This will be the first thanksgiving that I’ve spent away from my family. Here in Missouri, I will instead be spending it with my son and my wife’s parents and cousins who are here. During the last few months, I’ve been gutted by a feeling of being homesick. Today, it will probably hit the hardest.
Alas, this feeling however does give way to a realization; We never appreciate our family enough until they aren’t around. The atmosphere of my dad’s family staying up late into the night, kicking back some beers, the ambient noise of conversation – it’s something I’ve realized alot of other families don’t have. I’ve lived in Illinois my entire life, and while I hated the state with a passion, my family is what kept me there.
In modernity, we often leave our families and move to various parts of the country in search of economic freedom and success – in my families case the best opportunity is currently here in Missouri. Grandparents often barely know their grandchildren, nephews and nieces only see their aunts and uncles twice a year, and siblings often are stuck with only Facebook to establish that connection to bring back memories of home.
Sometimes I wonder if the fact we can go anywhere with a press of the gas pedal has inadvertently led us to paths that often don’t include the family structure, proximity, and support that existed for most up until the 1960s. Will we ever experience that again as a culture? I can only lament.
It takes a village to raise a child – especially for those who desire a big family. That’s almost impossible nowadays. Many millennials often move so much, that we never establish roots and become so close with our neighbors that they are like blood.
Some however survive the homesickness and overcome it. A while after originally posting this, I reached out to Quintus and suggested it as a podcast topic for him – which he actually just did – and a gentleman who goes by Motivated Maverick gave me some advice. Suffice to say, he’s been in the military for 14 years and has been away from his family for long stretches. He gave the following 9 points for consideration.
- Build a routine. Even small things like your meals, a cup of coffee, a walk or a cigarette. Enjoy them.
- Focus on the people around you. Make others smile & laugh. People around you probably feel homesick too.
- Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. 3 hard miles will solve nearly all your mental problems.
- Accept what’s happening; embrace it. Philosophy used to help men cope. Still does. Read Boethius.
- Make a rule in your mind: YOU ARE NOT A VICTIM. YOU DO NOT FEEL SORRY FOR YOURSELF. This is important.
- Keep a journal. This will help a lot..BUT NO VICTIM JOURNALS
- Read good, uplifting books.
- An engaging long term project is your best friend. A side business you’re working can make time fly.
Alas, but we press on. Perhaps some football tonight will get my mind off it. Happy thanksgiving to those of you I love, cherish, and know. Modernity does have it’s price I suppose.
To all those in my spheres, from RVF to Maverick – happy travels and I hope that while you make your life abroad, homesickness doesn’t bring you down. Deus Vult