People have a tendency to look for reasons to justify and validate decisions they have already made. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact it's probably healthier (and safer) than continually looking in the rearview mirror wondering if you did the right thing while your life is moving forward.
I've noticed, for instance, that when new expats relocate in Cuenca they rave about the temperate climate, fresh food, low prices, and all the other virtues of our wonderful city. Fair enough. But the flip side is they tend to go overboard denigrating wherever they came from as further proof that they've made a wise choice.
It's been especially interesting to observe this behavior with folks who were so excited about Cuenca upon arrival, but when they later become disenchanted for whatever reason and move on, find everything wrong with the city they formerly loved and speak glowingly about their next residence, even if they're going back to the same place that formerly sucked.
But focusing on new arrivals, I find the tendency to overly criticize their former country, usually the United States, to be unfair and annoying. Plainly speaking, most of us made a conscious decision to leave for economic reasons. Whether we came to this point because of poor financial decisions or simply being dealt a bad hand in life is irrelevant. Bottom line--things didn't work out as planned and we moved on.
Why as rational grownups can't we just say this? I find it practical, forward thinking, even noble to go so far as relocate to a foreign country to create a better life. That's exactly what our forefathers did, isn't it? Instead I hear too many of my comrades practicing revisionist history and yammering about the US economy, the dilution of personal freedom, the government doing this and that as if these were the reasons for their departure.
Baloney. I'm in the States right now visiting family and am happy to report that the country is doing quite well without us expats. Citizens overall seem to be happy; businesses, stores and restaurants have customers; and while everything is far from perfect, the carnage from the financial tsunami of five years ago has somewhat abated.
Granted, the damage to those of us in middle age is perhaps irreversible. Unemployment remains too high. The uncertainties in Europe may have ugly global consequences.
But I love my country and would have probably never left if I didn't feel like I had to. The sheer abundance here is extraordinary. The efficiency is extraordinary when you experience the difference living abroad. And America's "can do" spirit, while weakened since its founding, is still alive and well.
I salute all of us who have thrown caution to the wind and pushed past the fear of the unknown to abandon the comfort and certainty of the status quo. And I encourage everyone who has done so to take justifiable pride in their actions without feeling the need to rationalize their courageous decision.