But what do I say when everyone is gone?

I generally stand strong by my convictions about staying in Columbus for what I predict to be the rest of my life.  It has a lot of the perks of a big city without many of the inconveniences.  The caliber of the food may not be that of other places, but there are plenty of affordable and delicious places to eat.  The cost of living is also relatively low and I like the idea that if Melissa really didn’t want to work that we would still be OK.  But mostly, I like to think that I stay for the people, not the place.

With the impending departure of one of my best friends and one of the few remaining connections around me to my childhood, my unwavering confidence has wobbled for the first time in a while.  Since I’ve started my working career, I’ve been dealt a few blows.  First my best friend from college, Jeff, then my best friend from work, Ajay.  So now I guess it’s fitting that my best friend from my childhood, Jay, finishes the trifecta.  This is not to suggest that I believe I am entitled to my friends living within the same city as me, but more than anything it causes me to look inward and wonder if the reasons that I claim to hold so dear to are merely an easy response that sounds good, and a crutch that I like to lean on.

My immediate family is all nearby… Melissa’s parents, my mom & Hannah, and Angela’s just a couple hours away, and I do maintain that I love the prospect of my children growing up around their grandparents.  I feel sad that I really don’t know/didn’t know my grandparents, and I believe that the family structure that God has designed makes sense, given that it doesn’t collapse under the weight of our sin.  I want my kids to really know who our parents are, not just hear about them.  I want them to find joy in each other, and not feel awkwardly formal like I feel like I often do with my own relatives.  So there’s that.

On the other hand, I sometimes wonder if I am just epically unmotivated and unambitious.  Too willing to settle and be comfortable, to do what’s convenient and easy.  I’ve never in my adult life thought about my job as something that I need to love or even feel proud of, but more of something that I will try to excel at and something that supports my family.  I had no idea the company I was hired onto would later be a part of HP, so it’s not like I had any intention of working for a large, well-known corporation.  My suspicion is that if you handed my career journey to my peers, most of them would have left the company a long time ago.  Admirable or damning?  Hard to say, I guess.  It’s pretty easy to justify my life on the surface, but just because I can persuade others doesn’t mean I’ve completely convinced myself.  One by one, my friends have moved away to what most consider “better” places to live, accumulating degrees, moving up in their company ladders, pursuing jobs at highly renowned employers.

Maybe I’m falling into the trap many of our parents’ have set for us, comparing myself to my peers instead of believing in myself and what I’m doing.  The title of this post is not completely accurate, because there will always be people in Columbus.  However, part of me does wonder if at some point after more of my close friends leave if Columbus will cease to feel like home anymore.  If so, are the rest of my reasons enough to stay?  Will Jules only get to see some of the people that have most deeply impacted my life and given me the most joy through the lens of a tablet or phone?  I hope that’s not true, but I guess maybe that’s just reality.