I still have many friends in Southern California from my decades in the state. But as for family, my brother, nephews, and niece are the only family still living there. I realize each time I talk to my brother how isolated he is out there. His father and both his siblings and their families are in North Dakota now. It is just him and his kids out there.
I wish he would move out here so that he would have more family support, but I know he never will. He is the quintessential Southern California resident – he is living the Cali dream. He loves his beach time, his tan, and his fitness regimen. He has his smart, savvy, and smooth persona down to an art form. He is a Rico Suave kind of guy.
My brother lives an intense life. He has a high pressure job and when he is not working he is going here or there for his kids. As a single parent he is run ragged. I worry that he has no down time and that his stress is about ten times greater than most folks’ stress.
Every time I talk with him on the phone I tell him the same things – slow down, don’t work so hard, relax more. He always says thank you for my concern and advice, but he never heeds it. It leaves me anxious. I feel like the pace may be to much to keep up with at 52-years-old.
I used to try and visit him more frequently, but it has been awhile since I have been able to get out there. My brother has only made it to North Dakota twice over the years. He is like a fish out of water here. It has always been easier for me to go there – a part of me still lingers there in the sun, the smog, and the eclectic-ness.
My brother’s isolation reminds me of how grateful I am that I am not alone like that. I am particularly grateful that all my older children are here living in the area. We are close and we have each others’ backs. It is very reassuring to live in that reality. I have resilience based on my family net that surrounds me.
For my brother I hope for a like resilience. A resilience that is more than just offering my concern and advice. But the life he chooses is the life he lives. I do not get to choose for him – even if I am two years older. But I am thinking that it is time for a trip out to Cali soon. Perhaps resilience in the alternative is knowing that your sister can hop on a plane and be there in a handful of hours.
Day one thousand three hundred and twenty of the new forty – obla di obla da