American Girl.

I grew up in a small town.  We had parades and honored veterans.  My grandpa, who had medals for his service in WW2, was up at the VFW all the time and my Dad fought in Korea. I was raised to be proud of my country.

Looking back, I was raised in a blood-red Republican area and politics were something we simply never discussed.  I think it’s a shame my parents missed that learning opportunity–it made politics something that triggered my anxiety as someone who always wants everyone to get along.  Yes, I ended up being a lovely Liberal snowflake.  It’s a badge I wear with honor because it just means I want everyone to have equality and…..get along.

Over the last few years my job in the news industry has tested the limits of pharmacology as I change meds for my depression and anxiety trying to find something that will make being at work just tolerable, let alone enjoyable.  Nothing increases anxiety and depression more than watching your country turn into something unrecognizable.   I wouldn’t say that I ever had a list of things I was proud of our country before, but I definitely have a list of things that make me ashamed to be an American now.  It’s a new feeling to add to “my crazy”–and yes, that’s how I refer to it, my crazy.  Everyone has their own crazy, some just own it while others drink it away, snort it away, or do whatever they need to do to make it tolerable.

My ADHD has been exceptional lately, helping me get a lot of things in order, including my long-term plans.  As I face this giant internal crisis of country, I decided to make a list of reasons why,  and I’ve been adding to it as I think of things.  It’s getting to be pretty long and despite what my mother says, it’s not ALL about me, and I’m sharing it with the world.  When I do leave, I’m heading across the pond, so this list is detailed to the UK.

Reasons to leave the US:

  • Universal Healthcare
  • Free University
  • Better schools–less stressful and no standardized testing mentality
  • More tolerant population
  • No weekly gun massacres
  • Chance for the kiddos to learn new customs, cultures, and language
  • Actual caring communities as opposed to the unspoken pressure of having to “Keep up with the Jones'”
  • In general, people in the US are mean and spiteful.
  • Ability to travel and SHOW kiddos history rather than just reading it in a book
  • A job that I have serious passion for, thus making it not feel like work
  • Slower pace of life
  • Kids in the US are being raised in the bubble that seems to only produce ungrateful brats with no work ethic.
  • I’m over Southern Summers.  Seriously, it’s like the 9th ring of hell down here and it was only 7th ring hot when I moved here two decades ago.
  • No more judgement on my bralessness because I’d go somewhere cold so no one would even know.  Also, cold weather means no more shaving my legs.
  • I could actually watch the news because they don’t have the 24/7 “let’s beat this dead horse with a giant stick” mentality of American news.

I realize this is a rather vague and broad list of reasons, but it does seem to nail everything that I find wrong with our country.  I want my kids to have a bigger life than I have had–I want them to be able to hop on a train and we go see Stonehenge, or some old castle….they are lousy with castles everywhere in the UK.

I am aware that the grass is not greener, that there are assholes everywhere and there will be no perfect place to live.  But I also know that I am suffocating in this “perfect” life I have created, and rather than live a life of what if’s, I prefer to have amazing stories of “remember when I tried that crazy thing”.   It’s a hard thing to admit that something you have worked so hard for is no longer a good fit.  We all want to have the picket fence and 2 perfect kids and blah blah blah.  For some people, that is enough.  I am not one of those people.  I don’t know if it is because of my ADHD and anxiety that makes me want to take these giants risks just to prove I can, or if I am genuinely that brave.  I can say that it honestly never occurs to me that I would fail.  That is not to say I can’t think of a billion reasons it can go wrong.  Just thinking about it now here is what could go wrong:

  • the plane could crash
  • the dog could die on the plane
  • the dog could die in quarantine
  • the place could burn down before we get there
  • I might forget which side of the road to drive on and have a wreck
  • my kids might hate it
  • I might hate it
  • I might suck at the job
  • the kids might not make friends
  • the friends they do make might be little assholes I have to pretend to like
  • I might not make friends
  • I could lose my retirement

Look at that—12 things in as long as it took to type….and that’s when I’m not REALLY focusing on everything that my anxiety tells me could go wrong.  Even with such a long list made up so quickly of the reasons NOT to, every fiber of my being says it’s where I belong and it will be the adventure of a lifetime.  It took me a long time to hear that voice, my voice, inside all that anxiety.  Now that voice is my strongest voice and while I do let my crazy get out of hand from time to time, the one thing I hear loudest is: Why the hell NOT?

This is something I am actively pursuing, leaving the country at some point.  I don’t know when,  and I don’t know how, but I do know it will happen and it will all be ok.  I will write about the whole adventure with its challenges and victories.  And I will be ok, as will you when you find your passion and answer that one important question:  Why the hell not?

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