Alternate Title: Not All for Naught
Before we moved we talked a lot about when, why and how we would move. The "when" discussion lasted for about four years before finally pulling the trigger, including a brief plan the year before to move that was called off. Few people know this, but we were one interview away from moving to Missouri instead of Maryland when we left Virginia. We are both very glad that we landed in Maryland for the time we were there, but are also very happy to be where we are now.
One of the things we did is talk about the "why" of moving a lot, and talked through goals of our move. No point in moving halfway across the country if we would be just as unhappy about parts of our life as we were if we stayed put, right? We never wrote down our goals, but in and out of the packing process and on countless road trips we would each come with an agenda to the conversation and talk through our reasons and concerns about different things.
Like any other homeowner we assumed that our sale would be "tough" (in quotes) in this economy, but we did not realize that it would be as tough (no quotes, and very bolded) as it was. When we started talking about the sale we immediately started talking about what size house we wanted - never starting at the small and working up, but starting the other way. Once we actually sold the house and lost almost as much in the sale as it would cost us to buy said big-townhouse we realized that we had to completely change our thinking.
So we did.
Some of our goals, and how we're doing so far:
Live Smaller - the house we bought was too big for our needs. Abby is an only child and we did not need to buy such a big house. Our apartment is the perfect size for our needs right now, and for a while into the future. If we need more space where we are there are townhouses to rent that would be a slight upgrade in space and buying even longer.
Pay Down Debt - our house-payoff was done in a *very* creative mix of borrowing from family, a bank and a zero-interest credit card. Our smaller living has allowed us to pay down the institutional debt in chunks this year. We will not be done at the end of this year as we had hoped, due in part to how long the credit union dragged on and we had to keep paying for several months longer than we should have. We will keep paying those and then get to the family debt (if you're reading this, family, I promise!) and, with luck and some thought-out planning, be done in the next 18 months.
Do Not Add Debt - funny, right? This should not have to be a goal after all that we went through, but when you are in a new place and unsure of things is when you tend to spend money you do not have. We were lucky to be living in someone else's house and paying practically nothing for the first four months. We did not succeed completely on this one because the transmission in both cars needed work. We are working to pay that one down, too. Aside from that, though, nothing has gone to plastic - even our two trips back to Maryland.
Live Locally - we have been Farmer's Market frequenters for a few years, but that was about all of the local-living we did on purpose. If we went out to eat we started thinking with big companies before the little ones. For a bit more than a year we have flipped that around. Our first choice is the place with the fewest locations, followed by places with their bases in the metro area. I joke that I only shop local... or Target. Our apartment is on the outskirts of Downtown Kirkwood, which is a great place for local businesses, so it's worked out great on that front too.
Live Near Work or Play - this was because traffic sucks and back in Maryland we both had commutes and would never hang out at the mall closest to our house (Beltway Plaza - gross!). Now neither of us have commutes to work, Abby's daycare is only a five minute drive. We are close to a big mall, and only about 20 minutes from the city. We walk a lot of places, like the park or to church. Success on this one is high.
No Volunteering for a Year - well, I missed the mark on this in major ways. I made contact with Nephcure, a non-profit that works with patients with FSGS (my kidney disease), about help with finding local nephrologist suggestions and have ended up helping to get a local chapter going! At church I lasted a little bit longer than I think Anny expected - I did not volunteer for anything until just about six months after we moved which is probably what we both expected in reality. (I tend to get sucked in, willingly, to things I am passionate about at church. After the All Church Retreat last fall I was pretty much ready to sign wherever requested to help plan for the next one.)
There are still days that I with I could just pop over and have Thursday Family Dinner with my family, or days that I think "why don't we call (insert name here) and go grab dinner" before realizing that they are hundreds of miles away. We made our move for dozens of reasons, but how cool would it be to have the ability to have done both - move and bring everyone with?!
All in all I think that we're doing pretty good on meeting our reasons for moving. Still getting a feel for the place, and for the people. We have some friends, but are working to strengthen those right now. We will get there.