By Mark Gray
A U.S. Census Bureau report shows that the majority of Americans live in the state in which they were born. In Utah, nearly 62 percent are native-born. The percentage is highest in the Deep South and the upper Midwest and lowest in warm weather states like Nevada (25 percent), Arizona (39 percent), and Florida (36 percent).
We don’t have any strong ties to Utah. Our parents have passed away and our children live in different states. Yet, I’m not as eager as my wife to pack the suitcases, call the van company and move to another state. Is it because I’m not as adventurous as she? Am I more content to simply ‘settle?”
There are certainly economic considerations; in my wife’s case, she wants to move to a high-cost city where a one-bedroom condominium can easily cost $1.5 million. But it goes beyond sheer economics. There is something to be said for a routine, knowing locations and cultures. In Utah, I have a “sense of place” even though “the place” wouldn’t be my first choice.
It’s a decision my wife and I will have to face at some point, and I’m sure others have faced the same question. (Do we move closer to family? What will we do for employment if we move? Will the place we enjoy visiting be less magical if we lived there full-time?)
For now, my feet are planted in Utah soil...but not firmly planted. The opportunity to consider other options is both scary and exciting at the same time.
By Dawn Brandvold-Gray
The old adage says “home is where the heart is.” In that case, my home would be on opposite sides of the country. With a son in Washington, D.C. and a daughter in Oakland, Calif., my heart is bi-coastal. Yet here I am in Utah.
I am confused when I talk to empty-nesters who keep the large home and yard for “when the kids come for Sunday dinner.” An hour on Sunday does not seem to warrant the upkeep. And for the occasional visit, we happily squeeze everyone into our condo, with inflatable beds if necessary, when the crowd comes home. In addition, with no yard work, the weekends are ours.
Travel gives us a sense of adventure and possibility. What kind of life would we have in a new city? Would we ever feel comfortable in a place that bears little resemblance to Davis County? Most of us give a sigh of relief when we return to the familiar and up until a year ago, I agreed. The kids have to travel to see us now, so what difference does it make where we live?
I have been smitten by various cities in the past, wondering if I would enjoy living there. Imaging the seasons and the traffic and the daily quirks of life, I usually conclude that living in Utah is best for now.
However, a recent trip to New York City only reinforced what I already suspected. The Big Apple is the place I want to call home. Yes, it is a magical place to visit, but more than that, it resonates with me. The more often I go, the more comfortable I get. I can navigate the subways and streets. I have picked out a favorite neighborhood. I feel confident, alive, and capable.
Time will tell if we make the move, but I like to remind my husband, like the song says Р if we can make it there, we can make it anywhere.