So much about this transition is about the things we want to do. When Meg and I got together, we committed to ourselves and to the kids that we wouldn’t move. Keeping the kids in the same schools with their friends was important to us, and we have held to that promise for the last 12 years. We intend to see it through.
But that decision came with a price. The Chicagoland area, while a wonderful city and a terrific place to raise kids, doesn’t offer much in the way of adventure. Things like forests and streams are contained in neatly groomed enclosures, surrounded by pavement in every direction. And when you get beyond the pavement into the rural areas to the west, you have farmland. Miles and miles and miles and MILES of farmland. That part of the area is kind of impressive if you’ve never seen it; but when you’ve seen it for 12 years, well…
So in addition to having the time to do the things we want to do, we want to be in an area where we can actually do them. Meg and I want to go kayaking. I want to get a more capable bike and ride more frequently. We want to hike in the mountains. And I want to learn to hang glide.
Moreover, there are things that have always lured us in their direction, and we are hoping that this transition will be the catalyst for bringing them to fruition. I have tinkered at woodworking for most of my life, and in addition to furniture and cabinets and what-not (none of which I can do now, mind you) I would like to learn how to build guitars. I love animals, and I am exploring the possibility of getting certified as an animal rehabilitation specialist. From a professional perspective, I have long considered the possibility of getting my Masters in Economics and teaching school. I don’t see myself writing code for the rest of my life.
And when the time comes I would like a place of our own to retire to. A place where our nearest neighbor is a half-hour’s drive away. A place with some forest and a stream or small river; with some hills and pasture, maybe some land suitable for micro-farming; a workshop, a greenhouse for Meg, and a house we designed ourselves — off the grid, and away from the things that drive me up the wall.
We consider this transition to be the starting point for the second half of our lives. What dreams and wishes will come true as we jump off this steady pier into the churning ocean, only time will tell.