A Million Miles from Almost Everyone

by Rachel on July 6, 2011

I’ve spent the last two weeks not really doing anything but hanging out with my family.

I haven’t been working out or responding to e-mails or talking on the phone; I’ve barely been blogging and I’ve taken a few half days off of work.

I figured I have two weeks with them, so I better not waste that time.

And two weeks is long enough to be able to relax and enjoy and not think about how short two weeks really is in the grand scheme of things.

But last night, after dinner and gelato and driving around Houston to look at the pretty mansions as the sun was going down with Eric, my mom, and Preston, I got that anxious feeling I always get right before it’s time to say good-bye.

I hate when I’m happy and then my gut starting nagging me. It gets all, “Why are you having so much fucking fun? In a very short period of time, life is going to return to normal, which means someone you love will be far away. You really should spend this time playing sad music and acting emo.”

I told my gut to STFU and went about enjoying my evening.

But this morning, I was starting to think my gut was right after I took my mom and Preston to the airport. I refused to put on emo music and I tried not to think about it too much, but it made me really sad.

Sigh. I love everything about living in Houston and my life and where it’s going, except that every day I feel like I’m a million miles from almost everyone.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stephanie July 6, 2011 at 4:25 pm

I’m glad you had such a good time with your family, but I definitely share your pain. I miss my family every day since I moved away. Some days it’s so lonely not having my girlfriends down the street or my mom and dad right around the corner.

So I’m sending you a great big virtual hug from one transplant to another


2 Manon July 6, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Sigh……..my heart just fell to my toes reading this because it’s EXACTLY why I ended up back in Iowa….it got to the point where as much as I absolutely LOVED Austin, everybody I didn’t want to only see twice a year, at best, was 1500 miles away :( Hopefully you have a better time than I did and it gets easier for you!


3 Frederique July 6, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Ah, this captures exactly how I feel living in DC (when my mom is in Canada, my sister in Italy , my brothers in Asia!). I wish my whole life could fit in one city, but no apparently, it takes an entire planet :( I do feel lucky though, to live in the age of Skype, email and telephones! It’s not the same but it’s way better than the postal service!


4 Sarah July 6, 2011 at 4:43 pm

I totally understand how you feel Rachel. I just moved to Atlanta from Michigan. I love the city and my like my job but I don’t know anyone here. My family is back in Michigan and my friends are scattered around the country. Living far away from the people you care about really is hard and the hardest time for me is always right after saying goodbye.


5 MoneyMaus July 6, 2011 at 5:13 pm

I can completely empathize with you! For college, I moved from Seattle to San Diego. My younger brother stayed in state for college and saw my parents almost every week. I thought I was going to move to the Seattle area after college, but I ended up landing a job in San Diego and staying for 3.5 years… and then 3 months ago I moved to NYC and left almost all my best friends.

Talk about being ridiculously far away from my family/friends. Maybe one day we’ll all be back together again! (Doubtful – my parents plan on basically being nomads when they retire in a few years. Sigh. But on the other side, I’m making awesome friends here so I can’t complain too much!)


6 Emma July 6, 2011 at 5:20 pm

I so totally feel your pain. As much as I love my life and living with Adam, and know that the decisions I’ve made have been the right ones, it’s still sometimes SO HARD to be so far away from…everyone else you love. For the first few years of living away from the east coast, I would be in some serious pain when I came back to Colorado, and normally cried while driving to work the next morning. I think the “end of vacation” feeling coupled with the “end of time with loved ones” really makes for a double whammy. I always felt that this quote – I think it’s from Snoopy? – summed up my feelings on the subject pretty well: “Why can’t we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? [Pretty please?!] I guess that wouldn’t work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say goodbye. I hate goodbyes. I know what I need. I need more hellos.”

My best advice is obvious and unexciting, but it has helped me to cope with my separation anxiety (or even just normal end-of-vacation blues). One, before we even leave or before people arrive, Adam and I will talk about what we are excited to do afterwards. It can be anything from “Madmen marathon in PJs on the couch,” to dinner reservations or a day trip the following weekend, to putting pictures from our trip in frames and hanging them. Having something to look forward to helps with the crash. The second thing is to go to work. I know, I know, but seriously – my drive to work used to be a big post-fam cry time for me (used to?), but once I’m actually *at* work, I start to feel better. Talking to coworkers, checking my email, and settling back into my routine – while somewhat boring! – can feel comforting while providing a needed distraction until you feel better. Which you will!

Ugh, just thinking about your pain makes my heart hurt. But you know what? It’s a good thing; it means you really love them. (Awwww!)


7 Dori July 6, 2011 at 5:28 pm

I understand. My brother lives in Seattle and I miss him so much it physically hurts. I am so happy you got two really great weeks with your family. Nothing is permanent, hopefully you will end up near them at some point.


8 Sarah July 6, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I agree with all the above sentiments, and when it comes down to it…it just sucks. Nothing much more can be said about it except…damn it sucks. I’m so sorry :( Tomorrow will be better.


9 Ashley Breton July 6, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Wow, I just moved 10 miles away from my family into my new apartment and I broke down at my desk looking at pictures of my cat and sister, etc. I’m sorry you’re so far :( I’ve had that gut feeling for a few days, but I guess thats normal.


10 Ashley July 6, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Ahh I feel your pain! I am only 3 hours from my family but it is still hard! I hope Eric is extra nice to you this week :)


11 Postcard Life July 6, 2011 at 8:57 pm

I completely understand this feeling. I spent the past weekend in my home town after living away from everything and everyone I knew a year ago. It was strange being back there and I realized that I definitely made the right decision for me at this time in my life to be away but it physically hurt to leave my best friend again. After 10 years of friendship (with 0 fights) she is closer to me than anyone else. I try to remind myself that while it isn’t the same talking on the phone to those I love or emailing, I am lucky I have them in my life.


12 Eunice July 6, 2011 at 9:31 pm

I’m sorry that you’re so far from your family. My brothers and I are really close and I would be really sad too if they were that far away. Sometimes emo music is okay. :)


13 Ramou July 7, 2011 at 9:36 am

It’s so great that you did get to spend so much time with your family, but I understand that it still sucks when they leave.
A lot of my family lives in IL and I live in MA. I have two nieces and a nephew in IL and they just seem like totally different people each time I see them. I spent a lot of time with them a few weeks ago and was totally a sobbing baby at the airport after my 6 year-old niece cried and then my 4 year-old niece said, “If you need anything, I’ll be at home.” Ugh. And then I was randomly selected to get checked for bomb residue on my hands – while I was still crying. So that was fun!


14 Claire July 7, 2011 at 9:58 am

I know exactly how you feel! Whenever I return to NYC from home, I tell myself “I’m not going home anymore- I can’t do this again! It’s too hard!”


15 Stephanie @ LoveLaughterLight July 7, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I know how you feel! I live in Denver and my family lives in Pennsylvania and New York. For the most part, I’m OK, but when I talk to my almost 90 year old Grandma every Sunday, it really tugs on the heartstrings. She always tells me she’s glad I have a good job and that I am happy, but she wishes I were closer. :(


16 Hima July 7, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I completely understand this. I grew up in Michigan and am currently residing here for a job but was lucky enough to spend college in Boston and the years after in Montana (the place I still refer to as my home). Between where I’ve lived and where large parts of my family live (Virginia + India), it seems no matter where I am I’m always missing someone.

oh, that i could shrink the surface of the world, so that suddenly i might find you standing at my side!
-wang chien


17 Ché @ Knight at the Restaurant July 8, 2011 at 12:47 pm

This post made me smile.

I moved from Boston FROM Houston (almost 2,000 miles away – also for a boy), so while reading this I was simultaneously thinking about how I know that awful feeling all too well, while also missing the same activities you described doing on your last evening with your family. Those are the things my boyfriend and I like to do when we visit my family in Houston, except the next day it’s US getting on the plane.

Either way, even if it never gets easier, at least you know in your heart you’re where you need to be.


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