A friend of mine is taking a job in western Europe and moving his young family there. He is in his mid forties, and has an established career, a comfortable life, and lots of friends here in Toronto. The job he is taking is not particularly good for his career (nor is it bad), and he is not going to be making more money. Main benefit is the location where he will live and work. Point is that there is no clear-cut advantage to go there nor is it a no-brainer decision. It will require a lot of work and a lot of changes, some of which will be uncomfortable. So naturally many people are questioning and even judging his decision as crazy. “Why would you usurp your comfortable life here for middle age adventures?”, they say.
I think he is doing it for a sense of adventure, and I can totally respect that. Middle age family life is all about finding comfort and normalizing the grind of modern life with children in a big city. There is just so much work that we often give up zest for life just so we can make it easier for ourselves. But the flip side of that is that we age ourselves sooner and we start our life’s decline towards old age. Comfort, after all is the enemy of ambition and growth. Opportunities to restart a new growth period at this age can be rare and seizing them when they come around is a matter of courage and drive for life. Sometimes these kinds of moves do not work out, but in all cases one’s life story is deeply enriched by the experience. In this light, I completely respect his decision and wish him only the best.
Not to say I will not miss him. It is rare to make a really good friend later in life. Most of our friendships come from youth, and for better or worse, are built on familiarity. When you become friends later in life it must be built on common interests and lifestyles. After all, with limited amount of free time we all have, the only option to have a friend is to spend time on common interests or passions. These friendships tend to be more mature and built around mutual growth. So yes, I will miss him, and my life will be poorer for losing a friend. But, at the same time I am excited for him and inspired for an adventure of my own. And there are always reunions to look forward to. So bon voyage and Godspeed until we meet again.