Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Geographic Cure

At AA meetings, you will frequently hear about this concept of moving somewhere else to make a fresh start, get away from the old grind, see things from a new perspective. We call it the Geographic Cure. We call it that because it sounds like just the ticket for a lot of what might ail you about where you live.  If you are still out there drinking, you might be thinking of escaping from  a variety of stinky relationships, obligations, and messes created while under the influence or trying to get under it somehow.  We alcoholics have a way of finding every conceivable bridge that might offer a way out or up and burning it the hell down.  We go through lots of friends, lovers, jobs, rental agreements, cars, library cards, volunteer commitments, gym get the idea.  So, moving sounds incredibly seductive and we do it a lot, only to find, to our horror, that wherever we go, there we are (to paraphrase another AA ditty).  
If we aren't drunks or addicts, we still may have reason to want to make that leap into a new life.  This seems to be the case with we boomers, as we contemplate the possibility of retirement, or just the possibility that we could die before we get the chance to live in the mountains or go to Bangladesh for a stint in the Peace Corps.  We have a sort of renaissance of the same cravings for adventure, novelty and challenge that we had when we were starting out, except that we have some money in the bank, a longer and more impressive resume, and maybe a slightly more mature perspective.   

For the past few years I have toyed with the idea of moving to Colorado or New Mexico. I love it out there, have friends and family strategically placed and once again am wondering how in the hell I will survive another winter in the Land of Grey that is Holland at that time of year.
This year, I looked into it a little deeper, talking to my financial guy, Ron, ever patient, practical and steady, and to some friends, and to my kids.  What I found happening was that I began to create a sort of dichotomy or polarity between here and there in which I was able to create an ever-longer list of pros for there and cons for here. Some of them were no brainers: Denver gets 300 days of sunshine a year, there are cool people out there and I can live out all of my hippie fantasies in close proximity to Boulder.  Others, a little more subtle: I have been doing the same thing for a long time here. That is the good news and the bad news of it all. That is the trap and the allure.  Could I do it? Could I pick up and leave, sell it all, take off in my little car with my little dog and just go? Find a funky little apartment out there somewhere and simplify my life?  Make a new start? Escape the sameness and the routine of my life here?

Of course, I am a drunk, and this could smack a little of the GC, though of course daydreaming about the possibilties in life is what keeps us interested and moving ahead.  It could be quite the adventure to move away. The only trouble is, I can't figure out how to do it without taking me along.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the things that are bugging me about my life have little to do with where I live and everything to do with my reticence to do the work I need to do to make it better. The grand gesture always sounds better to me than the daily work of making a life and making it worth living.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this writing; I needed it today.