“If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse gift will find a fitting place.”
- Margaret Mead
I live with my family in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We chose its location because when my husband completed his Ph.D., we had to move for his post-doctoral work. Our first two years of marriage were spent in Queens, New York. Cambridge reminded us of the neighborhood in many ways.
My first nine years of life were spent in Queens, NY. Then I moved to Long Island, living in a post World War II suburb (cape, split level, ranch, repeat). Although I spent the next fifteen years + a number of adult years in the suburbs, it never felt like home.
Though I do miss the beach. A lot.
For a couple of years, we’ve been looking for a bigger place. Four people in a two-bedroom condo is cramped, especially with a daughter and son. But to get the kind of place we’re looking for is out of our price range. We’re either sacrificing space inside our outside or in both spaces.
There’s a house we really like but the expansion potential it has won’t be realized until I land a full-time job. We’ll still feel like we’re a struggling to find our way instead of having arrived.
We’re considering moving to the suburbs – Salem specifically. For little more than our house is worth now, we could have a whole house with more than two bedrooms, a driveway, and property. We could even be closer to the beach. Like,blocks away or even with a view.
What’s stopping us?
If we move, we’d be another family that left before our children were older, draining the middle school and high school. I’m sure most of those families left because of space issues too.
Also, it takes time to have a place fit like a glove. New friends, new restaurants, new stores, new schools, new routes, new routines. At first, we’d lose more than we’d gain.
Then there’s commuting. My husband works five minutes away by bike. There’s so much we’ll lose with that loss of proximity.
I can walk to see the Red Sox play. I can walk to see the Celtics play. Okay, I can’t afford to go very often. But still.
When I lived an hour from Manhattan, I rarely took advantage of it. When I lived 20 minutes by subway, I did. Now that I’m a 20-minute walk to Boston I go all the time. The river is no obstacle.
The Boston skyline is beautiful.
We love watching Fireworks on the Fourth of July.
But I really think my resistance is more than the new, alien feeling of a place. It’s more about who I am.
I’m a city girl. I love saying I love in a city. I believe in my city. Do you know that we live a few blocks from the compost place? We almost make more compost in a week than we do garbage. We now have one bin recycling. And we can recycle nearly everything now. Our family does fine with a small car And the city is as diverse and inclusionary as it gets. It’s home.
Our family, friends, school, after-school activities, routine – it’s all here.
But we’ve visited Salem a couple of times in the last couple of weeks, and I can see fitting in there too. Maybe?
How do you decide where to live,
what that means about who you are,
how you want your family to fit?
On another note, thank you for your kind comments and support of 100 Stories for Queensland.