While I await the sage advice of my editor, who will either savage my novel or gently nudge it toward something even finer that it already is, I’ve had the time to ponder some things. I do most of my pondering while I’m out running. This keeps my mind off the running, which, if I really stop to dwell on it, is kind of painful and unpleasant.
Overall, I’m underwhelmed by the quality of my own thoughts when they’re not tuned specifically to the task of writing novels. I think in the absence of this career I might have turned out rather flabby in the thinking department, and, worse still, a whiner. But there have been a few keepers among the detritus my vacationing mind has thrown up on the shores of consciousness. Here’s one:
Has an increase in mobility terminally frayed the ties that once kept us connected to one another? Would we all be better off if we lived and died in the same place, connected to the same people, rather than flinging ourselves all over the globe in search of adventure/excitement/enlightenment/cash, etc.? Or is this wanderlust part of our human nature?
I ask this not because I have any regrets. After all, I met my husband in a town neither of us grew up in and we adopted our daughter from yet another one. We are a full-blown transatlantic family and there is not a single member of this extended clan I could imagine living without.
I am almost always in the unpleasant state of missing someone. Missing a lot of people, in fact. And it bothers me that my daughter will not have the same kind of upbringing I had. Her grandparents won’t pop over every weekend for a visit, because they live far away. Nor will she gather for cake and ice cream for every single cousin’s, aunt’s, uncle’s, and grandparent’s birthday. Instead, she’ll see members of her extended clan occasionally and, if she’s anything like her mother, spend the rest of her time missing them.
I don’t believe we can go back. I know I can’t. I think we are a mobile species and will continue to be so. Certainly email, video iChat, Facebook and youTube make the separations more bearable. But is bearable good enough? Or can we do better?