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Family Unsupportive of Move

Posts: 19
Active Member
Topic starter

Hi Everyone! Thanks for all of this amazing information on this message board. But I would like to bring up a new topic...

I've had this move planned for several months now and will be arriving on STJ in September. I will be leaving friends and family here and a social work position that I have been in for four years. I love my friends and family and I truly do love my job, but as a single 30 year old female, I feel like I am missing my life. I remember seeing a Jose Cuervo poster that said..."All work and no play is totally missing the point." I've never lived outside of the midwest and honestly, I need a huge change. I've travelled extensively. I've always been an island girl (I...gulp...even cry on the plane ride home and am completely unconsole-able for days almost weeks after I get back from the islands). I've been to STJ before, have a friend that used to live there and will be doing a pre move visit in two weeks. I read a post on this board from someone who said he should have made this move 30 years ago and couldn't come up with a reason why he didn't. It really struck me that you regret the things you don't do way more than the things you do and this would be one of my great regrets if I didn't make this happen for myself.

I'm sure that I don't need to convince all of you why I'm moving down, you've been there or are there right now. You get that it is something deep down that the ocean, the beach, the land and the people are your home. Nothing makes you as whole as that. And at one point, you had to make the decision to leave your "home" as you knew it and create a new one in the USVI.

My friends are wildly supportive and are all already putting away money to come see me. My closest friends said "it's about time, you've been trying to plan this for five years!" My family is a completely different story and let's just say they're not happy about this. They think it's immensely irresponsible to be leaving my "career" and financial stability as I know it in the midwest to take a risk like this (I'll be waitressing and hopefully volunteering and possibly get a part=time position in social work). They truly don't get it. They think I'm going to abandon all of my ambition and drive and dreams. And they are not supportive. It's exhausting to try to continually justify something that I know I should do on such an elemental level and have known for many years.

Who out there has dealt with this before they moved down? Or is anyone out there dealing with this now? It's just very hard when the people you are closest to don't share in your joy and excitement of a new chapter in your life.

Any advice? Any stories you'd like to share?


Posted : May 3, 2005 5:20 am
Posts: 22
Eminent Member

Hi Jodi,

I'm probably about the same age as your parents, and want to give you their prospective. All parents want the best for their children, which generally means financial rewards, wanting to see you become successful in your career, meet and marry a nice young man in town, settle down and raise babies, etc. But, you know what? If that's not what you want to do, don't do it....follow your dreams.

There are many things I wish I had done in my younger days, and I can assure you that if you don't do it early, you probably won't do it until you retire. All those years, wasted. "Success" doesn't mean anything if you're not happy. Personally, I'm encouraging my son to become a ski bum, or beach bum, for at least a year before he thinks about settling down. Once you get into the rat race, raising a family, etc., it's generally too late.

My best advice is to follow your dreams. If, after some time, you decide it isn't for you, you have your whole life to follow, and you can always go back. But, if you don't do it now, as you said, you'll always wonder, and probably regret it.

Best of luck to you.

Posted : May 3, 2005 9:49 am
(@STT Resident)
Posts: 114
Estimable Member

Dear Jodi,

I couldn't agree more with John's response.

When I made my first move I was only 16; my second move, transatlantic, was when I was 21. After 18 years in the U.S. I moved to St. Thomas (by myself) 20 years ago.

I learned a long time ago that you have to do what is right for yourself. I wasn't raised in a particularly close-knit family but I don't think this fact made my life any easier, and in your case it of course is proving painful. But you're 30 years old, not exactly a child any more.

Making such a move is going to be afford you plenty of stress, so try not to let your family's negativism get to you. Thank them for their concerns, assure them that you love them and then change the subject - practice makes perfect! When I left home all those years ago it was long letters which kept me in touch, long letters which took a long time to get there. Today with the internet, communication is fast and easy and I'm actually closer to friends and family now because of email than I would ever have dreamed possible.

I've had a pretty brilliant life up to now and, despite all the ups and downs, I wouldn't change it for the world. The white picket fence ideal is great for some but certainly not for all. Your family will probably never be able to grasp it, so don't worry about it. Leave it be as THEIR problem and not yours.

The very best of luck to you in leading YOUR life!

Posted : May 3, 2005 11:17 am
Posts: 178
Estimable Member

Hi Jodi,
Well, I can relate - my husband and I just returned from a pre-move visit. We now have some medical concerns we need to take care of in the US mainland, then hope to make the move. Our families are not supportive of the decision; and (here's the kicker - WE are 50 and 52 years old! Ha! I guess kids are always kids to their parents! We have our house up for sale, my husband left his career in January (23 years as a family therapist) and I will quit my job before we go. Mid-Life crisis ?? Definately. We are ready for the change. We've moved around the mid-west several times, raised 2 great kids, been responsible, and pretty much lived up to expectations. I've been dealing with cancer for the past 5 years and doubt how much "retirement" I will see. So, we want to do it now. We are close to our families but because of busy lives only see them about twice a year (a few states away). So, I still hope to travel home about that often. It is a big move - I keep telling my family "we just want to try it for a year or so, then we'll see". That seems to make them feel better, and doesn't lock us in either. I have little to no regrets about my life so far; I look back on people that never left my hometown and feel that they've missed a whole world. So, mistake or not - I plan on going. We can always return and buy another house and find another job if thats what we decided - with no "what-ifs".
Life is a journey - ENJOY the ride.
Good luck to you, Jodi

Posted : May 3, 2005 2:42 pm
Posts: 8
Active Member

Hi Jodi --
What part of the Midwest are you in?... I grew up in St. Louis, moved around a bit -- college in northeast Missouri, then Chicago, Dallas, and now live in Des Moines, Iowa.

I could identify with many parts of your story. I cry on the way home from the islands, too! It's so embarrassing. 🙂 We're planning a move for NEXT summer... me, my husband, and two boys, now ages 9 and 7. It would have been MUCH simpler to do this before having kids, but oh well, I think it will be a good experience for them, whether or not it works out for the long term.

Our families are a bit "cool" on the idea, too -- especially since we're taking the grandkids so far away. That part breaks my heart a little. Our friends give us the same reaction as yours -- "it's about time!" or "We totally saw this coming." That kind of response really affirms the decision, don't you think?

Like travelwoman, my strategy in dealing with family is to just frame the move as "we're going to try this -- it may not be the right place for us, and if not, we move back. no big deal." I think putting it like that makes it easier for them and gives them hope that we won't be gone long. If we move there and completely love it and decide to stay for a long time, they'll see that and be happy for us. I don't get too worried about the career thing. I figure, if we're gone a short time, the career will bounce right back. If we're gone for a long time, perhaps the careers didn't matter so much anyway. (We're mid-30s. My husband works in HR and is sick of the corporate environment. I do freelance graphic design work, so hopefully I can take that with me anywhere.)


Posted : May 3, 2005 3:07 pm
Posts: 9
Active Member

Hi Jodi,
I left home (Baltimore, Md.) 28 yrs ago to live in California. My friends and family thought I was making a mistake. For a few years, whenever I would go back they would ask when I was coming home. They finally realized I was living my dream and enjoying life. In some way I think they felt hurt that I was leaving them and not thinking of their feelings. They were living their lives as they saw fit and wanted me to live that life also, as John stated all parents want what's best for their children, but what's is best for the parent may not be best for their children. There are so many more options to take advantage of in todays world. Those with wonderlust in their hearts should make the best informed choices and follow their hearts. That's why I will be arriving in STX on 5/28 for my PMV at 55. My parents have learned to accept my choices and I tell them I'm be living closer. To expand on Travelwomans statement Life is a journey-Enjoy the ride.. (Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body. But rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-WOW-WHAT_A_RIDE.
Good Luck to you,

Posted : May 3, 2005 5:01 pm
Posts: 0
New Member

About a year ago I found a quote that sums things up for me. Some of our family isn't very happy about us leaving either, but their choices for life don't have to be ours. We decided that when we look back on our life we want great stories to tell, not material things. Besides, you never know how much time you get, so planning for retirement to enjoy things you love now, may not happen. Hope this will help.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream."

Mark Twain

Posted : May 3, 2005 10:13 pm
Posts: 0
New Member

My folks were the same way 15 years ago. Till they came down to visit me. saw how happy i was. Thats what life is about. being Happy. The thing is to, there going to miss you. But the qualiy time you have, when they come see ya, and when you go home to visit is alot better. I became closer to them once i moved away. Jodi at least they care about you. Follow your dream before its to late, You cant take it with you.

Posted : May 3, 2005 11:15 pm
(@Manny (Dr. D))
Posts: 39
Eminent Member

All of us on this message board have the same vision and our choice in life is to live out what ever happens in a slower, easier, beautiful place! Some friends consider this a step back....they missd the boat completely! I am choosing to live my life the way I want, where I want. All the money in the world could not make me change my mind. I am 50. I am leaving a 22 year chiropractic career in California to live out the rest of my time working on my apartment building and laudromat! I tell everyone I am becoming a janitor in Paradise! Material things could never give me the feeling of happiness I feel everytime I visit the islands. I may be in Calif in body but my heart is on STX. I am making my move in 2 days! I will be arriving in STX with my 4 dogs - I have everything with me tht is important. I can't wait or this next chapter to unfold!! Have faith in your choice. Follow your heart, it will never lead you astray!

Posted : May 3, 2005 11:30 pm
Posts: 19
Active Member
Topic starter

Wow, I am completely overwhelmed by the response to my posting. I am going to read and re-read this post over and over until the big day in September. Thank you so much for all of your kind comments and being able to relate to the situation I am in while offering me the perspective that only you can get by having such a deep love for the islands and all the good and the bad that island life holds. I truly appreciate those that are my parents age that are writing about how they arrived to the point where they are moving down....I know that if I do not do it now, that I will be at the same point of planning to relocate to STJ every 5-10 years for the rest of my life!

I am very happy about my decision (even though I have moments when I step back and think...holy sh#! you are a crazy girl!), but the family thing has made it difficult at best. DAVE IN SB: Your take on life being a journey cracked me up...I was laughing out loud and have written it down in my travel journal. Actually, CICI, your Mark Twain quote is on the front page of it!
Angie S...I'm in Indianapolis, originally from Chicago (where my family is now).

Your words of wisdom were priceless. I vow to stay firm with my decision that not only will entail moving to STJ but also not putting too much weight on the family pressures surrounding the situation. It also reaffirms that when I get to STJ and the USVI's that there will be many people to meet that view life much like I do.

Thanks again! (and please continue with the posts for anyone that can add to this topic~!)

Posted : May 4, 2005 3:13 am
(@live it)
Posts: 0
New Member

This is an incredible thread. It says much about the people who have decided to reinvent their lives. I guess it is important for some people to "go to work..get married.. have children...prepare for the future...etc...but some of us recognize that if we wait for the big rewards in the future, they may never come.

I don't know if that attitude is selfish, but it sure is realistic.
My parents died before they could "enjoy" the future dreams they had. I have already experienced many of my dreams and goals. I plan to experience more in the future...all I need is the financial help me me with money..ok?

Posted : May 4, 2005 3:33 am
Posts: 88
Trusted Member

Best of luck to you Jodi. The islands hold a special place and draw for many of us. My only son was killed in a car accident almost 5 years ago, some of his ashes are on St. John. I have thought often that if he had wanted to enjoy a different life somewhere away from me I would be torn, but supportive as I too moved away from my home after college. Your parents and family will understand in time and your heart will always be with them.
Seize the day!

Posted : May 4, 2005 5:04 am
Posts: 29
Eminent Member

In my case, my family hasn't been too much of a problem - probably because we are scattered across the country and rarely see each other as it is. Weekly telephone calls are already the standard mode of communication for us 🙂

My in-laws are a different story.

My mother-in-law is so angry that she barely speaks with my husband and me any longer... and when she does she speaks in anger and resentment. She has resorted to name calling - and even treating her grandchildren very icily. It saddens me that this is how she is reacting to our move, but there is little I can do to change the situation. It is funny, but she blames me for the move even though my husband is the one who sought out a job on STX and made sure that we could do this at all... oh well, she is not rational about things I guess.

The way she is reacting is somewhat interesting, because when my husband was growing up his family lived all over the world - he was born in Japan, has lived in Europe, on Hawaii, on the West and East coasts of the US, and my MIL was a driving force to seeing that they had the opportunities to do these things. She is a bit controlling though and I think that she wants to be the driving force in her children's lives still - even though they are all in their 40s. So, she is doing what she can to make our decision difficult.

On the other hand, we have decided that this move is the best thing for our family and that we can only be responsible for our own happiness.

We'll keep working on her, mostly for the kids' sake. Hopefully she'll come around and at least be able to be pleasant again.

Good luck with your parents... if they aren't being really nasty about things, you are already one step ahead of us! 🙂


Posted : May 4, 2005 1:37 pm
Posts: 31
Eminent Member

Hi Jodi,
I'am thhe person that wrote, I should have moved 30 years ago.
I can't add much to what people have already written however, two things:
you're only a loser if you don't try.
The feeling you expressed in your letter about the feeling you get about the islands, at least were I live is called "having sand in your shoes"
I'll be 60 years old tomorrow and my old hippie butt is heading to St. Criox as soon as I can wrap things up here.
One Love

Posted : May 5, 2005 1:32 am
Posts: 249
Estimable Member

On the other hand, when island Rat and I broached the subject to my dad (only living parent left) he and my step mom were all for it. He felt held back by me, I felt held back by him. We have always depended on each other. I'm daddy's princess of course. Funny thing is since we started planning our eventual move, my dad up and bought a second home in Pheonix last fall and spent the winter in Arizona. He is so happy to finally be doing one of his dreams! Knowing Mark and I would eventually leave Toledo, he stopped wasting away (and not in Margaritaville)

Posted : May 5, 2005 12:03 pm
Posts: 19
Active Member
Topic starter

Susan- after reading your post I think I should consider myself lucky! My parents aren't making it easy (although I think my dad might be coming around a little bit...he's said some things in the past few days that indicate he's been doing some research on the net...even said that "it didn't look like many jobs were listed in the March edition of the Tradewinds!". Usually negative with the talk, but curiosity is good). Wow, I really feel for you with your in-laws being nasty. I really did think that was how my parents were going to react, so them just generally not being supportive of this move is better than what I had expected.

To all...I guess sometimes you just have to be the one to take the first step (like Eve) and the rest will follow. A quote that I continually repeat to myself, "Do it trembling if you must, but just do it." I'm sure that when I secure both a job and place to live that things will be a little better with the parents(until hurricane season, which they frequently bring up)(I'm actually moving in the middle of storm season...Sept 13th). I know that once I get down there many of my worries about home will dissapate and will be replaced by daily island life. And ironman, I definitely have sand in my shoes! I can't wait till I have sand in everything I own!

As I mentioned, a close friend of mine lived on StJ for 2 years, which is the first time I visited the island. When she asked me why I was moving there, I told her..."I want to wake up every morning and say 'This is as good as it gets.'" She told me that I will and it will "ruin me" forever, as nothing is as beautiful and wonderful to her now that she is living in SanFrancisco. Nothing compares to STJ for her. I am ready to be ruined!


Posted : May 5, 2005 6:44 pm
Posts: 30
Eminent Member

To Dave in SB,

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body. But rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-WOW-WHAT_A_RIDE."

That has to be one of the best quotes on how to live life that I've ever seen. I had to copy it and put it in the letter my family and I are writing to tell our friends and family that we are moving to the VI.

It says it ALL! Nicely done.

PS...I gave you proper attribution!

Posted : May 6, 2005 12:55 am
Posts: 9
Active Member

Thanks Kevin,
But I can't accept credit. it was actually written by an anonomous source, I just try to live by it.

Posted : May 6, 2005 3:34 am
Posts: 0
New Member

well...i am a single parent who will be moving down after my son graduates high school...of course he is not happy with the idea at all,but all he has ever wanted is for me to be happy, so although i will be going with tears in my eyes, i will be living my dream. my mom was not too happy cause she thinks she will never see me again, but i have promised to get a place & then move her over---eventually!

Posted : May 9, 2005 9:51 pm
Posts: 26
Eminent Member

Hi Autumn,
I am contemplating the same move to STT but with my son. I am also a single parent. My family has said WHY to everything. My son and I travel all the time we love it. We went for a short visit to STT in Feb only 2 days. I just found out I got a job in the school system for next year. We are headed down in May to look at schools and as much as we can. Hope to take the job and enjoy the adventure that is ahead!

Posted : May 10, 2005 12:53 am
(@half pint)
Posts: 1
New Member

Hi All,

I was planning a move to St John about six months ago and was led off course by a friend I had gone to high school with. He had been living in STT for 5 years and wanted to come home to the South. He had so many negative things to say about the islands. I was like "are you crazy!!". Soon after he moved back and in with me (stupid idea) I realized that he wouldn't have been happy anywhere. Hence he has moved on to another state. I am back on track and still want to move down to St John. I've sold my house and should be ready to go June 4. Do you guys suggest a pre visit move , or just to jump in feet first? I am 36 years old and have been in advertising sales for 6 years. I will have some money when I get there , but not alot. What kind of expenses am I looking far as finding a place to live etc... Of course MR Negative came down with $400 in his pocket. I need some positive reinforcment about this after all the negatives. Any advice?

Posted : May 10, 2005 1:21 am
Posts: 0
New Member

I think if you can get your son to go, that would be great! How old is your son? My son is not quite the traveler & loves to call California home. I am so happy for you...just a little envious, but surely happy!!!

Posted : May 10, 2005 5:37 pm
Posts: 5404
Illustrious Member

I can see where Mr Negative would have problems. How did he find a place to live? Most landlords will want first and last month's rent and possibly a third month as security. (Figuring a min of $800 X 3...) $400 probably got him through the rum for the first week! My humble recommendation has always been to have enough cash to keep yourself afloat for at least 3 months, 6 months if you are at all cautious (and most people who come here are not.)

Secondly, there is a phenomenon when someone decides it is time to move back to the states...they can never find anything nice to say. I'm not sure if they are trying to reassure themselves that they are making a good move or what. And you are correct, there are people who aren't happy anywhere and they believe that a move to "Paradise" will change that. It won't.

Posted : May 10, 2005 9:00 pm
Posts: 26
Eminent Member

Hi Autumn,
My son is 10 yo. Loves to travel right now we are looking at a ten month position with the option to stay if all goes well.

PS we are from the snowy Northeast so it didn't take much convincing since we are both beach bums!

Posted : May 12, 2005 1:27 am
Posts: 2552
Famed Member

Have you tried getting them to come down for a visit?
Years ago our daughter was working at the Club Med office in Scottsdale. She was wanting to go work out in the clubs. She was 18 and only wanted our blessings. We were NOT happy about it, but she invited us to go with her to one of the clubs . We went to Tatahi. On the way home, we told her that if she DIDN'T do it, she was crazy.
It was the best thing she could have done. It really made her grow up, and be self reliant. She worked for them for 10 year.

Now she is the vice-president of a medical testing company, and we have always been very proud of her.

I'm sure glad we went with her on a visit, and I'm sure glad she had the chance to work out in the non-traditional work place. As you get older and have a family, you will be tied down and can't get to do the interesting things.

Posted : May 12, 2005 4:03 am
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