I am a happy Los Angeles woman. I’ve lived on the beach for most of my adult life. My grown child lives in LA, about to graduate from college. I love the climate, I love my city, I love the personality of the beach town I live in, I love our culture, I love our ethnic polyglot. I don’t mind the traffic nor even the risk of earthquakes. I’ll gladly take the perhaps of an earthquake over the certainty of winter.
Here comes the curve ball: I read your article because I am seriously considering moving to a godforsaken Midwestern town called Springfield, Missouri. How do people live without seeing the ocean out their window? I hate the prairie states. I am a flaming liberal Californian. I cannot imagine seeing cows or whatever they have in Missouri – I drove through once as a teenager. All my family lives within four hours drive of Springfield, but the real driving attraction is a man there. I’d not be moving for love; I’d be moving because love might be possible.
I’m in my early 50s, and grand gestures like moving to close the gap in a long-distance relationship are foolhardy in my experience and observation. I don’t even technically have a relationship with this man since, although I’ve known him professionally for years and we certainly have mutually acknowledged chemistry, his divorce is not even final yet. We have never stepped over the line. I have played the role of “Transitional Object” too many times to count in my own life, and I am loathe to play it again. But I’ve been single-again for decades now, and this man is one of a handful I have ever met who has the qualities I prefer in a life partner.
There’s a place a woman may come to in her life – you may not be there yet – when you realize that it is important to take chances. To step out. To act boldly. I own a virtual company, so working in the new location isn’t an issue. I do not expect to sleep with him nor even date him until his life is a bit more settled. I just insist on being first in line when he comes back on the market. Men like him don’t come around very often.
He is not affluent by California standards. He’s handsome enough but not jaw-dropping, like so many men here in LA. He’s got some quirks and some childhood trauma that could prove challenging. While I respect your article and the position from which you are writing, I have to suggest that you consider that sometimes, for someone older, carpe diem is the best possible choice. — Ready to Carpe Diem
Tomorrow my husband and kids and I are getting on a plane and heading from New York City to … Springfield, Missouri, where my parents retired to a few years ago and where I went to college in the 90s. It’s not a “godforsaken town,” although it is in the Midwest and you can expect it to be very different from LA. It leans pretty conservative, but it’s a college town and also a hub for the medical industry in the Midwest and you can find lots of left-leaning professors and students and educated medical personnel, as well as a fairly large immigrant population who come to the city for the educational and professional opportunities. There’s also a small, but bustling, downtown area, a thriving arts scene, very low cost of living, some surprisingly good restaurants, and an abundance of outdoorsy activities. And, yes, you will also find tons of the more stereotypical characters and sites you’re probably already expecting: gun-nuts, evangelicals, hillbillies, and mega churches on every other corner.
But you didn’t ask about Springfield. Actually, you didn’t ask a question at all. But I’m going to give you an answer anyway: If you are up for the adventure and you understand what you’re risking and you give yourself an exit strategy — an easy way to return home if things simply don’t work out in Missouri — go for it. Carpe Diem, seize the day. Be the first in line when your dream guy is ready to look for love again. The worst that will happen is you get your heart broken, you get your ego bruised, and you live in a place for a while that has winter and Trump fans. On the other hand, you may find the kind of relationship that has eluded you for decades while at the same time experiencing the joys of cashew chicken and Table Rock Lake in the summer time. Good luck.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.