I’ve always wanted to live in “the country.” Everyone pictures something different when you say that, but to me that means a semi-rural area where I can have a small homestead. A modest house with a big front porch, on multiple acres of fenced land, partially wooded, with a stream, and a nice view. Where I can enjoy the birds, bees, butterflies, and fresh air. And plant a BIG garden, and have chickens and goats. Where I can light a campfire, fire a gun, or build a greenhouse without it bothering anyone. And see the stars at night and NOT see my neighbors (or hear their cars/mowers/kids/dogs) if I so choose.
Hubby was initially unsure about this idea. He has always liked and needed socialization, and until recently, he has enjoyed living in planned suburbia with all its modern conveniences like movie theaters, health clubs, and paved roads. For the better part of our marriage, he has poked fun at my father, calling him the Unabomber (note to NSA: my dad is not really the Unabomber) because he shuns society and prefers to keep to himself (my mother is another story).
Now he’s realizing that my dad might be onto something. So what has changed?
Well, a few things. Due to the nature of his business, Hubby spends nearly every hour of each and every day engaging with people. And it’s exhausting. When he comes home, he just wants to unplug and not be bothered by anyone (including us sometimes!). It’s difficult to do that, though, when your job demands you be accessible virtually 24/7. And since his industry is technology, the constant barrage of information and stimulation can be overwhelming and inescapable.
In addition, he’s discovering what I’ve been telling him for years. The company of too many other people is becoming less and less enjoyable. I’m not sure what’s going on. We live in the richest county in the nation. I don’t know if the two are connected, but we seem to have an inordinate share of arrogant, selfish, hypocritical, superficial people living here. Road-rage, passive-aggressive behavior, gossip, and a general rudeness abounds. Everyone is so wrapped up in themselves, and so far more important than anyone else, that they disregard common courtesies. I find myself wondering if it’s just this area or is everywhere like this? And if so, why?
Whatever the reason, Hubby finds himself joining me in my desire to withdraw a bit.
As for timing, I’d go sooner vs. later, but the rest of the family gets a say in the matter. Hubby isn’t quite ready to jump in (or out?) with both feet yet. And while the idea of having our own little homestead sounds romantic and fun to them, the kids don’t want to leave their familiar routines. So we’ve decided not to move until after both kids have graduated from high school.
You might be wondering, after my glowing description of life in suburbia, WHY WAIT seven more years?!
Although there are certainly negatives to where we live, there are also quite a number of positives (otherwise we would never have come here). Among them, excellent schools and close proximity to sports, arts, and other such opportunities for our children. The weather is moderate, the economy is good (relatively speaking), and the scenery is beautiful in any season.
And frankly, we just don’t want to uproot the kids. Hubby and I were both military brats. We know what it’s like to move around a lot, to have to start over, making new friends year after year, not having a town to call home. Many people would say it builds character, and in some cases, that might be so. But unless you’ve been through it, you have no idea how stressful it can be. And unless you know my children better than I do, you don’t know what it would do to them. We are simply choosing not to put them through that.
Besides, I like that my children have lived in the same house since the day they were born. I like that they have known many of their classmates since they could walk. I like that one day, when someone asks them where they are from or where they grew up, they’ll have an answer. I never did.
Suburbs aside, we do love living in Virginia. But due to our county’s high cost of living, plus the traffic congestion, over-development, and high taxes, we want to move farther south. We’ve started compiling our list of required features (amount of acreage, etc.) and are beginning to narrow down to a certain geographic area. Seven years may sound like a long time, but it’ll be gone before we know it.
So we are giving ourselves some time. Time to make some changes. Time to find the right place. Time to learn and practice new skills. After all, the last thing I want to do is move out to the country without a clue as to what I’m doing. I want a Shire of my very own, and I intend to be ready when I find it!