A few of the comments complimented me for my impressive planning. Yet, if there's one thing I know, the best way of guaranteeing that life will throw me a curveball is to write down my hopes. This is not me being a pessimist or downer, just my experience. And it's not always a bad thing. Such as the list-changer I'm pondering right now.
One of my goals for the end of next school-year was "Move with my family to our favorite area of the US." It's a very specific part of a very specific state that has several things going for it:
- several colleges and universities in an area that is a mix of rural and small urban--we don't really like big cities.
- the different educational institutions bring in a lot of art and other culture, including opportunities for all ages to participate
- lots of accessible nature--woods, rivers, lakes, trails, parks
- very liberal politics, including state recognition of our family and all state benefits available to married couples
- lower cost-of-living than places we've recently lived--we could make a downpayment of less than half our savings and have an amazingly low mortgage payment
- we might be able to swing it where one of us would work only part-time
- we would be living fairly close (within 2 hours) of several of my extended family members
And then, what started as a very off-handed remark by my in-laws has created a possible fork in the road. My in-laws have been making generous contributions to a local college and, as a result, are friends with the chair of the board of directors. So should I desire the chance to a pursue a position there, I'd be assured a serious look. And now I find myself considering two new lists:
- we would be living very close to Scooter's grandparents, something we've wanted but always figured wouldn't work out
- the college where I might work is non-traditional and would play to the fact that I have a wide range of interests
- I might be able to get a tenure-track job before even finishing my dissertation
- the focus on my job would be teaching over research, which is what I would prefer
- this area has a lot of art and culture
- we would likely have to stretch ourselves to afford a house we'd want, even with both of us working full-time
- most of the public schools here are very weak--the options would be spending even more on a house in a good district, finding the money for private school, or moving 45-60 minutes away to where there are good schools (but creating a longer commute for me)
- while there's no law specifically against gay marriage in this state, there's no legal support for it either--things could easily change, though they're unlikely to get bad enough that the wills and other legal documents we have already drawn up would be voided (like Virigina's tried to do recently)
- a different climate than we'd have in our favorite place--dryer, fewer trees, less water
So I will begin putting together a dossier for the college. We are already scanning rental and real estate listings. The school district is bookmarked so that we can keep an eye the elementary schools. No decisions, no committments. Just staring at the fork in the road, dithering over which way to go.