Choosing a city to live in
By Jessica Rachel O on April 06, 2014
I talk a lot about finding a place to call home, and mentioned this past summer that we were seriously considering finding one here. It's a topic that's always on our minds, although it shouldn't be. We should live in the now and not worry about tomorrow. Whatever. We were charmed by Cape Cod, and we still are in a lot of ways. What I said about the gorgeous scenery, wonderful seasons (although Spring is somewhat absent) and the magic of living in a place with history, wooded hills, and beautiful ocean views stands true. Now that we've lived here for almost a year though, we've found lifestyle sacrifices that we didn't expect, which are deal breakers for us.
Choosing a city to live in is no different than shopping for a home to buy. It's about listing your needs and your wants, and knowing you'll have to compromise somewhere. Shopping for a city is a bit unique I guess, because most people we know stayed in the town they grew up in, the town their spouse is from, or the town the went to college in. Even among our military friends, many end up moving back home when they're finished traveling. Throughout the years we've realized that we can park our butts pretty much anywhere and make it work, and that there are a lot of amazing places to consider. As much as we enjoy spending time with family and giving that experience to our kids, we don't feel drawn to move "home" after this.
We've had a great variety over the past fourteen years: island living in Hawaii, resort life in Boca Raton, FL, diversity and culture in Chicago, small beach town living in Cape May, big house, big shopping mall, suburban comfort in North Texas, and nautically rich New England. Like Goldilocks and the three bears, none were a perfect fit for us. Massachusetts came close, but while it met most of our wants, those pesky needs got in the way. We need good schools for our kids, we need a bigger, but still affordable house for a family of our size, and we prefer a little less of a small town atmospehere. This feels a bit like a fishbowl, which is probably the Cape and not Massachusetts in general. I didn't think I'd have a problem with that, because it's special and hard to find these days, but we like a few more degrees of separation between the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker. After spending the weekend in Boston, which is a beautiful city, we also realized we're not city dwellers either. We want to be close, but not too close. This sounds obnoxiously picky, I know. When you spend [what will be] twenty years moving around the country, staying somewhere permanently is a big decision.
Not being able to settle down yet isn't frustrating anymore, but now knowing where to settle down is. We've even talked about living in a different country after he retires. His pension goes a long way in some pretty incredible places. But, given our children's age at that point and the amount of moving around they've done, it may be too much to ask of them. Maybe it will be as simple as, this is where you got a new job, but I'd like to think we'll have more say in it than that.
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