Todd G. Buchholz and Victoria Buchholz
I was troubled by the opinion piece by the Buckholzes. They oversimplify and over-glorify mobility. Don’t get me wrong. I am not condoning contentment, comfort, or fear that discourages the professional and personal progress possible with displacing yourself from familiar environments. If there is a great job opportunity (or heck, even LOVE) somewhere other than where you are currently at, and it (or he or she) seems like a wonderful fit for you, then I think it would behoove you to strongly consider relocating.
That said, as someone who two months ago moved to a new city for a job, I know that moving is not easy. For one thing, it’s EXPENSIVE: there’s the transportation cost of moving my shit. There’s first month’s rent, sometimes a last month’s rent, and also the security deposit, which ranges from one month to two month’s rent. You might need to restock your home: mattress, desk, kitchen appliances. It adds up!! And I don’t even have kids to worry about: schools, childcare, etc. Imagine a family has kids and they lived near the grandparents, who babysat the rugrats for free. Moving to another state would add the cost of childcare to my list of expenses. The point is: moving is EXPENSIVE. It’s not simply a factor of someone’s character or sense of entrepreneurship. And it’s not always an option.
And living alone is expensive. No wonder so many of my generation is still living at home. We can’t afford not to. And also…. is it THAT bad to be co-habitating with your elders?
And then, of course, there’s… love. I’m not talking about following Romeo across the country. I’m talking about the love we have for places. I LOVE New York City. It gives me tingles, and not just because of the dirt in the air. Not everyplace is NYC, but that’s besides the point. The point is that we develop attachments to locations, and that isn’t necessarily bad. Places, after all, can be sticky. It hopefully means that we are willing to invest our time, energy, and money to making these places more prosperous and joyous places to live and work. And we possess the local knowledge that comes with being so familiar with these places, the local knowledge that make innovative, democratic solutions possible. And so what if I don’t want to move to Nebraska? Get off my back, please.
That said, I also challenge any stats that say my generation is any less curious. My cohort has been given more opportunities to study abroad, and we have taken advantage of it in record numbers (see chart below). We’re still active with the Peace Corps as well as domestic volunteer programs like Volunteers of America and Teach for America that take us to the far reaches of the United States where spunky energetic types are needed.
Are we slowed down by the recession? Undoubtedly. But come on. Don’t throw down the towel for this team because of DRIVING STATS.