Homesick

It’s one concept I don’t understand. Sure no child wants to leave home. Home is safe. Home is familiar. But by the time a child reaches adult, they should be ready, if not eager, to venture out into the world. When I was 18 I traveled half way across the country to go to college. Being born and raised pretty much in the center of the US, I went north, not far from Canada. Sure I called home fairly often, but I never regretted my choice of location and never grieved for home. There were no tears, no whining to anyone of “I wanna go home.”Three years later I joined the Army and traveled 2 to 3 times as far from home for basic training, and ended up here in Alaska. I have only been able to go home 4 times since we moved here. Homesick, never once. The only time I regretted not being able to go home whenever I wanted was when my mother died. Not that I didn’t try, but she died very close to Christmas time and all flights were booked solid. As it turned out, even if I had been able to book a flight, it would have been canceled or diverted; that was the year Denver was shut down due to really heavy snowfall.

Now I work at a fishing lodge 80 some air miles from Anchorage. It’s a summer job – nearly four months if you work from the very beginning to the very end – certainly not your normal career-type job. Many of our employees are college students seeking a summer job, so many of them are somewhere around 20 years old, give or take a handful of years. Tomorrow one will go home, having been here only since yesterday’s evening flight. After one day she couldn’t take it and wanted to go home. Breaking down and crying most every time she was on her own. I think she was dwelling on what was back home far more than looking forward to the new experience.

Now don’t get me wrong; living out here is not for everyone. In fact, I would guess that few people could handle the months of isolation. You have to be able to entertain yourself for hours on end, and if you’re married, you need to be able to get along with your significant other very well. For long stretches of time you can’t run to your neighbor so they can entertain you, and the only bar you can run to is the one you have in your refrigerator (if you have one of those). But really, 3 or 4 months of work around people constantly coming and going, and working with people that are always there to talk to or watch TV with, or even get drunk with – of course all that is done on off time, can be a lot of fun. There’s also opportunities to go fishing or just lay out in the sun. A summer job here isn’t bad. On the job, you do work hard, but you get to meet awesome people from all over the country and sometimes from around the world. I mean really, not a bad summer job.

So, what’s with homesickness? In all my years I’ve met exactly 3 people who became homesick and one of those people were somewhere around 10 or 12 years old – I don’t remember anymore. I was only a kid myself. The other two were both out here at the lodge. Surprise the heck out of me. Are we no longer teaching our kids to make their own way in life? Do we hang on to them too long? One of my sons has made it all the way to Korea during his tour with the army before coming back to Alaska, and the other one now lives in Arizona. The one I get to see 2 or 3 times a year. The other one I talk to on the phone every so often. I miss them, but they have a life to live, and I wish them the best is whatever choices they make.

Nope – no homesickness in my family. Nothing a phone call or an email can’t cure. And now that I have internet, Facebook is awesome for keeping in touch with family even if they are a whole country away.

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Published in: on May 30, 2012 at 10:03 PM  Leave a Comment  

Human Nature

What is it about people these days? Once upon a time man was doing good to survive. One day someone discovered that when you crawl under a pile of rocks, the world is not so inhospitable. One thing led to another and look at what we have now. We now have massive cities, and people live and work in skyscrapers that threaten to pierce the clouds. But we didn’t get there just because someone learned how to stack stones one on top of the other to build a house. It’s human nature to want to have something better for the next generation. Benjamin Franklin gave us electricity and the printed book, and now we have the internet and eBooks. Thomas Edison gave us the light bulb and the phonograph, and now we have the MP3 player. And if it weren’t for Henry Ford we wouldn’t have the world-round transportation network that made building and supporting those massive cities possible. If it weren’t for these men, and others just as industrious though less well-known, we would all still be living in little farming towns and weeding our kitchen gardens.

Recently I was shown a very blatant comparison. When was the last time you looked at Hiroshima? It’s such a beautiful, thriving city, but remember some 70 or so years ago it was a toxic nuclear waste. Now look at this country. Every generation we have all struggled to give our kids the next best thing. We think we know what the standard of living should be, so we pour great gouts of money into our government to ensure no one in this country is below that standard. Of course, it seems like every year that standard needs adjusting. There’s also all the ‘adjusting’ to what people get paid so they can make ends meet and save a bit in order to make that improvement for the next generation.

It’s all a vicious ball that is rotting from the inside. With so many people getting their life-style handed to them, less people are actually working for what they get. Why should they? All they have to do is go fill out some forms and they’ll get a check – problem solved. Did you know – I didn’t – there is no welfare in Japan, and look what they accomplished. Our government needs to get out of the private sector and allow us to manage ourselves. The only problem with that idea is that we are so addicted to government aid that we don’t know how to survive without it anymore. Businesses don’t know what to pay people anymore and heaven forbid people had to pay for their own insurance rather than look for work with the best package. In that same vein, doctors don’t know what to charge anymore either. What is the fair price for all the services out there? Once was the time when people could go to the person or business who offers the best service for the lowest price, thus forcing other people and businesses to keep their prices low in order to compete, but free market and competition no longer exists. Once again, government has stepped in to make sure businesses stay afloat that should really die a painless death or make drastic changes, thus causing far less overall damage in the long run.

But what do I know? I am just a country hick who has managed to drop out of society and become a hermit.

Published in: on May 18, 2012 at 11:28 PM  Comments (2)