I got a job in the D.C. area, I didn’t feel too bad leaving my family in central PA. I knew they would be fine without me. But now that we’ve gotten older, things have changed.

My family is about 3 hours away, and Stacie’s is about 4 hours away. We can visit both families in a weekend, but it’s getting to be so draining. We have our own friends, events, and home in this area now, so it’s no longer as easy as just hopping in the car once or twice a month to visit the families. And I can’t even imagine what it will be like when we have kids.

So what am I getting at? Well, even though I’m not sentimental, I still miss my family. And not only do I miss those who I grew up with, I’m also missing the growth of my 2 young nieces. One was born in my last year of college and the other just before our wedding. I really only see them 4-5 times a year now. And now we have a brand new nephew to visit in Stacie’s hometown.

And the biggest “miss” came this past weekend. I mentioned to you all that I found out my grandma subscribes to Clever Dude. What I didn’t mention was that I haven’t seen this grandma for about 20 years. Some event that neither my parents, nor my grandma, seem to remember caused a rift in the family 2 decades ago. I was so young, all I could remember is wondering why I don’t see grandma anymore. She had moved to another state (maybe Texas I think?) and no one would, or could, tell me why.

So this past Sunday, as we were cleaning up after my wife’s 30th birthday bash, I got a call from my family to say that my grandma (and aunt) had stopped by unexpectedly since they were in town for an event. I was almost speechless, because at the same time I was going through the anguish of not being at home to meet my grandma. Seriously, it’s been 20 years. So now, I’m 3 hours away, and my grandma is heading back to Illinois the next day.

Had I lived near my family, I would have gotten to meet my grandma.

I’m not beating myself up for choosing to move to D.C. because I really didn’t have another job choice at the time. I’m also not blaming my grandma for not giving us advanced notice, because I can understand her fear of showing up after so long. But I’m just sad I wasn’t there for such a big event.

What does this have to do with you?

When you’re considering a new job, and it moves you away from your core family, think about 5-10 years down the road first. Ask yourself if you’re comfortable losing that convenience of being near your parents, siblings or grandparents. Consider whether your career and life path will allow you to move closer to your family after you’ve gained some expertise in your field.

Stacie and I have the goal of hiring movers and moving back to central PA within the next 5 years.

It’s not a solid goal because we have been spoiled by city life, and we both worry about job security in the central PA economy. I’m an IT worker, and my specialty is with very large organizations. There are not many 100,000+ organizations in central PA. Stacie, however, is a registered dietitian. She can start her own practice, work in a clinical setting, or go back to doing research or public service. In the next few years, we need to make a big decision about our future and our family.

As my family ages, I worry about many things. Will I miss out on my nieces’ and nephew’s life? How can I make an impact on my godchildren’s lives from so far away? Where will I be when a death is imminent and can I get home in time? I don’t think I’m turning sentimental; I just think I’m realized how much I love and miss my family.

So before moving across the country to pursue that dream job, consider whether you’ll be missing out on so much that you hold dear. Don’t let it stop your dreams, but don’t let your dreams get in the way of your loved ones.

Photo Credit: Stacie (yes, that’s me in Ocean City, MD)

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Clever Dude


  • I know my wife and I have been discussing this one over and over again, ultimately all of her relatives live in WI, and mine are in NY PA CO KY AZ MN ND MO IN and WI. We’re choosing to live near an airport 😀

  • This only works if you’re close to your family… I wish I was, and I wish Husband was close(r) to them too, but from what they’ve done to us and the way they’ve been acting for the past couple of years, we’re sick of it.

    We’ll see them periodically, but the plan is to move as far away as possible…

  • @FB: I was never especially close with my family. I just wasn’t really sentimental or touchy/feely, and neither is the family. We’re all there for each other, but we’re also rather independent thinkers too.

  • This is really a sore spot for my wife and I right now. When my wife graduates at the end of this year, we have the option of moving anywhere we want. The only limiting factor is that we can’t stay where we are because it too dang expensive. So now we’re up to Oregon to be near her sister, or staying in CA to be by my family. If we were following a job it would be easier to make the decision, but we’re lost in the possibilities. Unfortunately at least one of us will end up getting the short end of the stick and moving to somewhere further away from our family.

  • We are even further than that…

    I’m happy you have sets of parents that you’re close to at least, and want to see on a regular basis.

    It’s complete animosity on my side ever since my parents/sibling asked me to fund their retirement when I had JUST finished University…

  • I too don’t live close to my family, its a couple of hours drive (I don’t have a car). I miss seeing them but I can’t afford to live where they do.

    Its especially odd for me because where I actually do live, most people live near their families, whereas where my parents live, most people don’t (if that makes sense).

  • I’m not sure exactly where you’d want to be located in Cenral PA, but state government always needs IT people…so there’s the state, there’s PHEAA, there’s the Turnpike. Giant’s headquartered in Carlisle, Weis in Sunbury, and honestly, if none of those work for you, Philly’s a 90 minute train ride away…

  • […] Moving away from your parents – Deciding to move away from your core and extended family to a new place is a hard decision (for some) […]

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