I picked the destination

In August, I moved from Montreal after almost 10 years to the small town of Telford, Pennsylvania, a little less than an hour north of Philadelphia.  It’s a beautiful little town.  Our home is nestled in a small development filled with couples with kids that are around the same age as Joseph and Julian.  Lots of prospective baby sitters in the next few years as well.  Within 10 minutes, we have pretty much everything we could be looking for in terms of local shopping, as well as several wonderful local pizza joints.

It’s a wonderful place.

I work at myYearbook.com, a wonderful social discovery site, in New Hope, Pennsylvania.  It’s a good hour commute in the morning, and a bit longer on the way back home.  The people that work there are incredibly smart, highly motivated, and know their field extremely well.  It’s wonderful working with them.  Every day is a learning experience.  It’s a wonderful place to grow and expand professionally.  Between the number of published authors and open source contributors, as well different technologies we are using, it’s hard for anyone not be learning something new every day.

But why did I move?

Joseph.  Born in November of 2008, he was pre-diagnosed with autism in the summer of 2010 at one-and-a-half years old.  For a year, my wife and I fought he Quebec government to get help for him.  Between both private and public care, he was constantly denied treatment.  Coming to Pennsylvania, the public care he receives as a child with autism is light years beyond what Quebec had to offer.  Before getting here, we’d gotten appointments.  Within the first month, he’d received more help for autism then he’d ever gotten in Quebec.  It was at the same time wonderful and sickening.  To know he was getting help, and to realize how many people are still suffering in Quebec.

My greatest hack was moving to Pennsylvania and getting my son help.  It was making that decision to move.  When you’ve lived in a place for 10 years, it’s hard to disrupt your life.  But one afternoon, after another major setback, I told my wife that I was going to move us to the US and get Joseph care.  It wasn’t a discussion.  It was a decision.  A few months later, we left Quebec hoping for the best.

There are times in your life you are given an opportunity, but those are far and few between.  Waiting on them is a mistake.  Instead, you need to make your own opportunities.  You need to make a decision.  There was a lot of work between deciding to move, and finally moving in to our new place.  I won’t say it was easy.  But it was easier than I thought it would be.  But still, it was a lot of work.  But the hardest part was finally admitting that the only person that could make this happen was my wife and me.  Making a decision.

We all make choices in our lives. They can be simple choices.  What to have for dinner?  What to name a variable?  What tree to use for this data set?  These are easy choices.  They are easy because we have control over them.

The decision to move, as big as it was, was easy to make when I understood I had to take control.  I couldn’t wait on a careless government.  Who could I trust, more than my wife and I, for my son’s well-being?  No one.

Since moving, Joseph has received a tremendous amount of real help tailored for his condition.  In November, when he turns 3, he goes in for more intensive treatment.  Everywhere doors are open.  The effort is on his treatment, not on finding treatment.

From the moment I made that decision until today, I never reflected on the difference of that decision as opposed to others I’ve made in my life. What, after all, truly made this decision different?

I made a choice about what I wanted.  After that was made, I simply had to make it happen.  Plot the course.  I didn’t make a choice to make a plan to reach an outcome.  I picked the destination.

People will tell you it’s not where we go but how we get there that matters.  And while I don’t disagree with the latter part, the destination had better matter, or else you’re just wandering aimlessly.  So what does all this mean?

Pick a destination.  Get there well.

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