Is It a Bad Thing to Leave Everything Behind?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I’m 20 & I have kinda been thinking about getting up and leaving everything behind. I don’t really have much obligations. I just feel like for whatever reason I didn’t have a good running start at life & I should just leave this life, friends, family, job and relocate. Maybe not as extreme as a new country but I guess anywhere. I’ll have a new start and build from there. I don’t my family to be worried & have them think I was abducted or hurt. I do love my family & don’t want to hurt them or anything. But I still think I should do this. Is it wrong of me or abnormal to want to or do this ?

A. I can’t say with certainty if it’s wrong or abnormal for you to want to leave because you didn’t include many details about your motivation. You did not have a “good running start at life,” but that’s true for many people and they don’t have a desire to leave. Something is driving you to want to leave.

Perhaps you’re suffering from the “grass is greener” syndrome. By that I mean you’re unhappy and feel as though you’re missing out on something better, “over there but not here.”

If you decide to leave, you should first thoroughly attempt to understand your motivation.

Another equally important consideration involves planning. Where would you go? Where would you live? Could you support yourself? Would you have enough money to survive? In the abstract, the idea of leaving without planning might sound adventurous or even romantic but in reality, it could be a monumental life mistake.

You are also concerned about your family and friends being worried about you should you leave. It wasn’t clear if you are planning to tell them. If you ultimately decide to leave, you should let them know. If you don’t want to discuss it beforehand, leave them a letter. Otherwise, you might be reported missing to the police. If the police located you, they could not force you to return home (because you are over 18) but at least your family would know that you’re safe and that you left voluntarily.

I do not believe that picking up and leaving with no plan and no forethought is a wise idea. Having no plan for where you’d be going or how you would make a living increases the probability that you would have an unsuccessful outcome. Mistakes can be costly, emotionally, physically and financially. If you’re seriously considering this option, then research your idea and develop a workable plan. A therapist could assist you in exploring your motivations and your options. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Aug 2014

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2014). Is It a Bad Thing to Leave Everything Behind?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/08/19/is-it-a-bad-thing-to-leave-everything-behind/