(Long, and at least slightly rambling post ahead, completely lacking in pictures. Thoughts seriously appreciated, knitting content to resume next post)
New Year’s always makes me feel thoughtful. Sometimes it’s pretty basic, such as “we need to whip this house into shape” or “we need to cut down on the sugar.” Other times I tend to think a little deeper about things. This year, I’m thinking really deeply about things. Especially today, and it doesn’t help that I’ve been listening to Sun Kil Moon all day, which has also made me a wee bit pensive.
Most of you will remember that 2009 was not a good year. I would say it was pretty darn to close to catastrophic, but not quite, since the tornado did leave our house standing. But when you lose your father-in-law, put your dog to sleep, have two of your children in the hospital a total of four times, and have your home take a good smacking from a tornado it makes your pretty reflective about things.
Now I don’t want this to be a downer of a post. I’m feeling pretty optimistic about 2010, so stick with me here. But I am feeling like it’s time to hash things about a bit. You see, it’s about that time when I’ve realized I have A Life. What I mean by that is when you are younger, say… still in your twenties, pre-kids, pre-house, you’re still building that life. Which means nothing is truly decided. Moving is easy, career changes are easy. You still think that you could really, truly pick up and move to India is you really wanted to. But all of a sudden you wake up one day and you realize that you’ve made your life, and a good one at that. But you also realize that you could have made some other decisions, and you wonder if the life you’ve built is the right one. That’s where I’m at.
The reality is we’ve built a really nice life for us here in Minneapolis. We’ve got a nice house in a nice city. We’ve got close friends who will help with anything at the drop of a hat. We’ve got a community of people who we fit with, a school for the boys that won’t test them to death. I can bike down the street for fresh organic ice cream, espresso and pastry, sushi or wood fired pizza. I’ve got coops, bakeries, yarn and fabric stores galore, bike trails, lakes, music…. and we live in this nice little bubble where I’m not a weirdo for using cloth diapers, not having a TV or hating Starbucks. We’ve got health insurance and two good part time jobs that add up to one full time job, meaning we both get to be at home with the kids. In fact, it’s pretty sweet, and when I read it all I can think is “what’s the problem???”
My other imaginary life of course. That’s the problem. The life where we live out in the country, milk our own cow, raise our own sheep, homeschool our kids and just enjoy the quiet, the solitude, the romping around in the woods….Of course in my head this is perfect. The reality is we chose not to move to the country last year, even though we had the chance to take over the farm when the Skeptic’s mother moved into town. The amount of work the house would need, the fact that there is no work for an audio engineer and music teacher in central Wisconsin, the not knowing if we’d make the type of close friends or find the community we have here…so many variables. And a change like that isn’t easy when you’ve got your life established, things are settled and already good. But then there is the question, could it be better? Have we missed something?
Or are we realistic? The Skeptic and I both fully admit we love to take it easy. Feeding the cats and cleaning the litter boxes is a chore and I think I can milk a cow twice a day? Or even take care of some chickens? With three little boys? It’s hard to say, really. I keep telling myself that the city is the right choice for us now, maybe we’ll retire to the country. But then I read blogs like this one and think we could build our own house, we should do it, pick up the kids, find some land, off we go!!! We’d never really know unless we tried….
I think what makes it tough is I really want both, and that’s just not going to happen. Which just get’s my head spinning and thinking, which one is better? But I think the reality is your life is what you make of it, no matter where you end up. Is one better? Or are they both equally good, just very different?
So what’s your imaginary other life? Do you have one? Do you ever wish you could make a big change? Or are you content with how things have played out? Or maybe you’re still in that early phase, nothing really to hold you back?
Now, I’ve got to go whip this house into shape. And throw out the sugar.