Letting the heart lead you to other lands

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 3, 2005

The other night I had a surprise phone call from a friend of mine whose career has very much paralleled my own.

We both moved to small towns in Georgia, we both then moved to a midsize metro daily.

Then we both returned to our respective hometowns to be editors of our hometown papers.

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I remember him telling me when he took the position that he was there to prove something.

He had been a problem student and he even once had a teacher tell him that he would never amount to anything.

He said the look on her face was priceless the day he strolled into the school to get acquainted with the administration.

We've kept up with what each other

and there have been a few times you've read a story that we wrote here, but the idea was all his.

He has also shared with me the times he has used my ideas in his paper.

So when I got the call from him, I figured he was calling to scrape a few ideas off me.

I didn't wait for his number to pop up on the Caller ID so I only saw it was him so I answered the phone.

"Hello from Idaho!" he said gleefully.

I said something to the effect that he must be crazy for going on vacation in such a cold state.

He then informed he was not on vacation, but rather was now living there.

I listened and he explained that he and his wife both left the newspaper business and had joined a public relations firm.

I listened as he talked about not having a deadline every other day and how he no longer rushed out the door at 2 a.m. to cover fires and accidents and other calamities.

I have to admit I felt a little twinge in my stomach and I asked him finally why he would give up what he considered his dream job to move to Idaho.

I think I asked him if he had lost his mind and he said no.

I think I offended him because I didn't sound all excited about it.

I gave him every reason why I thought he should have stayed put.

I named his family, his friends and his close proximity to the beach.

He said it didn't matter. I asked him what then caused them to make such a decision.

"We couldn't think of a reason to stay any longer," he said.

Well with that I wished him well and I promised to stay in touch with them.

His wife called me that night to ask me if I thought they did the right thing.

Having a few hours to think on it, I told her that anytime you make the decision to move away, you should listen to your heart.

I know how hard it is to move, but I also know the changes can make you a stronger person.

You have to get used to a new area, create a new support system, start a new job just to name a few.

As I told another friend recently who will be leaving Greenville in June, if it feels so exciting that not to do it would make you miserable, then go for it.  

Yes, it is unlikely I'll see my Idaho friends for a long time.

But they're happy.

My other friend, I know he'll be happy as well on his new adventure.

I do know from my own experience that no matter how many times you leave home, Greenville is here when you ready to come back.