October 13, 2009

It’s been one of those rare days when my emotions are so close to the surface that they almost spill over.

I’m not sure if it’s the result of all the reminders of the passage of time, or if I’m noticing the reminders because I’m feeling unanchored.

A few weeks ago a girlfriend and I talked for a long while about the price we paid for leaving our hometowns, our extended families, and for choosing a completely different way of life.

When you choose a different life, it’s hard for your hometown family to relate to it. They don’t know much about your life and even when you tell them, she pointed out, they often just can’t get it.

Her life is very, very different from her family’s. Now, there are family expectations coming up that she can’t meet. For very good reasons: she has had a difficult year and must take care of herself. The situation on her end is critical, but they can’t grasp it. It’s completely out of their frame of reference. Completely.

As the High Tech Exec often remarked, you pay a price for being the one to leave.

You pay a price, too, when you choose to live a non-traditional life. When you have a bit of the wanderlust. And when you don’t clique up easily.

It’s easy to feel unmoored when your social circle consists of a Chinese menu, and you can’t really have it any other way.

And so I close this emotional day with one of Bruce Springsteen’s classics. Which says it better than I could.

Here’s Bruce with The Price You Pay.

You make up your mind, you choose the chance you take
You ride to where the highway ends and the desert breaks
Out on to an open road you ride until the day
You learn to sleep at night with the price you pay
Now with their hands held high, they reached out for the open skies
And in one last breath they built the roads they’d ride to their death
Driving on through the night, unable to break away
From the restless pull of the price you pay

Oh, the price you pay, oh, the price youpay
Now you can’t walk away from the price you pay

Now they’d come so far and they’d waited so long
Just to end up caught in a dream where everything goes wrong
Where the dark of night holds back the light of day
And you’ve gotta stand and fight for the price you pay


Little girl down on the strand
With that pretty little baby in your hands
Do you remember the story of the promised land
How he crossed the desert sands
And could not enter the chosen land
On the banks of the river he stayed
To face the price you pay
So let the games start, you better run you little wild heart
You can run through all the nights and all the days
But just across the county line,
a stranger passing through put up a sign
That counts the men fallen away to the price you pay
And girl before the end of the day,
I’m gonna tear it down and throw it away

Alt. unreleased verse as sung live:
Now some say forget the past, and some say don’t look back
But for every breath you take well buddy you leave a track
And though it don’t seem fair, for every smile that plays
A tear must fall somewhere

2 comments on “Unmoored
  1. Thanks for this. You may feel unmoored but you’re certainly not alone! Leaving hometown and family for a different place, a different kind of life….this is the condition of our age. I’ve just relaunched (softly) the ExpatHarem.com website to address this shift in social order. So many of us identity questers out here, juggling new definitions of family and home, and who and where our people are.

  2. I appreciate those comments.Blazing a trail is always harder than following one already there. I’ll check out your website, sounds like I’d enjoy following it.

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