When Kristi and I were planning our move from Maryland to Colorado, the biggest challenge we anticipated was no longer being a short drive away from my sister, Jen, and Kristi's brother, Richard. There are a few reasons, however, that we decided the benefits of moving outweighed the costs.
Your Community is Critical (Even if you don't think it is)
First, it is not an option for us to be without these relationships. (There are a few other dear friends in our lives, but I'll get to that in a minute.) Even when we were in Maryland, we had to be intentional to spend quality time with Jen, Richard, and others. Why be intentional? We want to surround ourselves with people that encourage us to strive, in all areas of our lives, for more. I firmly believe that we will be the average of our five closest friends, so it's important to choose wisely.
These relationships are critical to Kristi and I not because they're fun (they are) but because we can be vulnerable and open within these relationships. It takes work, and trust, to build that vulnerability into a relationship, and once it's there, we're not about to let it go.
Your Community Does NOT Need to be Local
The very thing that makes these relationships significant is the thing that allows them to be relatively unaffected by distance and time zones. The vast majority of the time I spoke with Jen or her new husband Andrew was on the phone. It doesn't matter if I'm ten minutes away or 22 hours away - they are all just a phone call away.
The intentionality is still there, but now, instead of someone driving to someone else's house for dinner, we call them on Skype. If anything, we're even more intentional in our friendship with this distance. We've found a few good friends, and to us, it doesn't really matter where in the world they are. If they moved or we do, the relationship continues unchanged.
Who is Your Community?
If you could fast-forward to the end of your life, and knew that you'd be the average of your five closest friends, who would you choose to be those friends? Would you be happy with that average, or disappointed?
Of my closest friends, if I were to end up as the average of them, I'd be thrilled. I've been blessed with a small group of smart, hard-working, vulnerable men who invest in me regularly. To me, this group of friends is worth more than any job or accomplishment.