I ran into one of my former "kids" tonight, and she told my wife, my boys and I that she was putting in place plans to move to New York City before the end of the year.
She added that another of my former "kids" was joining her and there was a chance that another former "kid" would make that journey as well.
My wife told me that she held New York City in less than high regard largely because one of her best friends from college tried to blaze that trail and had a disappointing experience professionally and personally. She eventually returned to Columbus and has carved out a wonderful professional career.
I reminded my better half that being a product of southern California, I could fully understand why a young person would seek to find that balance of professional and personal satisfaction in New York City. I probably sacrificed some of the professional success I could have had because I remained in Los Angeles doing lots of radio freelance work. I had opportunities to leave but something kept me there. At least it did until my late 20s.
Currently three of my former "kids" are in the Big Apple, and my sense is that they are having a fantastic time.
As I talked to my wife tonight I felt a sense of regret that so many of my "kids" were leaving Pittsburgh. I recognize that there are more opportunities in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and places such as that. And I also recognize that the kind of professional growth they must have will take them away from here. But why New York City? Why not Kansas City? Lansing, Michigan? Birmingham, Alabama?
I also was left wondering how many of those "kids" would reach a point that led them to say they had had enough of the big city with its big media market and big dreams. Would they, in other words, someday take that trip to another city with a better quality of life and more stability.
As I glanced off into the distance and admired the early evening blue skies and wispy clouds I reminded myself that an outlook on life changes dramatically from the time you are 22 to when you are 32 to when you are 42. And as my boys engaged in yet another Star Wars battle with some bad guys I hoped that no matter what my "kids" and my kids do, that they always remember that I was there to help them and to offer advice.
Such a dad.