45. I love living where I live. That said, I would move back to Eugene in a heartbeat if it was at all feasible.
After spending a weekend in Eugene with my family, I feel I really need to amend this. It's only when I've been away from them for awhile that I start to think it would be preferable--or even possible--to live closer than 100 miles away from them.
A little background is in order here. My parents had one unshakable theory about raising a family. This was that all the children were to be treated absolutely the same. There was never to be even the slightest hint of favoritism toward any one daughter at any time. Both my parents, especially Dad, had suffered through childhoods where one sibling was obviously favored, and they were determined not to make that mistake with their own children. This seems like a sound and laudable child-rearing theory, no? And it is, but it did produce in each of us a desperate desire for individual achievement and recognition. Our adult lives were about shaking off the chains of being anonymous daughters of our parents, and struggling to establish our identities outside and beyond our family. Though the family remained a place of comfort and rest for each of us, its role was to be there for us to go back to if we needed it. It was a wonderful place to visit, but none of us wanted to live there any more.
When my dad became ill, we were forced to "implode" back into the confines of the family. We all believed that we could do what needed to be done, and that we could do it willingly and cheerfully. We were unprepared to learn that we had all grown so far away from the nucleus of the family that we couldnt go back. Our years of struggling to be individuals had made us ill fit to cope with the responsibilities of Dads illness. Suddenly, we were spending our days intensely together and under tremendous stress, and the reality of our incompatibility hit us like a freight train traveling at the speed of the Concord. We cracked. And who was there to lash out at besides each other?