You say Missouri
out West. Urban prairie bound,
I say Missourah.

Moving Away, Moving Towards

Based on my numerous conversations with people prior to moving halfway across the country, it appears that the degree to which people comfortably assimilate notions of change is deeply influenced by the magnitude of movement embedded in that change.  It is as though there is a “movement spectrum of magnitude” and the extent to which you can easily grasp and accept the need, or even simply the desire, to move (or change) depends on where and how broad a band of this spectrum your own personal comfort range covers.

At one end of this spectrum there is spontaneous, intuitive movement, action based on instinct and motivated by emotion, catalyzed by the collision of outer circumstance and one’s inner landscape. Perception plus emotion equals movement. And the potential for dramatic movement is inherent in this dynamic. At the opposite end of the spectrum is strategic movement, action based on analysis and motivated by perceived benefit, with all the competing stakeholders being taken into consideration.  Reason plus justification equals movement.  The potential here is for increasingly incremental movement as competing interests, complicated histories, and oftentimes simple inertia create narrow constraints in which to act.

Where any of us falls on this spectrum is an intersection of numerous variables: personality, age, life experience, and so on.  But I think we can all agree on a recognizable pattern of starting at the end of intuition and impulse in our youth and gradually drifting down the spectrum to the responsible realm of planned, thought out, and carefully considered movement and change.

While I love the neat and clear dichotomy of this logical construct, I find myself asking the question, how can strategic thinking paradoxically  result in dramatic and spontaneous change?  How can perceptual observations colored by emotional reactions insinuate themselves into the methodical planning process and  drive a revision of strategy, perhaps even altering it dramatically through immediate and significant change? Perhaps instead of being at two opposing ends of a spectrum, these seeming opposites actually sit side by side and continuously influence one another through this contiguous proximity?

After answering repeated variations of the same questions people had regarding my decision to move (nearly all of them beginning with the word “why”), I started joking that I should have put together a PowerPoint presentation which would present a logical construct and progression of ideas that eventually led to the decision to move.  Perhaps something with some flowchart diagrams and a cost/benefit analysis.   And while there is a logical narrative of sorts behind my choice to move, the actual experience of moving has proven to be more complex and full of serendipitous events than such summarized version could explain.  And not only would the above questions remain unanswered, but other questions around how do we  justify why we move, how we move, when we choose to trigger a move, and where we move to would also be left unexamined.  There is no good twenty word or less explanation…at least not for me.



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