The question of the day: Where to retire? Now, “retirement” could happen in a year and a half, so if you were questioning the legitimacy of the question, question no longer. Then again, we could be in the Marine Corps for another 17 1/2 years as well, so it could be a moot point. But regardless, I am considering.
Family. We want to be near family. This weekend, as our little girl enjoyed her first birthday with both sets of grandparents, she glowed and they glowed and life was beautiful. We desperately missed her aunt and uncles and great-grandparents, and wished for a world in which we could all bounce around from one side of the country to the other with no time concerns or money issues. We think halfway might be nice, but when halfway still involves a 10-hour driving trip, frequent visits linger sadly in the future and the past.
Culture. I miss culture. The town where we now live reminds me of my childhood hometown, minus the culture. The size and shopping is comparable, but I grew up near two universities and a community college of over 20,000 students. There were plays, musicals, operas, art shows, parades, festivals, and visiting tours galore. Heck, the music school itself sported a minimum of one concert per night, what with all the junior and senior recitals, master’s & doctorate projects, faculty performaces, and band shows.
Rural-ness. Not sure if there is a noun for this one, so I made it up. I want the culture, but I’ll live on the outskirts. Enough land that we can own a cow for milking and (at least every now and then) a cow for butchering. Chickens, dogs, a cat or two, maybe some ducks on the pond. Or a creek. Some way to fish anyway, since I’m planning on seafood at least one day a week. And a big garden, with a farmhouse and a barn and a fruit and nut orchard, and maybe I’ll even grow some trees with truffle spores so we can eat and sell the truffles. That might involve a truffle-hunting pig, but I’d prefer a dog….
Community. I need to be near people who think like us, raise their kids like us, love Jesus like us. I know of a few such people, and convincing them to move to our state of choice may be high on the priority list (along with the family!). Organizing a community centered around God and family, or stepping into a community already established, ranks high for us. We need the support and encouragement, and our kids will need the sweet, wholesome friendships that kind of community would bring along with it. Siblings can play with each other, of course, but we all need friends. Iron sharpens iron, after all.
So where will this paradise-on-earth be found? And will you be joining us?