Sunday, December 31, 2006

Irresolute

In some ways, I feel that I've made all of the resolutions I needed to in the past couple weeks. First, I set out some small changes I would make in order to move towards living more harmoniously with the environment (and my principles). Then I crafted a few lists of goals for next year, next school-year, and 3 and 10 years from now.

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
But:
  • 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
It's hard to underemphasize the draw of the first point, being close to my in-laws. We've lived pretty much without nearby family support since before Scooter was born. It would be nice to have a built-in network of support. And as Scooter's grandparents get older, we would like to be nearby to help them.

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.

5 comments:

metro mama said...

Big decision! Yes, having family fairly close is priceless. I don't know what we'd have done without them.

jen said...

huge decisions. but you've gotten your arms around all of it, and i admire that quite a bit. can't wait to see what happens.

Lisa b said...

ah its always the way.
Having family close is invaluable but crazy real estate is well crazy.

bubandpie said...

I have to say, that tenure-track job at a teaching-intensive university sounds really, really hard to pass up. In addition to the benefits of the job itself, you have the not-to-be-underestimated benefit of potentially sidestepping the horrors of the job search. (Not that they're bad, um, actually it's a lot of fun looking for academic work! Ignore the lady behind the curtain!)

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