One of my best friends (since kindergarten) has been offered an exciting new opportunity on the other side of the country, where houses are one-third the cost they are here in SoCal. His lovely 2,800 sq. ft. home here in Los Angeles recently sold for about $750k, whilst the bigger 4,000 sq. ft.model homes he and his lovely wife are looking at on the East Coast are going for a little above $250k -- fully furnished to help close the deal ... and such a deal. (Btw, these homes are the signature homes of a large, high-end home builder, not some schmaltzy remnants of a slipshod company.)
But, he's not chasing a dream with this probable move, but rather securing the next stage of his career and improving the lifestyle for him and his wife and their daughters. He'll take on a staff and budget roughly triple the size he had here. Both of their beautiful and talented and funny (and sarcastic) daughters are in college (one film school, and the other ready to start grad school), so there's no family concerns to keep him local. And, upon finishing his own graduate degree next year he'll be ready to finally publish the material for the two or three books he already has compiled (if only he had an editor! His wife and I have been encouraging him for almost 10 years to write his first book). To borrow a phrase from President Obama (and the backers of the "stimulus package"), his career is shovel-ready for a meteoric rise into the mesosphere. I'm so proud of him.
Moves across the country are an interesting conundrum (moving across town is tough enough). One of our dear blogger friends (the redoubtable Ms. Deb over at Dumbwit Tellher) recently considered a move out of country, to Scotland, I believe. If she did go, she would raise the level of my impression of expats considerably. When I moved to Virginia for grad school, it was four years of sheer enjoyment (and about a year of hell). Hell because it was law school and tough and my brother died and my marriage was fraying. Sheer enjoyment because my ex and I both loved the area, the weather, our first son was born there and we used to have picnics in our large backyard under our elm tree with our son and our dog, Mr. Beebe (before the tornado topped it with an unreal brute force, leaving it looking forlorn with a bad, asymmetrical haircut). At some point a few years back, we both admitted that had we stayed in Virginia we'd most likely still be married. It was an odd, though refreshing moment. She also revealed around this time (of our nuptial demise) her regret for not encouraging me (and trusting) to pursue my writing rather than a degree in law. Late-coming, back-handed compliments are better late and backward than never I guess.
When you "go for it," trying to improve your lot in life (like my childhood pal), there's that moment before the roller coaster of life drops you into zero gravity, when your stomach and heart and mind ask, "what the hellll?!" as you plummet into the unknown. Taking the plunge like that is good, but consider the cost of what you're undertaking. Jesus gave us the metaphor of the builder of the tower and its attendant costs. Go for it, take the plunge, build the tower, make the move, but consider those pesky costs. You could: lose a marriage or a job or a house over it. You just might also: Make that million. Find that husband. Earn that MBA from Harvard. Write that screenplay. Or start a new life on the East Coast with nothing but upside.