Day 121: Where is my family now?

For those of you who are still in school: where do you think you’ll end up in five years? Ten years? Twenty years? What about retirement?

Personally, I never had a firm answer on these questions. Growing up in Oregon, I certainly wanted to see more of the world, but after a few decades, it’s hard to call anywhere else home.

Where did we end up?

I didn’t expect to have bounced around so much in my life so far: Connecticut for college, California for graduate school, New York for a summer, Vietnam for two summers, Pennsylvania for the early years of my marriage and new career, and now Washington — a state I used to tease as “Oregon’s Canada.” I could end up anywhere next (if there is one).

My parents set roots in Oregon and resisted the option to move to California to be with more of their friends and family. They’ve lived in the house they live in now for almost two decades, and they have held a steady routine for quite some time. Their children, however, add variability.

My sisters seemed to take on different lives altogether. I didn’t expect my older sister to plant roots so close to where she grew up, marrying early and starting a family. I had no idea my younger sister wanted to invest so much in traveling the world and seeking adventure abroad.

Our communication styles vary, too.

My older sister grew up socializing on the phone, so she often questions why I don’t call often to check in. I don’t know why, but I hate using the phone unless it’s for logistical or professional purposes.

I grew up on the internet, first with IRC chats and later on AIM, ICQ, email, Friendster, Myspace, Facebook, and more. 28.8 kbps was all I needed.

My younger sister belongs more to the smartphone generation, favoring WhatsApp to accommodate her international communication needs. She’s now freaking out because our parents just discovered stickers and emojis.

Despite all of these different trajectories and attitudes, I’ve always felt like the ability to communicate exists for different intentions. When something important or serious needs to be addressed, my family rallies to support, even if some of us are annoyed or upset with one another.

I anticipate the next ten years will be interesting, especially as my parents look to retire and presume that their children will step up to the plate. I know my sisters are thinking about this, but I’ll be there for them, too.

It’s just a matter of specifics.

— Lee

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